Europator / Europe Gate
The former Nordstern mining compound was redesigned as a landscaped park for the Bundesgartenschau in 1997. A special feature of this park is that its mining history was deliberately incorporated into the design, so that the buildings could be reappropriated, while new terrain features emerged.
A competition was held for the redesign and 18 artists were invited to participate, all of whom already had works addressing the structural change in the Emscher region. Friedrich Gräsel took second place with his large-scale design titled Europastern. It included two large stainless steel gates at the ends of Europa-Allee, as well as signs along the Allee with information about the development of the European Union. His design also envisaged framing 16 linden trees with a pergola-shaped arrangement of pillars. The pillars would be made out of stainless steel tubes and one additional pillar would be installed in the middle of the Allee.
From this overall plan, only the Europator was implemented, which now stands at the beginning of the Allee and is reminiscent of a triumphal arch of modern industrial culture. For his sculpture, Friedrich Gräsel used large industrial tubes that are joined together to form a nearly rectangular gate with asymmetrical support and side elements. Here, the simple form of a gate becomes a complex sculptural composition that marks the transition from an industrial to a postindustrial situation.
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