When architect and restorer Frederik Franken called us on the phone for a new project for the Dutch Senate, we where really exited. We are known under the name Felt For Architecture and sins 2003 we create three dimensional works of art in felt, which besides their visual and tactile features have a positive impact on the acoustics of the space as well.
It was the summer of 2011 and, at that time, Franken was responsible for the renovation of few areas of the Parliament building in The Hague, a splendid royal monument and part of the Binnenhof complex, a building which finds his origin in the 14th century.
The entry hall of the Senate had acoustic problems and it was necessary to make an ad hoc intervention, which had to be in line with the esthetic quality of the space,and in line with the style of the Senate room, situated just on the other side of one of the entry walls.
We decided to have a brainstorm session with the architect in order to understand the project strategy and to take into consideration all the aspect of it.
A week later we where at the building site, and indeed, acoustics was really bad in this large entry hall with its marble floor, plaster walls and high wooden ceiling. So it was necessary to make an intervention on the walls with a material which could improve the quality of sound in this space.
At the time when the big meeting room of the Senate was created, it was common practice to decorate the walls of representative buildings and upper class residences with the famous Belgian tapestry named Gobelin.
The subjects of the tapestries where pretty much the same: the representation of romantic landscapes with lashes nature, antique ruins and a deep perspective on a faraway horizon. Together with the architect we decided that our research had to start from taking into consideration the Gobelin tradition.
We explored the history of the tapestry and, trough a chronological tour up to the present days,we studied the landscape in the Dutch art history. Van Gogh with his bright colors and dynamic painting technique created the foundation for our project.
By mutual consent with mister Franken and following the lines of the three-partitioned wooden ceiling in the entry hall we decided to create 3 hypothetical windows with a view on a modern agricultural Dutch landscape on the large wall behind the reception desk.
Yellow was going to be the color for our felt tapestry. It was perfect with the light coming in from two large windows facing north/west and it was matching well with the existing colors of the space.
It took about one year to realize the project, during which we made several drawings and samples on 1 to 1 scale.
After a series of meetings the project was approved by the senate commission.
It took us 6 months to realize the final work which consisted of three large handmade felt tapestries of about 15 square meters each, in bright golden yellow.
This monumental work is now hanging in the entry hall of the Senate building with all its powerful brightens and its soft and warm character. We are very proud of it.