Artist’s Monument to Nature Dubbed the ‘Sistine Chapel of Rotterdam’

Arno Coenen's digital mural monumentalizes the bounty of the earth.

Arno Coenen, Horn of Plenty (2014).Photo: courtesy Kees Stuip Fotografie, Ossip Architectuurfotografie, TS Visuals, and Provast.
Arno Coenen, Horn of Plenty (2014).Photo: courtesy Kees Stuip Fotografie, Ossip Architectuurfotografie, TS Visuals, and Provast.
Arno Coenen, <em>Horn of Plenty</em> (2014).Photo: courtesy Kees Stuip Fotografie, Ossip Architectuurfotografie, TS Visuals, and Provast.

Arno Coenen, Horn of Plenty (2014).
Photo: Courtesy Kees Stuip Fotografie, Ossip Architectuurfotografie, TS Visuals, and Provast.

Arno Coenen‘s Horn of Plenty isn’t scheduled to open to the public until October 1, but the massive digital mural has already earned the nickname the “Sistine Chapel of Rotterdam,” according to the Huffington Post. This cathedral, however, is not a monument to god or religion, but to the bounty of nature.

Arno Coenen, <em>Horn of Plenty</em> (2014).Photo: courtesy Kees Stuip Fotografie, Ossip Architectuurfotografie, TS Visuals, and Provast.

Arno Coenen, Horn of Plenty (2014).
Photo: Courtesy Kees Stuip Fotografie, Ossip Architectuurfotografie, TS Visuals, and Provast.

Covering more than 36,000 square feet, the gigantic artwork fills the interior of indoor marketplace Markthal Rotterdam with colorful depictions of the fruits, vegetables, and other produce that will be for sale once the market is open for business. The piece is made up of 4,000 individual tiles, installed over the course of a month.

“You feel just like an insect standing underneath,” Coenen told the Creators Project. “That’s the idea behind it—that childlike sense of wonder you had when you read Eric in the Land of Insects or Alice in Wonderland.”

Arno Coenen, <em>Horn of Plenty</em> (2014).Photo: courtesy Kees Stuip Fotografie, Ossip Architectuurfotografie, TS Visuals, and Provast.

Arno Coenen, Horn of Plenty (2014).
Photo: courtesy Kees Stuip Fotografie, Ossip Architectuurfotografie, TS Visuals, and Provast.

Coenen wasn’t able to realize his larger-than-life vision on his own, relying instead on a team that included designers Iris Roskam and Marinus de Ruiter, 3D modelers Michiel van Iperen and Frank aan de Stegge, NUKE software specialist Dustin Kershaw, and photographer Frank Hanswijk.

The super hi-resolution produce photography was made possible by Pixar, which successfully rendered the massive 1.47 terabyte file so that Coenen could produce a sharp, clear image at such a large scale.

Arno Coenen, <em>Horn of Plenty</em> (2014).Photo: courtesy Kees Stuip Fotografie, Ossip Architectuurfotografie, TS Visuals, and Provast.

Arno Coenen, Horn of Plenty (2014).
Photo: courtesy Kees Stuip Fotografie, Ossip Architectuurfotografie, TS Visuals, and Provast.

“You could just look at the wonderful, almost psychedelic picture for its beauty, but the reference to the ‘Horn of Plenty’ points out the miracle that food is there for you,” said Coenen in an interview with designboom. “It is a work with a spiritual, religious feel to it. However, its larger-than-life size is not a tale of religion; it’s about nature.”

Arno Coenen, <em>Horn of Plenty</em> (2014).Photo: courtesy Kees Stuip Fotografie, Ossip Architectuurfotografie, TS Visuals, and Provast.

Arno Coenen, Horn of Plenty (2014).
Photo: courtesy Kees Stuip Fotografie, Ossip Architectuurfotografie, TS Visuals, and Provast.

Once the market opens, the artist will project moving animations on top of the permanent artwork. At night, the center of the ceiling will depict the phases of the moon, corresponding to its waxing and waning in real time. Coenen also plans seasonally appropriate imagery, telling Creators Project to keep an eye out for “a school of swimming herring in the herring season, or giant 3D Easter eggs in Easter.”

Arno Coenen, <em>Horn of Plenty</em> (2014).Photo: courtesy Kees Stuip Fotografie, Ossip Architectuurfotografie, TS Visuals, and Provast.

Arno Coenen, Horn of Plenty (2014).
Photo: courtesy Kees Stuip Fotografie, Ossip Architectuurfotografie, TS Visuals, and Provast.

The artwork wraps around the inside of the horseshoe-shaped building, which was designed by local architecture practice MVRDV. The building will house restaurants, butchers, bakers, fishmongers, produce stands, and other retailers, as well as 228 apartments and parking for 1,200.

“The first reactions are really good,” said Coenen to Creators Project. “I think the work is comforting in a way. It’s as if you’re lying in the grass, looking up at the sun. With the bees and the birds all around you.”

Arno Coenen, <em>Horn of Plenty</em> (2014).Photo: courtesy Kees Stuip Fotografie, Ossip Architectuurfotografie, TS Visuals, and Provast.

Arno Coenen, Horn of Plenty (2014).
Photo: courtesy Kees Stuip Fotografie, Ossip Architectuurfotografie, TS Visuals, and Provast.

Arno Coenen, <em>Horn of Plenty</em> (2014).Photo: courtesy Kees Stuip Fotografie, Ossip Architectuurfotografie, TS Visuals, and Provast.

Arno Coenen, Horn of Plenty (2014).
Photo: courtesy Kees Stuip Fotografie, Ossip Architectuurfotografie, TS Visuals, and Provast.

Arno Coenen, <em>Horn of Plenty</em> (2014).Photo: courtesy Kees Stuip Fotografie, Ossip Architectuurfotografie, TS Visuals, and Provast.

Arno Coenen, Horn of Plenty (2014).
Photo: courtesy Kees Stuip Fotografie, Ossip Architectuurfotografie, TS Visuals, and Provast.


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