for the latest in his series of super-scale, sea-bound sculptures, renowned dutch artist florentijn hofman has created the 21-metre-long ‘hippopothames’, just towed upriver from its build site at royal docks to its end position at nine elms on the south bank, UK. as part of totally thames — a 30-day program of events taking place along the river — the artist’s first ever UK commission draws reference from the prehistory of the site, and the hippos that used to inhabit it.



hippopothames by florentijn hofman
video courtesy of thamesfestivaltrust
all images courtesy of florentijn hofman



semi-immersed in the water, the large-scale mammal is made of overlapping panels, and features huge painted eyes and pink-colored ears and nose.the purpose of setting my sculptures in the public domain has always been to give members of the public a break from their daily routines, to inspire conversation and to cause astonishment.’ hofman describes ‘I hope the location of my sculpture will inspire passers-by to engage with its surrounding area of nine elms on the south bank, and to discover the various other events within the totally thames programme celebrating london’s river’. ‘hippopothames’ will remain on site until the conclusion of the totally thames festival on september 28th, 2014.

florentijn hofman HippopoThames
HippopoThames is towed down the UK river

florentijn hofman HippopoThames
half-submerged in water, the giant hippo gives a new context to the landscape

florentijn-hflorentijn hofman HippopoThames ofman-HippopoThames-designboom-01
overlapping panels are pinned together to create the large-scale figure