At Rotterdam’s historic Binnenrotte Square, next to Blaak Station, is an eleven-stories-tall arched building that huddles over an immense food market on the ground floor. The arched building is also habitable and contains over two hundred apartments, with each unit equipped with either a window looking out into the market or a glass square in the floor so residents can look down into the bustling venue below. The exterior facade of the building is clad in grey natural stone, the same is used for the surrounding public space. But the ends are closed with glass panels to keep rain and the cold out. The vaulted ceiling of the market is adorned with gigantic murals of fruits, vegetables, and flowers, that some have likened to the Sistine Chapel.
Opened in 2014, Markthal, Dutch for “Market Hall”, is the Netherland’s first covered market and a unique spectacle. Unique is not only its shape and size, but especially the way the different functions are combined. The combination of an apartment building covering a fresh food market with food shops, restaurants, a supermarket and an underground parking garage can only be found in Rotterdam.
The large mural which covers the vaulted interior, was made by artists Arno Coenen and Iris Roskam, and got a lot of attention when the Markthal opened in 2014. The artwork, titled Cornucopia occupies 11,000 square meters and shows oversized images of market produce which can be bought at the market, while the flowers and insects refer to the work of Dutch still life masters from the 17th century. The images were created digitally and rendered by Pixar Studios and printed on perforated aluminum panels. It is said that print resolution of the art work is comparable to a glossy magazine.
This feature originally appeared in Amusing Planet.