‘A folly can be described as an unconventional piece of entertainment architecture that has been placed in the public space. The folly has to be an accessible experience that activates, is playful and has a main focus on sustainability.’– Studio Folly
Studio Folly consists of three final-year-students studying at St. Joost school of Art & Design in ‘s-Hertogenbosch.
Laura van Ijperen, Lotte Meeuse and Janne Veldpaus study New Design & Attitudes and mainly focus on graphic- and spatial design.
For the professional orientation period during their studies, they were asked to participate in the designing of a folly (see description above) for the new EKP neighbourhood in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. The project was provided by SDK vastgoed.
Over the next four months they researched, designed and finalised their folly:
‘EKP is going to be a new city neighbourhood in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. A lively place where residents can live, work, study and relax. Education plays a big role in the development of the EKP-area. For example, the old factory used by PostNL will be transformed into a creative hub with space for the st. Joost art academy, the Business Innovation department from Avans Hogeschool, creative businesses, restaurants, cafes and exhibitions. The building will be referred to as the KuBus (kunst + business) and will become both the spatial and programmatic heart of the new EKP-neighbourhood.Rick Janssen, development manager at SDK Vastgoed
The public space of EKP will be green and car-free. We aim for the area to be a place where residents can roam around and come together. The multiple squares will be activated by small structures called follies. These follies will act as satellites for the KuBus and their main purpose is to make creativity and sustainability accessible and experienceable. At the beginning of 2021, SDK Vastgoed took initiative to join hands with the Art Academy and form an unique opportunity for students from the Art Academy to design the very first folly.’
Shape and functionality
To make the folly as functional as possible, thirteen individual shapes were created. Each of these shapes has its own purpose and functionality and can be seen in both the inner- and outer circle.
The different shapes make for a playful and flowing effect and leave room for own interpretation, whilst also providing enough seating possibilities.
The inner circle has more flat surfaces dedicated to seating. In the outer circle, the shapes differ much more in height giving a playful effect and the perfect opportunity for playing on and/or underneath the different shapes. Because the outer circle is a lot higher, the inner circle feels sheltered and intimate.
The folly has two main entrances, the two gates. These gates are placed in such a way that they suggest a walking route from the adjacent neighbourhoods to the KuBus, thus connecting the two.
When designing the thirteen different shapes, a list of possible activities were taken into consideration:
– Talking, meeting up, gathering
– Relaxing, lying down
– Working out
– Working, studying
All of these different activities have a place in the design.
Circle: the neighbourhood will be very angular, so the circle will provide contrast. Also, a circle symbolises unity, wholeness and absolute freedom. Furthermore, a circle stands for gathering and coming together.
Orange circle: the orange symbolises creativity and a good mood. It radiates warmth and positivity. Orange stands for the KuBus
Pink circle: pink stands for harmony, love and friendship. It is a playful but calming colour. Pink symbolises the EKP-neighbourhood and its residents.
The flow of the shapes: the shapes can be traced back to a heartbeat. This symbolises that the folly is going to be the heart of the EKP area. It also reminds you of the movement of water, which connects the folly to the river Dieze that lies next to EKP. The shapes are multifunctional and can be used to sit, lie down, climb, play and walk through or underneath.
The circles inside of each other: the circles are ‘hugging’ each other. This shows that the KuBus and the neighbourhood are one. This folly will be a place for these two worlds to come together and connect.
From the get go, it was clear that sustainability was one of the main focusses for the final design. For this reason, we chose to go with a material that was both local and sustainable.
We are using recycled plastic to achieve this. The plastic will be provided by Sparkling Plastic, a company in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. They are able to provide us with plastic in both orange and pink.
The material will be melted and then 3D-printed at Spark makers zone, which is located right next to the EKP neighbourhood.
To make the folly as sturdy as possible, we will make use of a 3D-infill. This will be determined later on.
The folly will be 3 meters tall and 8 meters wide. The rings are each …… deep, which makes for comfortable seating.
After defining the definition of the word folly, we started by collecting images of other structures that fit into this definition. We spent a lot of time analysing them, categorising and picking out the elements that stood out most. This was very useful, because it provided us with a lot of inspiration for the rest of the project.
From here on, we started sketching out multiple options. I ended up sketching the picture you see below. We took this picture as the first starting point for the final idea.
With this sketch as the basis, we started experimenting in a scale model (1:100) with colour, light, material, shape, size, and so on.
Following, Laura made a first 3D-render. This was very useful, because we could finally see what we were envisioning as something more realistic. However, we did notice that it wasn’t perfect.
We decided we needed more variety and functionality in the shapes. Our first step was to design a few basic shapes that we could easily refer back to in this proces.
A few of the shapes we made. These were lasercut out of MDF and then glued together.
And this example was made with standard modelling clay and then glazed with Botz glaze.
But we felt like we needed more ideas, many more shapes. So, we started brainstorming on the wall using post-its. We first wrote down all the functions we needed the shapes to cover, like sitting, reading, working out, playing board games, and so on. Once we had all of these words written down, we started visualising the different shapes.
I drew a few of the shapes on bigger pieces of paper and calculated the different heights they would need to be in order to function properly. The shapes with the green dots are the ones we ended up using in our final design.
The next step was to make another render. This one was already much more like how we envisioned. However, there were a few points that needed improvement:
1. The colour was too pale, so we ended up changing to brighter colours.
2. The rings needed to be thicker, they were looking a bit flimsy.
3. There needed to be more difference in height between the inner and outer ring. The outer ring needed to be higher and the inner ring needed to be lower.
With these final steps we were able to come to the final design.
My role during this project was a lot different from what I’m used to. I’m used to taking on the leadership, doing all the planning and communication with external partners and taking the lead during conversations and presentations.
For some part, I still had this role. But I mostly took on a different role: that of the creative. I gave a lot of creative input, came up with loads of ideas and took some critical design decisions. I also was a big part of the calculating, speculating and writing during this proces. And I took care of the planning.
During presentations and communication with external partners, I still took the lead. However, I tried my best to leave space for others to say their part too.