BlowUp Art The Hague

A floating garden in the Hofvijver

BlowUp brings Dutch Design to the Hofvijver (Court Pond), transforming it into a lush paradise of blooming inflatable artworks. This year, BlowUp Art takes center stage in the heart of the city at the Hofvijver, a historic location dating back to the thirteenth century. The temporary festival features fabulous inflatable artworks created by renowned Dutch designers such as Studio Job, Marcel Wanders, Sigrid Calon, and Studio Mieke Meijer, exhibited on a pontoon island. The greenery, resembling an artistic garden with water features, is meticulously landscaped by students of Yuverta's 'Urban Green Development' program under the guidance of ecological landscape architect Deborah Treep and artist Frank Bruggeman.

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070524 BlowUp Mieke Meijer 1
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Studio Mieke Meijer

— Airboretum
A playful reinterpretation of the concept of an 'Arboretum'—a collection of living trees—is embodied in an installation created by Studio Mieke Meijer. The installation features three air-inflated trees, each designed to evoke the essence of a living tree. These tree-like structures progress in successive dimensions, from trunk to branch, side branches, and twigs. This design concept reflects the logical coherence that is pervasive in nature, observable from individual plants to entire galaxies.

‘Airboretum’ aligns with the concept of Space Frames; spatial interventions showcased by Studio Mieke Meijer in places like Shenzhen, China, and King’s Cross in London. The Space Frames are modular elements scalable from a single lamp to a monumental installation capable of filling an entire square. The fusion of architectural imagery and object-oriented refinement stems from the backgrounds of product designer Mieke Meijer (1982) and her partner Roy Letterlé (1978), a civil engineer.




BlowUpArtDenHaag2024 MarcelWanders JWKaldenbach forWOTH
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070524 BlowUp Marcel Wanders 11

Marcel Wanders

Wanders designed a collection of fantasy eggs. The egg shape is a recurring theme in his long career as a product and furniture designer. References to egg-like contours can be found in lamps, chairs, and candlesticks. The brightly decorated and reflecting eggs on the Hofvijver reflect the visitors and are actually portraits of passers-by in the heart of democracy: with opinions that sometimes clash, or get nudged to sway back upright.

In 2014, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam hosted a retrospective exhibition of Marcel Wanders’s oeuvre (1963). The common thread, starting with the iconic ‘Knotted Chair’ in 1996, is a narrative style of products: a stack of lampshades, oversized masks, a snotty vase.

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070524 BlowUp Marcel Wanders 15




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Sigrid Calon

— Gazebo
The inflatable artwork by Sigrid Calon pays homage to the small tower of the Prime Minister, an octagonal building believed to date back to the first half of the fourteenth century. Originally serving as a summer pavilion for the counts of Holland, Calon's artwork evokes the symbolism of its original purpose. Moreover, it embodies the artist's aspiration for politics to embrace a spirit of loving openness, echoing the sentiments of the tower's historical significance.

As a visual artist, Sigrid Calon (1969) embraces the profound impact of intuition in her creative process. She believes in the expressive power of intuition, where the suggestion of images transcends literal narratives. Trained initially as a textile designer, Calon delights in manipulating colorful graphic patterns, which she endlessly varies. Her work reflects a meticulous attention to detail, ensuring that what captivates from afar remains equally compelling upon closer inspection.




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Studio Job

— Like a Pan in Water
According to Job Smeets (1969), subjects like Suske en Wiske, Gerrit Rietveld, Biedermeier, or Elvis Presley are all perfectly acceptable. Job makes no distinction between high or low culture, classicism, or modernism. At Studio Job, work is done at a high level on unique pieces using the latest high-tech tools as well as traditional techniques that have all but disappeared in the Netherlands; bronze casting, stained glass, or enameling. Former everyday objects like a jerrycan or a pan are completely transformed, enlarged, bent, and if necessary, adorned with a golden nose.

With an eclectic body of work that strongly resembles a comic book, Job has evolved from a simple shed in Weert to a bona fide design
superstar with exhibitions in all major cities worldwide. And yes: the PAN, often highly polished in gold or bronze, frequently plays a significant role.




Urban Green

About this nature-inclusive garden 
In times of climate crisis, all innovations are aimed at using green spaces more intelligently to enhance livability in the city; think of rooftop gardens, urban farms, food forests, and climate control. This floating garden, where exciting water features alternate with willow bundles, serves as a temporary showcase to inspire visitors. A workshop by visual artist Frank Bruggeman provided the initial push for the planting, realized by second-year students of the ‘Urban Green Development’ program at Yuverta, under the guidance of ecological landscapers Deborah Treep and Natascha van den Ban assisted by Stadskwekerij Den Haag and Engelsman Hoveniers. 

Thanks to the students Jan Brasse, Lars Cuijper, Yassin Gonçalves, Fee Holleboom, Jayden de Jong, Ole de Lucht en Toine Visser. 

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BlowUpArtDenHaag2024 brainstormYuverta JWKaldenbach
BlowUpArtDenHaag2024 StudentenYuverta JWKaldenbach

BlowUp Art The Hague is an annual open-air exhibition of infl atable artworks, curated by Mary Hessing for BinnenhofBuiten, which organizes activities during the renovation of the Binnenhof under the auspices of The Hague & Partners. Thanks to Gemeente Den Haag.



all portraits by JW Kaldenbach
photo's by Ronald Smits
video's by Boris Evers
Graphics Wilmar Grossouw and Anya Danilova