Location: Vloethemveld, Jabbeke
Client: Vlaamse Landmaatschappij (VLM) & Gemeente Jabbeke
Scale: 10 m²
Status: Ongoing (Laureate competition)
Team: Jason Slabbynck
The western zone in Vloethemveld will be given a new impetus in the coming years due to the planting of forests, the construction of fens, new recreational trails for mountain bikers and an experience trail for families. The municipality of Jabbeke will provide a new entrance with a parking zone with a picnic area.
Artists from home and abroad were called upon to design a landmark for this new nature reserve full of recreational opportunities. The call attracted many interested artists. Artist Jason Slabbynck of Studio MXMXM from Bruges convinced the jury the most and was given the opportunity to realize his design.
His gigantic ‘Steenman’ invites visitors to take a look at the new forest. The ‘Steenman’ consists of 7 concrete circles that allow for further playful exploration. It is only upon arrival that the visitor discovers that the concrete tower is hollow. With an entrance whose height especially invites children. The inner wall directs attention upwards to an open oculus where the sky beckons like an unreachable point of light, whose background clouds continuously change. The side wall is perforated by reflective metal tubes. Incoming light plays with points of light on the inner wall, which move with the position of the sun. Children peek outside, at the landscape. Or call their parents through the mouthpiece. Parents answer, spy inside.
Outside, in a circle around the tower, children build their own cairn again and again. Ever different shapes, different heights, different shadows. In this way the ‘Steenman’ plays all his trump cards. A landmark for the approaching visitor. A play tower for children who communicate with the outside world from the inside. An invitation to get started by building a cairn. Finally, a grey map that gives the eventful history of this special place a place in the whole.
Vloethemveld is a nature reserve of approximately 330 hectares with a hidden past. It is a very varied area, with forest, heath, barren grasslands and nutrient-poor water. You will find untouched nature, military heritage and the memory of a prisoner of war camp through the art of its inhabitants.