In this recent work, designer Gijs Van Vaerenbergh – whom we had already met on Objects. and Archiobjects with the fascinating metal labyrinth – erected a contemporary-style monument, the Waterline Monument, to celebrate the engineering work of New Dutch Waterline.
The New Dutch Waterline was a territorial-scale work conceived to defend Dutch territory since the 17th century. Thanks to a series of infrastructures and canals well hidden in the landscape, it was, in fact, possible (in case of need) to make portions of the territory into natural islands. Unfortunately, during the Second World War, this defensive line did not help much, as the French Maginot line. Those defensive lines were soon bypassed by the new techniques (Blitzkrieg) and the German army’s new military means (Luftwaffe).
Waterline Monument is an abstract reconstruction of the figure of the sluice, created by stacking hundreds of open steel pipes of different lengths. The choice of the element is purely symbolic. The lock is in fact one of the cornerstones of the entire defensive system. That is the one that allowed the basins to be opened or closed to flood entire portions of the territory.
A work that certainly has a significant specific weight, both in physical and symbolic terms and can also be easily climbed. The last point has absolutely no sense, but I couldn’t help but think about it.