Melis Stokelaan 1852, Den Haag
52.040891485278, 4.2698177195129 View on map
To be found on route
There on Melis Stokelaan between Het Gulden Huis and Vrederustlaan is Het Podium: a series of five apartment buildings with courtyard gardens at the rear. The fact that you experience these flats as a whole is thanks to the facades. Or rather, to the patterns of bricks on those facades. In order to make the 270-long façade of the complex less heavy and dense, architect firm SeArch commissioned artist Henri Jacobs to come up with a work of art for it.
Jacobs first became known for his paintings and drawings in the 1980s. At the time, he mainly painted architectural perspectives and illusionistic spaces. For Het Podium, he regarded the façade as an empty sheet of drawing paper. Just like in the hundreds of Journal Drawings he has made since 2003, he applied abstract patterns to the façades. Patterns that he seems to scratch out each time and then start all over again. The Greek word palimpsest refers to this systematic process of scratching away and starting again. Just like in a diary or a newspaper, it is as if time is constantly overwriting the earlier drawing or text.
Inspired by the geometric patterns of classical gardens, Jacobs developed seven masonry patterns that he executed in four colours of brick. With these patterns, he implicitly refers to the gardens of this complex. At the same time, he brings to mind the gardens of the historical country estates in The Hague.
With this brick mosaic, the architectural firm is allowing this new apartment complex to tie in closely with the post-war architecture in Escamp. Also during the reconstruction many works of art were realised that are 'firmly' connected to the architecture. You could call this work by Jacobs a contemporary variant of that. The same applies to the 'lace' mesh fence by the designers of Demakersvan that you see between the buildings.