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Permanent work of art

The Beach
Since 27rd May 2017

Within the frame of the local graphic design festival Une Saison Graphique 2017, designer Karel Martens was invited to imagine a creation using the 700 beach cabins situated on Le Havre beach.

Each year, after a wintering period, the cabins start appearing on the beach with the promise of sunnier and more entertaining days. This local tradition dates back to the 19th century, when Le Havre was renown throughout Europe as a seaside resort and destination of choice for « sea bathers ». Since very few vestiges from this glorious past remain, the « beach cabins » are definitely parts of the local heritage. They are passed down from generation to generation by the « cabinists ». Since the 1950s, they have all been standardised and painted white. The challenge facing Karel Martens was therefore to colour them harmoniously.

Karel Martens is a mathematics enthusiast. He imagined an original process to assign a unique design to each cabin. After choosing 10 colours and 6 different widths for the stripes, the designer asked for the help of Faironnerie ABC, a digital manufacturing laboratory of the University of Normandy. In order to reduce the number of possible combinations, the team established, by digital coding, that they should be applied according to the decree related to the foundation of the city and port of Le Havre, issued by King Francis I in 1517. A nod to the celebration of the city's 500th anniversary.

* Colours on the Beach

Practical info

Permanent work of art

Couleurs sur la plage

AN ALGORITHM GENERATED FROM THE FOUNDING CHARTER OF THE CITY USED TO COLOUR OVER 500 BEACH CABINS

The Beach
Since 27rd May 2017
Venue

The Beach
Le Havre beach promenade

ACCESSIBILITY
  • Visitors with physical disabilities
  • Visitors with hearing impairment
  • Visitors with mental disabilities
  • Visitors with visual impairment
OPENING HOURS

Accessible 24/7

PRICE

Free access
Artwork visible from the beach promenade for persons with mobility

Discovery tour

Étape 5 du Parcours littoral

CULTURAL MEDIATION

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How to get here
Tramway routes A & B (La Plage)
Bus route 1 (Porte Océane)
ON SITE
  • Bar

Sustainable development

Colors on the beach is a work by the Dutch graphic designer Karel Martens in collaboration with Le Havre inhabitants and organizations. Indeed, hundreds of beach cabines owners have accepted to contribute to the project. Educational structures are also involved. Le Havre University created the algorythm that determines the lenghts and colors of the stripes, while CFA Baie de Seine and Schuman-Perret highschool painted many cabines. Last but not least, AHAPS inclusion sheme took part with a dozen of trainees in the painting of the cabines, which are the unexpected medium for this project in between science and art.
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