The Splash: a multifunctional meeting place in Rotterdam Zuid

  • Title
    • The Splash (2021)
  • Artist
    • Arttenders x Cindy Bakker
  • Client
    • Rotterdam. Make it Happen.
  • In collaboration with
    • Gemeente Rotterdam &
    • Eurovision Songfestival
  • Location
    • Annie M.G. Schmidtplein, Rotterdam
  • Photography
    • Pim Top & Amber Leijen
  • Special thanks to
    • Annemieke van Wegen-Delhaas, Team Citybranding Gemeente Rotterdam, Rotterdam Partners & Hart van Zuid.

The Shape of Rotterdam is a series of public interventions commissioned by the Municipality of Rotterdam and Rotterdam. Make it Happen.  The series employs citybranding to enhance the role of local identity and need in public development. First stop? The Splash: a collaboration of Arttenders and Cindy Bakker that results in a multifunctional square design for the  Annie M.G. Schmidtplein in Rotterdam Zuid, inspired by the public paddling pools of the 1960s.

The Splash © Pim Top voor Arttenders x Cindy Bakker

The Splash © Pim Top voor Arttenders x Cindy Bakker

The Shape of rotterdam

Everyone deserves an inspiring environment. Commissioned by Rotterdam. Make it Happen., the brand alliance of the City of Rotterdam, we came up with the strategy for The Shape of Rotterdam. The strategy is the result of an extensive research on how welfare, sport, greening, climate adaptation, area development and local needs of residents and entrepreneurs can be combined within a functional and iconic design in the public space. 

Each and every Shape tells the story of its location. Through striking social design, each shape combines functionality, art, spatial development and policy solutions. A great example of an integral approach to urban development.

Splash into Hart van Zuid

The first Shape comes to life on the brand new square between Rotterdam Zuid’s swimming pool and the Kunstenpand, which houses Theater Zuidplein and Bibliotheek Rotterdam, the library. The Shape will function as an interactive meeting point for residents of the neighbourhood.

The launch will take place just before the Eurovision Song Contest as part of the official city dressing for the event. The Splash will, therefore, not only function as a calling card during the event but will also be part of the long term legacy of  Rotterdam. “Thanks to Host City Rotterdam, The Shape has gained momentum. Zuidplein now has an icon which, even after the Eurovision Song Contest, provides an answer to a practical wish from the neighbourhood,” says Siobhan Burger of Arttenders. 

The Splash © Pim Top voor Arttenders x Cindy Bakker
The Splash © Pim Top voor Arttenders x Cindy Bakker
The Splash © Pim Top voor Arttenders x Cindy Bakker
The Splash © Pim Top voor Arttenders x Cindy Bakker

Artistic collab with Cindy Bakker

The Splash is a spatial and sensory experience, inspired by the publicly accessible pools from the sixties with a wink to the current brand new indoor swimming pool located in Rotterdam Zuid. The eye-catching design by Arttenders and the Rotterdam based artist Cindy Bakker was chosen by both a professional and public jury. They praised the modularity and the boldness of the design that suit Rotterdam's image. The multifunctional usability of the design provides a space to gather and can act as a stage for all ages. All objects are movable within the square, hence creating a COVID proof design. With The Splash the Annie M.G. Schmidtplein receives its own signature in Rotterdam and gives the south of Rotterdam more colour.

Cindy Bakker: “The Splash is designed to be 'appropriated' by the neighbourhood. Already during the installation we saw that people chat with each other on the seating elements, that children skateboard over the surfaces and that even the little ones climb and scramble over the diving board. It works, how cool is that!”


Rotterdam is a city where the Make-it-Happen mentality can be seen and felt. With people and organisations that make a clear choice for Rotterdam and add their own take on that Rotterdam mentality and ‘can do’ spirit. Whether they live here, are just visiting, are running their own business, or studying.

The Shape of Rotterdam connects this mindset and mentality to the urban development of the city. With, by and in service of all Rotterdammers.

"The Shape of Rotterdam aims to develop attractive places in the public space where everyone feels welcome and heard, but which also address bigger challenges." says Burger. Surrounding entrepreneurs, residents, Hart van Zuid, Rotterdam City Council and landscape architect Karres en Brands were, therefore, actively involved in the design process. Rotterdam artist Cindy Bakker submitted her portfolio for the Call for Interest. She was selected as the local artist for this project by a professional and public jury. Together with Arttenders, she created ‘The Splash’.

The Splash © Amber Leijen voor Arttenders x Cindy Bakker