The Atlantes for the Brakel Police Station are twelve gargantuan statues, measuring nearly 12 ft. (3.6m), scaled 2:1 of a person. They stand effortlessly in the place of each column, giving a noble stature to the facility akin to the ‘Atlantes’ of Renaissance architectural vocabulary or the ‘Caryatids’ of Ancient Greece. Here, at the police station, the figures express a distinctly androgynous being, both supporting the weight of facility above, regulating the circulation and parking of the patrol cars and service vehicles, and also projecting an institutional pride of the officers and town public. A police station through its strong austere program can express brutality in form. The Atlantes offer humane forms, in one sense protective or overpowering, but at the same time humorous, playful and thereby a means to question authority. The Atlantes are beautiful and dignified objects, anthropomorphic elements continuing a lineage of historical architectural motifs, and a testament to successful collaborations between architects, digital artists, and industrial technicians. The Atlantes, as art objects, have been auctioned independent of the architecture to patrons who are interested in the effects that advanced manufacturing techniques have on the commercial art market. The Atlantes were digitally fabricated. First, the form materialized via a 3d scan of a human body, this process was led by 3d artist Mark Florquin, then digitally refined to obfuscate any gender bias. The final digital model was then sectioned into planar geometry and CNC routed in medium density fiberboard (MDF). MDF sheets were glued together and further tooled with drill bits to create a smooth positive mold. The positive mold formed one half of the final column. Each half was then “painted” with layers of polyester to create a negative (final) mold, the pieces that form the final statue. The two halves were fastened together with a seamless glue joint in situ. The hollow Atlantes statues protect 30cm round structural concrete columns and dignify their structural function.
Brakel , Belgium
2009 — 2016
Alexander D’Hooghe, Wim François, Luk Peeters, Natalie Seys, Raf De Preter, Michiel De Potter, Steve Swiggers, Thomas Van Bouwel