Eruption - Abrasive Paradise

Kunsthal KAdE, Amersfoort, NL

Type Design, research
Design 2022
Location Amersfoort, The Netherlands
Size 250 sqm
Client Kunsthal KAdE
I.c.w. Sander van Noort
Team Peter Veenstra, Brigitta van Weeren, Roberto Coccia, Sara Ingignoli, Raf Rooijmans, Fabiola Mogrovejo, Mees van Rhijn, Michiel Kruijt
Photos Mike Bink, Kunsthal KAdE

Paradise is an idealized landscape, a projection of desires. It fills in what is missing in the everyday landscape. As society changes, so do it’s deficits and desires. In western urban societies, water, food and safety have become self-evident, and a new and much more basic shortage has arisen: contact with nature. For a long time, the longing for nature was the reason for distant journeys – initiated by pioneers, scientists, artists, and followed by growing crowds of travellers.

But this exotic, individualistic and unsustainable paradise is slowly creating space for a local and collective alternative. The grey urban space is cracking up and façade gardens, neighbourhood gardens, roof gardens and food gardens are popping up everywhere. Paradise lies beneath the paving stones. Primeval vegetation is bursting out of the urban ground.

300 million years ago, ferns and tree ferns grew in the Netherlands. They took CO2 out of the atmosphere and sequestered it in the soil. This is how the fossil fuels we use today were created. It is these plants, that are used as resources for fossil fuels, that are contributing to climate change. For more and more city dwellers, the search for paradise no longer begins with a plane journey, but at the moment they step out of their door; in the street. In the city, a kind of clearing frenzy of hardening has arisen to make room for clarity.

Paradise is where you are not. Paradise gardens require framing – separating the everyday environment from the idealized reality. A generic gray urban space forms the frame of the installation.

A floor of pale paving stones, originating from the municipal depot of Amersfoort. In the middle of Kunsthal KAdE’s exhibition space, the floor rises to reveal an eruption of nature. There is a vitality in this nature between the tiles, that we can only imagine in reality. Where many neighbourhood committees struggle to keep the newly acquired street green and the volunteers enthusiastic, here natural beauty flows between the paving stones as if it is self-evident.

Abrasive Paradise
The garden and the exhibition ‘Abrasive Paradise’ were open from February to the beginning of August 2022. It is a special challenge to create a garden without daylight, especially in winter, in an indoor climate, without the plants dying over time. For this reason, the basic approach is to use strong tropical species, supplemented by more wild plants with a ‘calculated risk’ of wilting.

In the right dosage, dead plants contribute to an experience of wild nature. A specialist in interior planting was consulted in order to create the right conditions. The materials used for the installation are or will be reused. The reused paving stones are returned to the municipal depot and the plants are given a second life in the zoo in Amersfoort, making the installation circular.

Read more: Kunsthal KAdE

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