Our proposal is based on the idea of Functional Urban Assembly. It is an urban landmark that let people experience the artwork in different ways related to the diamond industry. The artwork reflects the most distinctive characteristics of the diamond material namely the strength, the transparency and the light reflection play. We consider the triangular shape which is the strongest linear geometric shape in the form of glass rods multiplied by considerable number to create a mass effect. The resulting effect is what we call “The Crystal Forest” created by the large number of these glass prisms raising from the ground.
The material of the crystal prism is borosilicate (pyrex) which is strong and resistant for outdoor usage. Every pylon comprises of a group of 9 glass prisms (rods) giving more reflection, implemented into the site as a tree, forming with other elements a forest of crystal prisms. Each glass pylon is anchored in a steel frame partially under the ground, optionally equipped with external lighting spots or internal three color LED artificial light armature integrated into the pylon for night lighting and special occasions.
Our proposal for the location is on the pedestrian zone on De Keyserlei in the vicinity of the Anneessensstraat) along the route from Central Station towards the Schelde (Port) through the main shoppingstreet in the old city, and in extension crossing the axes from Diamond District through the Vestingstraat/ Appelmansstraat. The main structure is enveloped in a rectangular shape following the movement of the pedestrian flow on the primary axis in a random order in height to emphasize the concept.
The artwork features a more intimate internal area - surrounded by the sparkling glass pylons - which is accessible through the maze of the Crystal Forest. This internal plaza provides the opportunity for various one-off events, such as ceremonies, proposals, weddings, fashion shootings, etc. creating a memorable and a one of a kind experience. An Emblem of the AWDC of distinct natural stone and metal has been embedded in the floor of this internal plaza as a reference to Antwerp World Diamond Center.
The Crystal Forest has the possibility of future expansion with the cooperation from the city to add flavor to the tourism culture, to provide an opportunity for people from all over the world to enjoy the Diamond District and to have an intimate encounter of the Diamond industry in Antwerp.
The Crystal Forest may also be enriched by expansion beyond the current border with a personalized touch by honoring prominent people or people who contribute to the Diamond Industry with a certificate of adding an element to the site or by engraving their name on the existing glass prisms.
Our proposal has a unique and powerful character that also can have marketing or commercial applications together with other symbolic landmarks - like the Statue of Brabo (hand of Antigone) or the Manneken Pis – that can contribute to local events by which the city and the diamond industry of Antwerp in particular can profile and present itself. The Logo of the Crystal Forest has its roots in the letter “A” of Antwerp and the triangle of its Province. It expand the same serie of icons; triangle (shape of the prism) with the sparks of the A of Antwerp. We can also see the prism being produced at small scale as souvenir elements for tourists from all around the world.