On behalf of the Flanders Architecture Institute, curators Peter Swinnen & Anne Judong invited T.O.P. office to make a new work as the culmination of half a century of practice. The steel staircase sculpture Bakboordstuurboord [Portstarboard] is the result, representing the ultimate future plan.
Deleu has been investigating the changing dimensions of objects, figures and buildings since 1980, under the title Scale & Perspective. Deleu plays with the classic idea of the scale of everyday objects by highlighting the experience of the difference between the horizontal and vertical plane.
In the work Bakboordstuurboord, the interplay of scale and perspective reaches a pinnacle, thanks to the tilting of a staircase sculpture. An identical horizontal and vertical stepped plane are interlinked, and can be distinguished visually by the colours red and green. The climbable steel staircase is a reuse of the staircase detail from Barcelona Towers 1989-92, a monumental proposal for an apartment complex in Barcelona in the form of two identical towers, one upright and one horizontal.
The Kröller-Müller Museum commissioned T.O.P. to build a wooden 1:1 scale model of the staircase in 1991. As an offshoot of the exhibition Future Plans, the installation was reworked into a climbable staircase sculpture. Bakboordstuurboord is a further distillation of the tilted staircase in which there is an intensive focus on creating perspective and the sculptural attributes of the whole. A handrail and balustrade were added to the design, which gives the structure the added value of serving as an observation post or mirador over the ring road.
Half a century of Luc Deleu & T.O.P. office served as fertile ground for the striking publication Luc Deleu & T.O.P. office. Future Plans 1970-2020.
Cédric Libert has already written about the genesis of the idea behind the staircase in Tumbling Apartments/Barcelona Stairs (1991).
"I once stood on the roof of one of the New York WTC towers. There I thought it would be much better to imagine one of the towers horizontally."‐ Luc Deleu
The installation was made as part of the exhibition Future Plans which was staged at De Singel in 2020-2021.
Bakboordstuurboord was acquired by the City of Antwerp for the ‘Art in the City’ collection. The steel staircase sculpture will be given a permanent home on the Scheldt quays at Nieuw Zuid in Antwerp in 2023. In the meantime, you can admire the work on the Stynen Terrace of the De Singel campus.
22.09.2022 - 21.09.2023
From Monday to Sunday, 24/7.
De Singel (The large outdoor terrace of the Blue and Red Hall lobby)
Flanders Architecture Institute
Anne Judong & Peter Swinnen (CRIT.)
Ian Gyselinck (Diode comm.V.)
Dirk Jaspaert (BAS bvba)
The Flemish Community
Bakboordstuurboord [Portstarboard] was acquired by the City of Antwerp for the ‘Art in the City’ collection and will be given a permanent place in the city’s public space in 2023.
DE SINGEL, like everyone else, takes a series of measures to reduce high electricity and heating costs. With the large-scale infrastructure of 48,000 m², 2 large halls, a theatre studio, a dance studio, several foyers, rehearsal rooms, a Conservatory, ... it is necessary.
One of these measures is a break from Monday 19 December 2022 until Sunday 15 January 2023. No public activities will take place during this period. The expo will be temporarily closed.
In 2020–2021 we are celebrating 50 years of unsolicited practice by Luc Deleu & T.O.P. office. To mark this anniversary, the Flanders Architecture Institute, is launching the Future Plans project. The aim is to preserve, continue and disseminate the potential of T.O.P. office’s reflection on society from the perspective of design practice and design education. The project translates concretely into a book, an exhibition and a documentary.