Location: Ostend, Belgium
Completion date: 2012
Studio Nick Ervinck
IMAGROD is an ornamental yellow sculpture, installed at the front of the chapel of the military hospital in Ostend. Referring to the giant 'gates of paradise' made by the Renaissance sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti, Nick Ervinck interprets this gate as a trespass between the manual and the digital. Though exploring the boundaries between sculpture, architecture and design, Nick Ervinck pays great respect to this cultural heritage. His design is inspired on the authentic doors of this chapel, but realised with contemporary materials (polyester).
The Military hospital was built in 1908. The domain is situated next to the beach and is being renovated in contemporary appartments and lofts. For this project it was very important to respect the cultural heritage and the old function of the chapel. The door was in a very poor condition. So to protect the door and prevent further damage, Ervinck designed a polyester structure that can be attached to the original door. The chapel is going to be the cultural heart of the domain and the new door is a clear mark to emphasize the new function of the building and to stimulate creativity. Just like the appartments and lofts created in the different buildings on the domain, it was also important to make the connection with the environment. The structure of IMAGROD seems to be the result of a spontaneous, natural erosion process (think for instance on how seawater hollows out rocks). Yet, the shining yellow finishing gives the sculpture the look of an artefact. Moreover, Nick Ervinck refers to the fauna and flora, and specific to the sea with its hidden networks and corals.
The relationship between the artist, the architect and the project manager was based on respect and openness. Starting point for all the works was the recognition for the cultural and historical value of the old Military hospital. It was also important to mark the new funtion of the chapel. The chapel will become the cultural heart of this project with an artist in residence program and spaces for local cultural activities. By integrating this project in the center of the domain, Nick Ervinck, Groep 3 and Vanhaerents wanted to minimize the boundaries between a place to live and a place to be creative.