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Collège Notre-Dame-de-la-Major
Krijn De Koning

Patrons - Un groupe de professeurs du Collège Notre Dame de la Major
Mediator - Sylvie Amar, Anastassia Makridou-Bretonneau
Supporters - Fondation de France, Marseille-Provence 2013 Capitale européenne de la culture, OGEC Notre Dame de la Major.
Collège Notre-Dame-de-la-Major, Le Panier, Marseille, France, 2010 - 2011

In a school without outdoor areas, a group of professors decided to ask an artist to help develop an area on the ground floor where students could meet and talk before school and during breaks.

The artistic project was completed while an extension to the College was being built on a narrow stretch of land in Le Panier. The new three-floor building has classrooms, a science laboratory and a documentation centre. However, it lacks outdoor areas. Teaching staff therefore decided to ask an artist to help develop an area on the ground floor where students could meet and talk before school and during breaks. This request was made to the Fondation de France's New Patrons project, with support from the Bureau des Compétences et Désirs, a local artistic outreach association.

Krijn de Koning decided on a simple yet radical transformation of the building's ground floor. This incorporates large-scale artistic gestures, a general tone and smaller details. A single colour, light blue, covers all surfaces. Instead of the traditional central staircase, a forum area has been created. These changes allow the artist to change the way the place looks, but also how students take control of it. Other colours and details infiltrate this blue universe and add to the overall picture. Monochrome canvases are used as noticeboards. Multipurpose blocks have been placed on the ground and can be moved to serve different purposes – as seats, armrests or barriers to create areas where groups can work together, present projects or watch performances or screenings. Three pillars support a podium, located between floor and ceiling, creating the illusion of different levels. This podium "emerges" in the documentation centre, forming a table. Not only does this project change the general environment, it also creates a new relationship with space. Instead of being a place people pass through, the ground floor has become a place people go to. It is an extraordinary playground, where students can relax, rest, talk and learn.

Krijn de Koning

Krijn de Koning was born in 1963. He lives and works in Amsterdam. His work often takes the form of site-specific installations. He works in several disciplines – including painting, architecture and design – and is inspired by the long Dutch aesthetic tradition. Like his fellow countrymen Gerrit Rietveld and Piet Mondrian, he has developed constructions based on elementary colours and forms. In 2011, a monographic exhibition of Krijn de Koning's work was held at Nantes' Musée des Beaux-Arts (Museum of Fine Arts). He created spaces dedicated to the Mondrian collection at the Gemeente Museum in The Hague.