A Quack Heard Round the World: Canard de Bain
Annie Block -- Interior Design, 8/1/2009 12:00:00 AM
If this rubber duck looks familiar, you have a pretty big bathub: Canard de Bain is 40 feet tall. Slightly different versions of this sculpture by Florentijn Hofman have bobbed in the waters of Amsterdam; Nantes, France; and São Paulo, Brazil. Most recently, the enormous duck was seen making waves in a canal in Hasselt, Belgium, as part of Zoom-Out, an ongoing public-art project throughout the Flemish province of Limburg.
Citing inspirations ranging from old-master painters Johannes Vermeer and Jacob van Ruisdael to a TV commercial for a children's yogurt drink, Hofman claims that Canard de Bain relieves stress. "People soften at the sight of something that recalls babies," he says. "Plus, it stands up to its surrounding architecture." The Belgian duck and his three older brothers, all of them site-specific, were made of PVC coated with rubber in a Pantone yellow Hofman won't reveal. Most took nearly an hour to inflate, and they floated for a month or more with the aid of steel-and-wood pontoons weighing 6 to 10 tons.
Playing with scale is a theme for the artist. "The bigger the object, the smaller the world. It makes us all family," he notes. Japanese fans join the brood in late August, when Canard de Bain number five appears during Aqua Metropolis Osaka 2009.