For many centuries Apeldoorn has had a network of streams and springs. The springs were dug from the sixteenth century to provide energy and water for milling. The pure groundwater was an essential resource for the emerging paper industry. But when the mills were converted to laundries and the wastewater drained into the streams, the system was polluted. In the 1930s the streams were either transferred below ground or filled in. In consultation with environmental agencies, Apeldoorn developed a plan to reinstate the water system. In the Beurtvaarststraat, north of the station, one of the streams has been allowed to flow above ground again.
Tanja Smeets was asked to design twenty-three ‘gargoyles’, which are both decorative and functional: they transfer rainwater from the street into the stream. “ I wanted to use a spoon to transport the water. During a residency at the European Ceramics Work Centre in Den Bosch, I developed moulds for spoons in four different formats. I then pressed clay into the moulds and stacked the spoons to form a basin where water can collect.”The spoon sculptures have a white glaze and hang like bunches of mussels on the brick embankment. Because the spoons fan out in different directions, the sculptures spew the water, into the stream.