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Inflatable Art Transforms The Hague’s Landscape

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BlowUp Art The Hague, the annual festival transforming The Hague’s urban landscape with temporary inflatable artworks, returns for its third edition, running until June 2, 2024. This year’s event, curated by Mary Hessing of WOTH Studio, features installations by renowned Dutch designers Marcel Wanders, Job Smeets of Studio Job, Mieke Meijer, and Sigrid Calon. Their creations float majestically on the Hofvijver lake, surrounded by the historic Binnenhof buildings and the Mauritshuis art museum, creating a visually captivating experience.

The art design of the event emphasizes the importance of green spaces in urban environments, with contributions from students in the Urban Green Development programme at Yuverta College. This collaboration manifests in a floating sculpture garden that invites visitors to explore and reflect on the role of nature in cityscapes.

The first installation visitors encounter is Studio Mieke Meijer’s “Airboretum,” a playful interpretation of an arboretum. This piece features inflatable ‘trees’ with trunks that split into branches and twigs. The installation includes two upright trees and a horizontal one, evoking various cultural metaphors associated with trees, such as growth, community, and nature. This art design cleverly combines natural forms with inflatable materials, creating a unique arboreal landscape.

Marcel Wanders contributes with a series of egg-shaped inflatables. These eggs, some mirrored and others adorned with colorful patterns, lightly touch the ground on their narrow ends and gently sway in the wind. This interactive element allows visitors to push the eggs, causing them to wobble without tipping over, adding a playful dimension to the art design of the event.

Sigrid Calon’s contribution, a candy-pink gazebo, references the octagonal tower in the nearby Binnenhof. This pavilion, with its concentric turret rings and fluted pillars, merges historical architecture with modern artistic expression. Calon’s gazebo not only serves as a visual delight but also as a commentary on the blending of past and present in art design.

Inflatable Art Transforms

Studio Job’s “Like a Pan in Water” floats near the pontoon, resembling a giant cooking pot. Known for transforming everyday objects into monumental sculptures, Job Smeets’ creation appears as a lost relic, intriguing visitors with its enigmatic presence. This installation underscores the studio’s knack for whimsical yet thought-provoking art design.

The floating island’s planting, devised by Yuverta students under the guidance of artist Frank Bruggeman and landscape architect Deborah Treep, complements the sculptures. The plants and artworks are arranged around voids, reminiscent of water features in ornamental gardens, enhancing the overall art design.

BlowUp Art The Hague, curated for BinnenhofBuiten, invites visitors to engage with these innovative inflatable artworks and reflect on the intersection of nature, history, and urban spaces. The event continues to push the boundaries of art design, offering a fresh perspective on the role of public art in transforming city environments.

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