wooden 'tower of balance' by boonserm premthada emits ancient bell sounds across bruges

wooden 'tower of balance' by boonserm premthada emits ancient bell sounds across bruges

The Tower of Balance at Triënnale Brugge 2024

 

The Tower of Balance by Boonserm Premthada is one of twelve creations by six artists and architects invited to design outdoor art installations for the 4th edition of Triënnale Brugge in Belgium. This year’s theme, Spaces of Possibility, is curated by Shendy Gardin and Sevie Tsampalla and invites artists to unlock potential in the World Heritage City of Bruges across different areas. Premthada’s installation explores that theme by conveying the ‘sound’ of an ancient wooden bell tower hidden under bricks. The familiar notes envelop the land and connect to the forgotten outskirt. ‘We aim to create a ‘Balance’ among differences found in the city: the new and the old structures, conservation and development, the present and the past, local people and tourists, culture and history and economy, manmade and natural creations, space and density, hills and plains, closed and open areas, industrial and natural materials, living outdoors and indoors, progress and sustainability,’ says Premthada.

wooden 'tower of balance' by boonserm premthada emits ancient bell sounds across bruges
images © Spaceshift Studio (unless stated otherwise)

 

 

a wooden structure connecting to the world heritage city

 

Boonserm Premthada (see more here) has teamed up with local group Architectuuratelier Dertien12 to design the ivory-colored wooden structure. Spanning 18 meters high, The Tower of Balance features a square spiral staircase as the centerpiece and a bell hanging from the overhead structure at the end of the staircase on the highest floor. Attached to each side at different levels are square and circular balconies overlooking Bruges landmarks: the three-bell towers, the Abbey of Sint-Godelieveabdij, and the sprawling city in the south. The bell reminisces how the old town was built, starting with the tower as the heart of the city. ‘When designing for Spaces of Possibility, I deliberately avoided installing my creation in the old town for the reason that we should respect the place. The densely populated area of Bruges Old Town is a world heritage site with beauty and history that should remain untouched, not to mention the fact that it already underwent so many renovations throughout its long history that it is now complete in all aspects,’ shares the architect. 

wooden 'tower of balance' by boonserm premthada emits ancient bell sounds across bruges
The Tower of Balance by Boonserm Premthada

 

 

Boonserm Premthada explores lightness and visual play

 

Following his vision of old and new, Boonserm Premthada has also leveraged the wooden bell tower’s location for the Triënnale Brugge 2024 to create a series of visual play. Sitting midway on a grassy slope along the main road down to the Abbey, amid a vacant and unused area on the southern edge of the oval-shaped city, the installation connects the Belgian World Heritage site with the expanding new urban area in the south. When viewed from the main road, the structure appears as a ‘tower buried in the ground,’ creating an intriguing balance between irregular angles and perspectives.

wooden 'tower of balance' by boonserm premthada emits ancient bell sounds across bruges
the project is part of the 4th edition of Triënnale Brugge 2024

 

 

Structurally, The Tower of Balance is made up of small pieces of pine wood assembled and then placed, laid, overlapped, clamped, bent, fastened, drilled, nailed, screwed, hung, and so on, according to the basic methods of traditional woodwork hidden within the brick walls commonly found in this city. ‘We took this concept and renovated it to create a light, thin, and open structure that allows humans to feel the wind, sun, rain, and temperature of that specific area. This structure also brings back the sound of the bell from the 13th century to improve the city with sound. We call this ‘creative renovation’ instead of ‘physical renovation,” concludes the architect. The Triënnale Brugge 2024 opened to the public on April 13th and will run until September 1st, 2024. 

wooden 'tower of balance' by boonserm premthada emits ancient bell sounds across bruges
an ivory-colored wooden structure with a bell at the top emitting ancient sounds

wooden 'tower of balance' by boonserm premthada emits ancient bell sounds across bruges
the structure welcomes visitors to enjoy the wind, sun, and open views

tower-of-balance-designboom-full-1

the bell reminisces how the old town was built

wooden 'tower of balance' by boonserm premthada emits ancient bell sounds across bruges
close-up of the spiral staircase

wooden 'tower of balance' by boonserm premthada emits ancient bell sounds across bruges
small pieces of pine wood assembled using basic methods of wooden construction

tower-of-balance-designboom-full-2

the installation spans 18 meters in height

wooden 'tower of balance' by boonserm premthada emits ancient bell sounds across bruges
The Tower of Balance features circular balconies

wooden 'tower of balance' by boonserm premthada emits ancient bell sounds across bruges
connecting to the historical city of Bruges | image © Iwan Baan

tower-of-balance-designboom-full-3

top view of the wooden structure

 

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image © Iwan Baan
image © Iwan Baan

project info:

 

name: The Tower of Balance

location: Bruges, Belguim
lead architect: Boonserm Premthada / Bangkok Project Studio @boonserm_premthada

local architect: Architectuuratelier Dertien12 | @architectuuratelier_dertien12

photographers: Spaceshift Studio | @spaceshiftstudio, Iwan Baan | @iwanbaan

program: Triënnale Brugge 2024 | @triennalebrugge

curators: Shendy Gardin, Sevie Tsampalla

viewing dates: April 13 – September 1, 2024
engineering & construction: Decleir Houtconstructies

completion year: 2024
built area: 21 sqm

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