Witte de Withplein, Amsterdam
Commissioner: District Amsterdam West
District Amsterdam West sought an integrated artwork for meeting and relaxing at the Witte de With Square. They asked for two elements of the neighborhood to be included: characteristics of the “Amsterdam School” architectural style and a decorative Arabic idiom to symbolize the places of origins of the residents. The Amsterdam School style has a nice balance between geometric and organic form. The surrounding facades are clear, but not flat. One can find details carefully and playfully integrated into the architecture.
The city’s plan was to pave the area with the same tiles planned for paving the square so as to let the square break out of restricted boundaries and integrate with the neighbourhood. The Opkomer (“riser”/“ascender”/“sprout”) expands on this plan by creating a sense of depth and longitude in this space. The Opkomer pushes a tile vertically from the grid, rotates it a quarter turn and enlarges it.
The Opkomers not only escape the grid, they are also looking for new connections with each other and visitors to the square.