Wall of Languages, Leeuwarden

Designed by: Archetypisch in cooperation with Studio Louter
For client: Province of Friesland for Lân fan taal, Leeuwarden 2018 Floor area: 110.00 M² Year of completion: 2018
Submitted for: Social Award

01 Wall Of Languages Archetypisch
© Archetypisch

Overview of the eastern Wall of Languages

About the Project

The wall of languages is located at OBE -Lân fan taal, the visitor centre for the free-state for all languages. It is part of Leeuwarden-Friesland European Capital of Culture 2018. The wall of languages gives an overview of all living languages: it shows at least one variant of every recognised, living language of the world in alphabetical order, based on the language overview published annually by Ethnologue: Languages of the world.

The 1680 revolving wooden cubes, with the names of one language on 4 sides, can be turned by hand by the visitors to reveal 6780 languages.
The two parts of the wall, both 7,50m long and 3,5m high, are positioned in front of the Eastern and Western glass façade of the pavilion, creating a filter between the interior of the information centre of Lân fan taal and the outside world of Leeuwarden. The cubes of 10x10x10 cm almost fill the whole window surface, but let enough space to look through to Oldehoofsterkerkhof, a view filtered by the languages of the world. A moveable ladder on each side makes all the cubes accessible.

What’s unique about it

The wall of languages invites visitors to play with the cubes, to look for their mother tongue and to understand the ungraspable amount of languages.
Turning the cubes is a trip around the world – not by plane or by Google maps, but by languages. Pinpointing your own language on these big walls is a way of defining your position in this world and realising that your linguistic background is one of thousands of cultures to interact with. It embraces the proud Frisian community as much as the single Ghanaian visitor who discovers her mother language “Akan”.

02 Wall Of Languages Archetypisch
© Archetypisch

Part of the Wall of languages seen from outside

03 Wall Of Languages Archetypisch
© Archetypisch

The revolving wooden cubes carry on 4 sides the names of every recognised, living language of the world.

04 Wall Of Languages Archetypisch
© Archetypisch

The revolving wooden cubes carry on 4 sides the names of every recognised, living language of the world.

05 Languages On Instagram

Instagram posts of people who discovered their mother language on the Wall of languages.

06 Wall Of Languages Archetypisch
© Archetypisch

The cubes have a bright and a dark side. By turning them you can create words or icons, the cubes functioning as 'pixels'.

07 Wall Of Languages Archetypisch
© Archetypisch

The western part of the Wall of languages seen from Oldehoofsterkerkhof. The pavilion is designed by Powerhouse Company

08 Wall Of Languages Drawing Archetypisch
© Archetypisch

Drawing of the western Wall of languages with moving ladder.A

Location of project:
Credits:
Archetypisch

Studio Louter

Mannen van Staal


Powerhouse Company

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