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Language artwork for De Verkenner


On Mei’s initiative the façades of De Verkenner, the residential tower that is under construction in Utrecht, will be fitted with an artwork: 13,000 ceramic tiles featuring lines of poetry, designed by artist Milou van Ham, in cooperation with Moniek Driesse, and poet Tsead Bruinja and produced by Royal Tichelaar Makkum.

Mei likes to promote art projects in buildings. For this art project therefore Mei itself gave the assignment. We asked artist Milou of Ham to add a dramatic layer on the facade of the building by using text. Robert and Milou also worked togehter in the project “The 4 Worlds’ in Spijkenisse. The combination of text and architecture leads to unexpected experiences. ‘Reading’ of a building gives visitors and residents a special sensation. Text transcends the idea of an ornament. Because of the importance of linking the text with familiar things around the building. The residential building is personified.

The facade of De Verkenner  is cladded with concrete elements which include ceramic tiles. The concrete panels are dark brown, the tiles red-orange. We spoke Jan Tichelaar of pottery Royal Tichelaar Makkum to explore the financial and technical aspects of the production of the ceramic tiles. These discussions ended positive and the desired application proved to be feasible

The ceramic tiles of 150 x 400 mm are placed vertically in the concrete cladding – produced by Decomo (Belgium). The texts will be readable.also on the underside of the balconies and eaves

The tiles will be placed in the facade ‘at random’. Each tile can be read independently of the other tiles. Together they form a ranging and exciting whole.   Milou van Ham wrote the text together with poet Tsead Bruinja. The loose compact sentences form a short story with an obstacle, a plot, characters, et cetera. The story is an improvisation, with variations such as in jazz. The text is rhythmic, to read like a song with a verse and chorus. It is all about relations, between families, neighbours and friends. The phrase “Rozen en beton’ refers to Rozeneiland, the former name of Kanaleneiland.