West 8 design chosen to mark Rotterdam Brandgrens
The Rotterdam Brandgrens (the fire limits) marks the areas of the city that were destroyed by the bombing on 14 May 1940 and the ensuing fires that broke out. The bombing only lasted fifteen minutes but managed to destroy practically all of Rotterdam’s city centre. Earlier this year CBK Rotterdam invited designers Wieki Somers, Atelier van Lieshout, Studio Anthon Beeke and West 8 to present their ideas on how to mark the fire limits. A jury was asked to choose one design. On Monday 14 May 2007 the winning design by West 8 was announced by vice mayor of Rotterdam, Lucas Bolsius.
West 8’s design
West 8’s design uses light objects to mark the fire limits. An iconic image of a flame is incorporated in circular light objects on the ground and in several information stations, that together form the marking. The image of the flame shows a visual connection with Zadkine’s statue commemorating the bombing of Rotterdam. The light objects come to life at night when the solar-powered LEDs illuminate the icon. This physical marking of the fire limits is coupled with information about the historic meaning of the bombing, accessible through the information stations and a website.
Most comprehensive design
The jury was unanimous in choosing West 8’s design: “West 8’s proposal delivers a complete package that not only focuses attention on the marking of the fire limits, but also fully incorporates the historical context of the bombardment. It may not be the easiest proposal to be constructed. The jury, however, deems it the most comprehensive, most innovative and most layered of the design proposals, and therefore advises the municipality of Rotterdam to further develop West 8’s design.”
City On Fire/City In Bloom
Also on 14 May 2007, City On Fire/City In Bloom was unveiled, one of the projects of Rotterdam 2007 City of Architecture. West 8 designed this flower sculpture, comprising of sixty-four thousand red and purple flowers, especially for the Schouwburgplein. The Schouwburgplein was designed by West 8 in 1996 and is situated in the heart of Rotterdam that was destroyed by the bombing in 1940. City On Fire/City In Bloom depicts both the burning city and the blossoming of Rotterdam in the aftermath of World War II. This temporary installation will literally bloom during the next six weeks (until Sunday, 24 June).
Following enthusiastic reactions by the public, City On Fire/City In Bloom was extended until Sunday, July 8