On the Wateringseweg, DSM had a 100-meter-long blank wall full of ugly graffiti. At a network meeting, DSM Manager Site Affairs Bram Reijke discussed this with graphic designer and street artist Micha de Bie.
When they go to see the place it is two souls, one thought: "We have a wall, can you make something on it?" and “You have a nice wall, can I make something on it?”. So a piece of cake? Not really, but the painting eventually came.
DSM regularly received complaints from local residents about the wall with its ugly graffiti. Reijke concluded that cleaning the wall would only work as offering a "blank sheet" for new ugly graffiti. That would be a waste of money. What to do? Would adding a work of art to that wall be a possibility? He walked around with these questions when Reijke – a great fan of street art – got into conversation with De Bie in 2018.
Reijke explains which snags the project had to overcome in the meantime: “To begin with, I had to get the idea together within DSM.” That turned out not to be the most difficult task. The then location manager was quickly convinced by the idea. He encouraged Reijke to see what else was needed to realize the plan. “That was financing, among other things”, says Reijke. He found this among others at the Ondernemersfonds Delft. “We are very grateful to the Delft Ondernemersfonds for the important contribution we have received for the project.”
When the budget was settled, Reijke could start thinking about the next point. The wall is in fact a municipal monument. This means that any changes to it must be able to be reversed. If it is ever decided to remove the painting, it must be possible without leaving visible traces and without causing damage.
“That is why, in close consultation with the municipality, we put test pieces on another wall to test four methods”, says Reijke. “One of the four was based on a type of wax. It stays in place under normal circumstances, but turned out to be relatively easy to remove with a high-pressure cleaner and warm water after four months.”
Now that it turned out to be possible to remove the painting again, if necessary, Reijke was able to submit an official permit application. Parallel to this, he entered into talks with local residents. “In general there was a large group of supporters and a small group of fierce opponents. Many people did agree that the original design was a bit too colorful.” Micha de Bie then came up with an adapted design of autumn leaves from trees that occur in the area, with a somewhat more subdued color choice. “We continuously consulted and listened to all opinions as closely as possible. This new design convinced the people who wanted a painting”, says Reijke. At the end of 2019, this design could finally be implemented. Reijke himself is very satisfied with the result and the reactions to it: “They are mostly very enthusiastic.”