Ben Oostrum Ontwerpt, or Boo, has been responsible for a variety of product design like lighting and wall coverings such as brick or tile. But Boo is also involved in public commissions where their work can not only change the landscape, but improve safety as well. We are intrigued by Boo’s City Gate project in Schijndel and asked Ben Oostrum more about it.
Although we are attracted by your product design, like the Tube Tiles and the Hoppy Lamp, we came across the City Gate design you did for Schijndel. What is interesting about this project is that the gate is not a typical or traditional gate that blocks ingress. How did you come about the idea for this?
For the Schijndel project I was asked to make a design to mark the village centre where you are only allowed to drive 30 km/h. It was to be a sort of contemporary city gate. As Schijndel is located in a part of Holland were they celebrate carnival, an ordinary gate would never be big enough because the carnival trucks in the carnival procession get bigger every year.
So a traditional gate was out of the question for me. That's when I came up with the idea to make an image on the road. I designed several different images for different locations in Schijndel and for different surfaces, like bricks or asphalt.
The design that was actually picked was 5482, the postal code for the village. Interesting about my designs for Schijndel is that they are not only there for aesthetic reasons but they also increase road safety. There have been studies that indicate that drivers reduce their speed when exposed to visual stimulus on the road surface.
The world is already full of 'stuff' – as a designer, why do you choose to create more?
Actually because I didn't do a certain design yet. Perhaps I'm just vain and want to leave my mark.