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Walk in the park for Vondel Verses

Amsterdam's beloved Vondelpark will soon have new outdoor furniture as the result of a design competition won by landscape architect Anouk Vogel and architect Johan Selbing.

By Editor Design.nl / 18-02-2009

Landscape architect Anouk Vogel and architect Johan Selbing were announced as the winners of the design competition for new outdoor furniture and kiosk in Vondelpark, Amsterdam.

Their winning entry 'Vondel Verses', inspired by the original design for the beloved park and local flora and fauna, includes a park bench, lamp post and kiosk.

The new outdoor furniture forms the final stage of the extensive renovation program of Vondelpark. Beginning in 1999, the works include water management and drainage - Vondelpark has gradually been sinking since its inauguration in 1877, now lying two metres below its surroundings - special foundations for trees and restoration of the layout to the original romantic English style which was designed by Zocher.

Currently the park furniture is a hotch-potch of elements from different periods. In 2007, a design competition organised by the city of Amsterdam aimed to find a unifying style for the outdoor elements for everything from the benches to bins to signage. From an initial 79 proposals, five designers were chosen to develop three elements: a bench, lamp post and kiosk.

The winner Vondel Verses found inspiration in the original romantic style of the park and in the surroudings. The proposal is characterised by playful silhouette motifs and forms derived from flora and fauna found in the park - ivy covering the kiosk, birds flocking on the park bench, the lamp post resembles a daffodil bud. The designs will be made from cast iron with a black painted finish.

The jury, which consisted of prominent council/government members and architects Jo Coenen and Liesbeth van der Pol, praised the designs as a modern translation of the romantic 19th century design. "Zocher in the 21st century; designed with the computer, but realized with craftsmanship in cast iron."

The existing furniture will begin to be replaced in 2010, with the Vondel Verses extending to include the rest of the park furniture including water fountains, bins and signage.


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