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De Haan, Belgium

Sandworm

An undulating wicker beast looms peacefully atop a sand dune in Belgium. 

The permanent art installation, Sandworm by Finnish architect Marco Casagrande looks from afar to be an almost frighteningly large beast, but up close the structure is revealed to be a peaceful wooden thoroughfare made of an intricate willow mesh.

Originally built for the Beaufort Triennial of Contemporary Art, Sandworm is meant to work alongside the natural dune environment surrounding it to create piece that speaks both to environmental art and to architecture. It also simply resembles a large, bloated sandworm torn from the pages of books such as Dune. The art monster is an impressive specimen at almost 150 feet long and over 30 feet tall and wide, but up close it radiates more peace than menace. Constructed purely our of flexible willow branches bent and intertwined, the soft angles of the piece become more inviting the closer one is. In addition, the interior of the worm is cool and softly shaded as sunlight filters through the woody mesh. There is also a (blow?) hole built into the highest point of the corridor in case anyone starts getting too claustrophobic while sauntering through the creature’s gut.    

Each of the ends of the installation are open and can be entered by visitors who wish to take a peaceful walk through the belly of the beast. The Sandworm is meant to reflect the nature around it, and as it is taken over by the environment, it is likely to become even more lifelike.    

Update September 2017: Sadly, the installation has been removed from the beach.