Het Plein comes with a square of ‘flying’ tiles

Tuesday 4 October 2022

Design illustrates, among other things, the synergy between paving and planting

Since 2017, Het Plein has surprised visitors to the Public Space Trade Fair with a special design. The upcoming edition of the fair, which takes place on October 5 and 6 at the Jaarbeurs in Utrecht, was the honor of architect Jeroen Marseille of Utrecht-based Marseille Buiten. The result is a square of ‘flying’ tiles.

Hugo Rots of Rots Maatwerk, one of the founders of Het Plein, asked Marseille to make a sketch. Moreover, the designer was released in his creativity. ‘We design squares and streets here every day. We like that, it’s our job’, says Marseille. ‘This assignment for Het Plein is different because it is almost a work of art. That’s why I don’t have to take into account prerequisites such as cables and pipes or a sweeper that has to go over them.’

Marseille made a series of sketches that Rots and co-founder of Het Plein Ivo Stevens (SmitsRinsma) were enthusiastic about. Marseille: ‘It contains professional themes that everyone recognizes and that everyone has to deal with. As drainage. How do we handle heat, with the petrification of our profession? We think more and more about circularity and recycling.’

‘We have devised a three-dimensional solution so that the visitor still gets the experience of actually standing in a square’
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“If you make a plan like this, which is laid inside the Jaarbeurs, you always have the ceiling of the Jaarbeurs above you and the carpet tiles around it,” continues the architect. “We have therefore come up with a three-dimensional solution so that the visitor gets more experience of actually standing in a place. An elevation has also been designed, and when you stand on it, you look out over the pitches. The space is 6.5 x 22 meters with a path around it. The stands for the participants in Het Plein are located on that path. Water is also part of Het Plein, you can do exciting things with it in perception.’

‘Floating’ tiles
At the back of the design, it appears that the tiles ‘slip’, says Marseille. ‘This creates space for all kinds of plants. It’s a crazy picture that shows the synergy between the pavement and the plants. You can see from it that the plants are pushing the pavement away and taking over the space. If you go from the front to the back of Het Plein, you switch from the old to the new world, so to speak, with less and less stones and more greenery. It’s great if the fugitive tiles are made from bio-based or recycled material.’

The design of Het Plein illustrates, among other things, the synergy between paving and planting
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The manufacturability of what the (landscape) architect conceives must be tested and adjusted where necessary so that it can ultimately be realized. This is where SmitsRinsma enters the realization process. With the help of calculations, drawings and models, all parts within the design can be made and come into their own. “We do the test between the design and the manufacturing ability.” That SmitsRinsma does not shy away from a challenge is evident from the construction of Het Plein at the Public Space Trade Fair.

‘The theme of this year’s design is that we must be green,’ says Stevens. ‘In Het Plein you can see that the tiles have been blown away by the greenery. On the other side you see water. Is it a nuisance? Is it a buffer? What do we do with it? It provides a nice framework to start a conversation about during the fair.’

The square
Het Plein is an initiative of ten complementary companies, each of which are specialists in their field; from decoration and construction to water drainage. Het Plein promises to be something very special this year, a square where circularity, water management and other important themes are incorporated. You will find the organizers around the square, who are happy to tell the visitors more about Het Plein and their own specialties.

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