Who better to ask to design an arched passageway in central Amsterdam than the designers behind the giant Rotterdam Markthal? Arno Coenen and Iris Roskam teamed up with renowned artist and designer Hans van Bentem. Together, they successfully create Amsterdam Oersoep. Faye Ellen and Siobhan Burger of Arttenders committed themselves to the coordination and PR of this magnificent creation.
Besides the beautiful Dam Square, Churches and the Red Light District (de Wallen), the center of Amsterdam now has a new eye-catcher: ‘Amsterdam Oersoep’. This adorning passage between Damrak and shopping street Nieuwendijk honors the cultural, diverse and tolerant attitude of the city. It is also crowing the Primak Flagship Store. Surely, it will become the new best selfie-spot in the Dutch capital!
The artists: “This work is a journey through the history of Amsterdam, its main arteries, the canals. It is a crowd stopper, freezing a moment in time thanks to its elaborate craftsmanship and rich materials.”
All photographs by Frank Hanswijk © 2016
Translated as Amsterdam Primordial Soup, Amsterdam Oersoep (2016) is a tribute to the canals of Amsterdam. Artists of this artwork include Arno Coenen and Iris Roskam (known from the ceiling Horn of Plenty in the Markthal Rotterdam), and Hans van Bentem (known for his famous chandeliers from the campaigns of Viktor & Rolf and Madonna).
Amsterdam Oersoep shows 450 m2 of glass mosaic with representations of everything that defines the unique character of Amsterdam. For example, the floor paved with traditional Italian Terrazzo has a pattern designed to resemble archeological excavations. In addition, the immensely large gilded and engraved mirrors display a tale of water, life and death.
The lighting is provided by a total of seven chandeliers. These unique chandeliers are made of recycled bicycle parts, such as gears, head lamps, and handlebars. They refer to the sediment found in the Amsterdam canals and the Dutch tradition of cycling. Furthermore, fourteen three-dimensional stained glass lamps are installed. These ornaments are inspired by, amongst others, classic portal lamps, still visible at the entrances of Amsterdam canal houses. Finally, a beautifully crafted bronze fountain offers visitors precious Amsterdam tolerance elixir to take home and sip from whenever necessary.
No Dutch No GLory
Arttenders teamed up with Guy Trigallez and Ruben Duipmans and their No Dutch No Glory team to capture the public artwork on film. Amsterdam Oersoep is now for anyone to experience!
In the news
Being involved from the very start, Faye Ellen and Siobhan Burger assisted in the coordination for this three-year project. By setting up a widely communicated PR strategy, Arttenders ensured Amsterdam Oersoep ample attention from international and national art press.
All communication was in close collaboration with the communication department of Bouwinvest and press agency Urban Solutions (responsible for overall press). Arttenders managed the art and architectural focused press outreach.
About the artists
Arno Coenen (1972) and Iris Roskam (1976) currently work and live in Klaaswaal, NL. They are known for their unique view on the fine arts world and their ground breaking approach on implementing art outside of the existing conventions. They are known for their imagery that combines decorative, commercial and popular iconography in combination with art historical references. The Rijksmuseum Amsterdam bought their artwork ‘Oud-West, Thuis Best’ and named it one of the most relevant Dutch artworks about contemporary society. More recent they completed their artwork ‘Horn of Plenty’ to be seen in the inner façade of the Markthal Rotterdam (NL). This artwork went viral and is still subject of conversation in international media when talking about the Netherlands and Rotterdam in particular. This is art 2.0, making it an immersive experience which inspires and surprises on a different level than is normally expected of the fine arts.
Hans van Bentem
Hans van Bentem (1965) was born in The Hague and currently lives in Amsterdam. Van Bentem’s generally giant sculptures, made of ceramics, glass and other materials, have a unique ability to stir our imaginations. Their rich visual vocabulary is as much the result of the artist’s fascination with popular forms of culture like strip cartoons and science fiction as it is of his interest in our own European past and in exotic cultures. The latter is manifested, for example, in his use of materials and techniques: he draws on the centuries-old skills of craftsmen in China, the Czech Republic and Senegal for the execution of his sculptures in porcelain, glass and wood.
This project was nominated for the 2017 MIPIM Award in the category ‘Best Urban Regeneration’ and the NRW Marketing Award 2017