Stadgenoot, Amsterdam, 2002-2008
In a commission for the Amsterdam based housing corporation Stadgenoot, Barbara Broekman designed a series of carpets as well as wall coverings.The starting point for the design of the work was the philosophy of the Stadgenoot housing association, and of its architect, Steven Holl. He is interested in sensory architecture, in the reflection of light upon an object and the way in which this is experienced by the observer. Light is dynamic and context-specific, and there are an infinite number of variables that influence and determine its local effect. Observation in combination with movement ensures that the parameters of each specific space remain undetermined.
The Stadgenoot housing association believes that "to be successful, buildings should have an emotional appeal for the people involved with them. Love for the city is of central importance, while building is not just a question of practical accommodation, but also the creation of an urban social climate."
Steven Holl uses light specifically in three dimensional space. Barbara works with the suggestion of light in a single, flat plane. In contrast to Holl, who proceeds from the effect of light in motion on an object, she works with the changing effect of light within that object. She is not primarily interested in the continually changing effects of light in motion, but believes instead that movement is created by the static light in the object itself.
Dutch painter Kenne Gregoire realized the illusionistic wall paintings in the meeting room of the headquarters of ‘Het Stadgenoot’. Barbara Broekman received the assignment to design a floor carpet that matches this ‘House of Eden’. The design is a collage inspired on Roman mosaic floors in Syria.
In close cooperation with producer Desso, Broekman also designed 152 individual carpets for seven offices in the headquarters of Stadgenoot. These carpets not only gave the spaces an attractive atmosphere, they solved the acoustic problems of the rooms as well.
Stadgenoot’s mission is to create high quality surroundings for both her tenants and her employees. Her activities are focused on people and buildings. In line with this Broekman based her designs on images of organic structures, collected in her extensive database. Microscopic photos of body cells, pictures of cities, and photographes showing the earth from above were combined to a collage of 152 different images. It is remarkable and exciting to see how related the images actually are. City structures become veins. Rivers resemble nerves strikingly. A rhythmic pattern arises, telling a story about human existence.
The carpet was Axminster woven in one piece, cut into elements (of 180 x 180 cm) afterwards and connected with Velcro. The color composition is the same for each carpet and there is no hierarchical structure, so all elements always fit together. Due to that their installation took little time and hardly disturbed the working activities in the offices.