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50 Shades of Whites

Maurice Nio

At the bus stop.

"Nothing is more banal than a bus stop, apart from a toilet maybe", says Maurice Nio, commenting his extra-ordinary project for the municipality of Haarlemmermeer. A deliberate revolution of what a conventional bus station is, he designed something which we can only refer to as an extraordinary, ultraordinary, superordinary bus stop facility. To say this in his words, "The most unconventional, the most lyrical waiting place, completely detached from the image of what should be a facility for public transport".

Maurice Nio, born in 1959, founder of NOX Architects and, in 2000, NIO Architecten; has always been particularly interested in urban planning and transformation of urban spaces, especially in degraded areas. This bus stop is no exception: it uses the unexpressed potential of an ordinary space such a bus stop to create a new and impressive scenario for the city.

"50 Shades of White" is the film NIO Architects decided to dedicate to this project 15 years after its completion. "This video is not a film about the bus stop, nor is it a film adaptation of its production process or history. This video is the bus stop, an insane mashup of impressions and images, a lyrical hymn of praise to the common, the ordinary, the plain, the unspoken, and the generic," he commented.

Using distortion, a white-on-white palette, mirrored images, slow motion, and repeated frames, the video is a direct expression of the potential of such a space, a potential which here is rendered and amplified through the way it is filmed - it is both a rich and extra-ordinary film and a white canvas to paint on our ideas of a place.

"Just like the expressionless face of a geisha, this video is 'painted' with 50 shades of white, so that everyone can project their own ideal image on it."


Architect: NIO Architecten
Mentioned project: The Amazing Whale Jaw, bus station in Hoofdoorp (2003)
Project location: Hoofddorp, The Netherlands
Editor and music composer: Felix Spanjaard

The Netherlands 2015
Duration: 2'58"