Tilburg 2021, will we go back to an intelligent lockdown? Back to normal? I ask myself: What exactly is defined as normal? Are we entering an experimental phase to find answers? It's hard! Clocking in at the right time, with code black lurking around the corner. What can you hope for and what can you count on? A perfect experimental example and its accompanying controversy is the Rotating House. Am I going to try to convince you? Nope! Putting the house in a different perspective? Yes, I'm going to try that. Spin it...!
Who will be participating in this round? Jace van der Ven, art and culture expert, who has been around for many years in Tilburg. He even had the pleasure of taking part in a round of Körmeling together with former colleagues. Someone who has also been involved in the artistic ups and downs of Tilburg for many years is Frans van der Meer, who still wants to put things right. But what? The Rotating House? Then we have Rob van der Dobbelsteen, who follows the debacle surrounding the house closely. I can see it, a 'Soossial' in the Rotating House.
Ceci n'est pas une maison
The traditional discussion around the Rotating House. The recurring phenomenon that is stoned publicly every year. The Rotating House is the target of Tilburg. Is there a budget exceeded on the other side of the city, has your garbage not been collected, do you think the municipal taxes are too high, are you just having a bad day, or is your vacuum cleaner broken? It's all because of that hideous monstrosity over there on the Hasselt roundabout. 'That 'money-grubbing house' has to make way for a floral arrangement. Let's face it, our town would then be transformed into a 'Brabant Keukenhof' with faded flowerbeds. In terms of costs, the house would fall into the category of 'forget-me-nots' anyway! We're not going to have that discussion again. Come on, 'Ni'?
'Spinning bridal suite'
When I first saw the Rotating House years ago, I was immediately convinced! Wonderful, what an entrance to the city. I also instantly gave it my own twist. 'Wherever you go, your home...' You know the drill, a bit cosmic! Years later I visited John Körmeling. He told me about the ideas behind the Rotating House, after which my dreamy interpretation was shattered in an instant. I still have a good laugh about that. By the way, did you know that his studio has no entrance door? So how did you get in, you might wonder. That's a whole other story. Wonderful, what a guy! John told us that at the time the Postelse Hoeve had plans to turn the house into a bridal suite, which ultimately fell through. A 24-hour permit and a roundabout threw a spanner in the works. Thank goodness, otherwise the house would have become an attraction! Imagine, your wedding night not on a rotating bed but in a rotating suite. Chaos! No, leave the house in the state it was intended for. In itself, I find this 24-hour matter interesting. Does the house rotate non-stop left or right?
The anecdote of F. van der Meer
When Frans sees the Rotating House, he thinks back to his House of Commons 'Hear Hear' moment, which resulted in a debatable climax. When the discussion around the house flared up again, Frans was spontaneously invited by the TV program 'Van Onze Centen' to give his vision as an artist. Van der Meer took his role as 'Lord Speaker' extremely seriously. When the moment was there and Frans was glued to the screen in anticipation, it ended in an anticlimax from which his baggy trousers fell off. To where? That's for Frans to tell. I dare not say. The in-depth interview with Frans had apparently been transformed into split-second material, accompanied by a voice-over that painted a totally different picture. Well Frans, 'never a dull moment' with that spinning colossus there on the roundabout!
'A flying house in Wilhelmina Park?'
At one time there were plans to resurrect the bird aviary that used to stand in Wilhelminapark in a contemporary way. Kunstkabaal came up with this initiative. A great concept with great ideas. At the time I spoke with John about it. He could not wait to get started. He was selected to design it. They were still waiting for the green light to start realizing everything, but alas. In my humble opinion, a 'Körmeling' cannot be missing from the Museum Quarter. We are talking about a birdhouse instead of a rotating house, but can you already see it? An artistic birdhouse in the Wilhelmina park! New round new chances?
The House of Guus
To make a nice transition to 'Den Ophef', surrounding the house of Guus Meeuwis. The renovation of Guus' house was closely followed by Tilburg. It was 'a disgrace'. It even made the press, when the wrecking ball made its rounds through the classic villa. And what came in its place, 'that was completely unacceptable!' Did they think the renovation costs were too high, you ask yourself. Has it become a rotating villa then? Nothing could be further from the truth. People thought it was 'sund' and 'lilluk'. For a moment it seemed that the focus of attention for the Rotating House had collectively shifted to another house in town, Guus' house. Just imagine! All those angry Tilburg residents on Guus' doorstep. But fortunately there was the Rotating House with its annual pit stop.
Let the chimney smoke
What I wonder is this? Is it a Körmeling trauma or does it go back further? Perhaps it has something to do with monumental heritage. No matter how you look at it, everything falls back into place with the Rotating House and John's ideas. The house has earned its stripes over the years. And maybe the time has come to accept that the Rotating House is part of Tilburg. Perhaps we can still tempt the citizens of Tilburg by placing a flower pot on the window sill.
In short, I don't think it's a genius house, but a genius work of art. Full of admiration I look back at the roundabout one more time, and then walk into the Hasseltstraat. Back home, 'in the middle of our street', and wonder in the meantime: What if there had been a mill on the Smarius roundabout?
Jace van der Ven
Frans van der Meer
Rob van der Dobbelsteen
Wacker: loyal companion
Artist John Körmeling: Rotating House
Angelique Cornelissen: photos & text
‘Leegstand’ - Aafke Romeijn (Rotating House)