THE FLOATING ISLAND
The Floating Island is a unique experience on the canals near the Snaggaardbrug. With this structure, the Korean architectural firm OBBA wished to create additional public (active) space within the Bruges city centre. Together with the Bruges architectural workshop Dertien12, OBBA has designed a floating platform that covers more than 100 square metres. The installation is surrounded by green islands and is open to the public. You can stroll along the bank or take a little break to enjoy the surroundings; elastic nets that simultaneously serve as supports and can be used as hammocks or couches that lean right over the water. With this installation, OBBA crosses the border between the street and the canals. The floating island breaks through the square, vertical bank with a soft, flowing transition to a navigable waterway.
Brugge in Belgium, also known as ‘Venice of the North’, is a city designated as a UNESCO World Heritage still showing the beautiful old section of the city in the Middle Age. The canal going through the city, along with the well-preserved structure, is the unique element of Brugge providing beautiful landscapes.
In TRIENNALE BRUGGE 2018, OBBA intends to make a small change in these beautiful landscapes. By installing “The Floating Island”, a pavilion in long streamlined shape floating on the water, OBBA tries to blur the rigid boundary of the canal and guide people to the waterside. In this way, by planning the canal as a place where visitors can walk, rest, reflect, and enjoy on the water, not just as a borrowed scenery, OBBA attempts to connect their relationships more in three dimensions.
The pavilion consists of pontoons on the water, metal frames, deck plates, metal pillars, upper metal rails connecting the pillars, and rope curtains embracing the rails. The rope curtains and their shadows create ambiguous spaces that seem to be opened and closed at the same time. In addition, the curtains and shadows reacting to the lights and winds blur the boundary, repeatedly open and close visitors’ sights, and make familiar landscapes fresh again.
There are various spaces with different shapes and forms in the middle of the linear trail where people can rest quietly. Visitors can enjoy sunbathing leaning to the tilted ropes or rest on the wide rope hammocks looking at the clouds in the sky. In addition, they can sit on the edge and relieve their stress appreciating the quietly flowing water, read books or reflect on themselves sitting in the circular space alone, or sometimes have a great time playing on the swings.
In this way, “The Floating Island” gives the time of joy and reflection to the citizens and extends the boundary of their acts and perceptions. Further, it blurs the boundary between life (daily life) and art, making a calm change in the familiar landscapes of Brugge. The canal returns to the breasts of the citizens, forms new relationships with them, and flows constantly.