De StraatMakers

— Colours of the City

'De Straat Makers' is rooted in local identity and a shared value of place. For this project we have collected soil from all across Eindhoven in order to know more about this city and the people who make it unique. It brings together all the colours, textures, and stories that have influenced the design of a new street tile for the city centre, and visually connects the pavement we walk on every day to the qualities of the earth beneath our feet. 

We collected 150 soil samples from 30 different locations from across Eindhoven. At each location we drilled one meter deep to obtain different layers of soil. 

Each soil type — earth, sand, clay, humus, and peat — varies in colour from site to site. 

When fired at high temperatures the soil oxidizes and reveals even more of the varying colour palette from each site. 

30 digging sites from all across Eindhoven. 

If you could choose one place in this city that means the most to you, where would it be? A forest, park, or garden? If you were to dig there, what colours would it yield?

With these pigments we can determine the unique colour palette that represents the city of Eindhoven.

Digging is our craft. It is how we learn about the earth and its living communities.

Our digging has resulted in a material archive that reveals the colours of Eindhoven. From this collection, we carefully selected a range of pigments to visually represent the very soil the city is built on.

From this material research, stone manufacturer Metten Stein+Design developed a family of tiles that vary in colour & texture. The warm grey background of the tiles matches the colours of the Brabantse loam — a mixture of clay, silt, and sand. The individual fragments within the tiles come from the natural colours found in the city’s terrain — from the ochre of the iron rich sands to the deep brown top soils. These particles create identifiable features within the city streets that reflect its energy, playfulness, and diversity. The stones create a beautiful and distinctive surface for people to walk, roll, run, bicycle, and drive on.  By visually connecting the qualities of the earth to the pavement we walk on everyday, we hope to ground local people by reflecting on the unique characteristics of the very place we call home. 

Are you an Eindhoven resident and interested in contributing to this ongoing project? This expanding archive needs you! Grab a shovel, dig some soil from your favourite place, and explain what makes it special. Fill a jam jar, send it to Atelier NL, and upload your story to: 

Collectively, our stories make the city what it is today.