Jan Detavernier


Oude Leiearm


Nature is a master of organisation, allowing anomalies in its quest for order, for progress can only come from evolution. Nature’s ingenuity can be the basis for finding solutions to the challenges facing our planet. EntrΦphi emphasises the universal human need for utopian imagination. Translated through geometry, with experience as the main objective. EntrΦphi is a self-contained biotope on the water. An air treatment station we would not want to depend on for clean air. Oxygen is produced by moss and plants which purify the polluted air, with fountains spouting a torus of water in fixed, short bursts. The beauty and the power of this aquatic installation is in the geometry of the 64-tetrahedron grid. The tetrahedron – a triangular pyramid – is a geometric figure and elementary building block, symbolising the cosmos, its origins and connection to Earth. The water jets represent the energy lines and force field of that building block. Endlessly switchable in any direction, the ecosystem takes us to the core of our existence. The flora seemingly trivialises nature’s ingenuity at directing its structures, growth processes and patterns, yet the intelligence behind it can only be understood through mathematical algorithms and constants such as the Golden Ratio. Yet again a master of organisation, nature does only what is needed. This work is a visual representation of one of nature’s fundamental building blocks, designed to rediscover our natural connection. 


GPS coordinates artwork: 50°47'34.3"N 3°07'03.9"E

In 1920, the river Lys in Menin saw a new arm excavated and a system of locks installed. Seventy years on, the course of the Lys was altered again, creating an islet between the old and the new riverbed. The small island is largely on French soil and now boasts a lovely little park, accessible by the bridge over the sluice gates. The building materials of the locks – individual bricks rather than concrete - reveal their old age. The 1920 river works were designed to make the Lys navigable for barges up to 300 tonnes. Now, it carries vessels four times heavier. As of 2005, the lock complex is a protected monument. Here, the artistic intervention is conceived as a means to rekindle our link with nature. 


Belgian artist Jan Detavernier finds himself in awe of the wondrous works and laws of nature. The way nature builds organic structures through geometric and mathematical patterns, instilled in Detavernier a hunger for understanding this morphology, which he then integrates in his own structures. In nature, everything is already invented, yet the lack of knowledge to read nature and its building blocks, inspired the engineer and perception designer to venture into research. His achievements are frozen fascinations of his research into how everything snaps together, is repeated, differs and looks for solidity. Spatial events and concepts told in one single tale revolving around experience and meaning. The perception of systems and the power of imagination go hand in hand in his designs. His artistic focus is on land art with geometric patterns as a basis for activist architecture. The artist co-founded Bamboostic, an ecological building co-operative in Brazil, and is the founder of Baboom and Tree Time, both businesses focusing on using natural materials and innovative construction techniques.