Dutch artist collective Observatorium has created a concrete installation that takes cues from the surrounding sand dunes on a Rotterdam beach.
The Zandwacht structure – set for inauguration on 10 July – comprises 92 slender, concrete pieces in the same colour as the sand of the city’s Maasvlakte 2 beach.
‘We took inspiration from how sand is blown upwards by the wind, the path it traces through the air and how it settles again,’ says Observatorium member Geert van de Camp. ‘The Zandwacht shows a moment, frozen in time, of how the landscape forms.’
The four artists that make up Observatorium – van de Camp, Andre Dekker, Lieven Poutsma and Ruud Reutelingsperger – stumbled upon the idea for the installation when they were standing on top of a dune and noticed sand beginning to cover their feet.
Reutelingsperger says: ‘The sculpture talks about how nature builds itself. It grows over time. The Zandwacht is, like the natural environment, a dynamic work of art.’
And the structure, taking up an 800 sq ft spot on the beach, could eventually form a dune itself. ‘In this case, maybe in 10, 20 or 30 years, the Zandwacht will be covered by sand,’ he adds.
Observatorium’s installation marks the completion of Maasvlakte 2’s wider 2000-hectare, land reclamation project, which started in 2008. About 750 acres of natural and recreational areas have been created in addition to a new industrial port as part of the development.
‘The Zandwacht is a place to enjoy the vast panorama,’ adds van de Camp. ‘The artwork introduces a human dimension to an almost endless landscape of sand, sea and terminals.’