Roeland Otten Camouflages Ugly Public Utilities With Giant Photographic Installations


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Categories: Inspiration

From afar, passersby may not notice Otten’s awesome photographic installations at all. Taken from the same vantage points at which they are mounted, each side of his photographic coverings depict the neighborhood view around them, including row homes, plant life and even parked cars. The line of the road, trees or parking signs line up with the photographs, giving a confusing trompe l’oeil from afar, effectively creating an urban camouflage, made with the actual surroundings themselves.

Otten’s mission to beautify his city also took on more artistic forms. A downtown Air Quality Measuring Station was given the once over, with a mosaic-like skin that gives a pixelated street view of Jan van Galenstraat. Printed on anti-graffiti coating, each side of the station translates the architecture, trees and road into a rough pixel view, playing with the tradition of mosaic work and modern technology.

The tiling brings back the lost views in the Jan van Galenstraat as pixeled images.


Otten has also painted electricity substations in trompe l’oeil patterns that mimic sight lines on the Rotterdam waterfront. His piece are simple, low cost, and create quirky and witty public art installations, while covering up city utility stations that are normally not pleasing to the eye.

The design camouflages the little concrete building of GGD Amsterdam.

Realized in 2012, materials: Winckelmans tiles 5 x 5 cm in 24 colours, anti-graffiti coating, dimensions: 1,8 x 3 x 2,8 m:  Location: Jan van Galenstraat, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

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