Art-loving construction company revives Ghent street art scene
GHENT / ZONHOVEN, 28 August 2020 – Street artist Cee Pil is back. After a short break due to the coronavirus pandemic, the leading artist of the Ghent graffiti scene presents his latest work today: an artistic toucan painted on the office containers of construction group Jansen the Building Company at the new Van der Valk hotel. Wallin (the non-profit organisation that upgrades public space in Ghent by providing a platform for graffiti artists) sees promise in the concept. “Creativity is stronger than a virus. By joining forces with art-loving entrepreneurs, the sector is given breathing space.”
Artist Cee Pil, who invariably remains unrecognisable, gives shape to a toucan as a result of this project: “Animals always occupy a central place in my work. They contain many elements that you can ‘play’ with, graphically. The choice of a toucan was obvious because this bird is so prominent in the logo of the neighbouring Van der Valk hotel. Because mixing different images is my trademark, I created a double work of art: on the one hand, it’s a pure image of a toucan, while on the other, I’ve combined a toucan and a parrot.”
Art lovers Van der Valk and Jansen
The mural looks beautiful, of course. But the toucans also tell a story, explains Max Van der Valk (member of the Van der Valk Hotel Ghent Management): “This work helps to make the mission and vision of the entrepreneurs involved tangible. When our construction partner Jansen came up with the idea, we were immediately excited.”
Many ‘street art hunters’ share Max’s enthusiasm: the work has recently become a place of pilgrimage for lovers of this art form. And that’s exactly what client Jansen the Building Company – which is currently designing the new Van der Valk hotel – had in mind. “We’re an atypical construction group, with a fondness for beauty. Art is an expression of beauty. That’s why we integrate art into our offices and often donate a work of art to our clients. This way, you give artists a forum, create a tangible memory, and engender a positive effect in the workplace: In a relatively boring environment, art distracts from the ordinary. It puts the imagination to work and increases productivity and creativity,” says CEO Nadia Jansen.
“It’s nice to be able to use our creativity in this period.”
The culture sector has been hit hard by the current crisis. But thanks to partnerships with art-loving entrepreneurs, the sector is being revived. Wallin, the non-profit organisation that formed the link between client Jansen the Building Company and artist Cee Pil, is already experiencing this.
“A lot of projects are on the proverbial back burner right now. “That’s why it’s especially nice to be able to use our creativity in this period. Our organisation monitors the balance between the artistic vision and the clients’ wishes. It’s a simple task, in this case, because the assignment was in line with Cee Pil’s vision,” explains Rick Molyneux (project developer at Wallin).
Wallin and Cee Pil are looking forward to the next few months: “Creativity is stronger than a virus. Wallin appreciates the public space in Ghent by providing a platform for graffiti artists. We use the proceeds of commercial projects for public projects. Our showpiece will be the project in the Nieuw-Gent residential area. We’re curious about the healing power of murals in a neighbourhood with an image problem.”
About Van der Valk
Van der Valk, the Netherlands’s oldest and largest hotel chain, has more than one hundred hotels, spread across the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, Spain and the Netherlands Antilles. It all began in the late 1920s, with an eatery in Voorschoten, run by Martinus and Rie Van der Valk. The fourth generation is taking over from the third generation and the fifth generation is chipping in with some hotels.
About Jansen the Building Company
Jansen is a first-rate general contractor, specialising in interior finishing and technical installations. This construction group is rooted in 45 years of family tradition with 350 professionals all active in four fields: contracting, product development, real estate development, and facility management. Jansen the Building Company was founded in 1973 and its head office is located in Zonhoven, and realises projects worth more than 100 million euros each year in various sectors: healthcare, office, retail, and – the more niche sectors of pharma, cleanrooms, leisure, and tunnels.
For more information:
Marketing manager, Jansen the Building Company
+32 (0) 470 99 62 51
Thalita van der Valk
Marketing & Communications Manager, Van der Valk International
+31 (0) 88 1825512