A tribute to the founder of Philips, his contribution to the Brainport Eindhoven region, and an enrichment for the city of Eindhoven. Gerard Philips’ artwork has “come home” to the city where he started his company 132 years ago. Roy Jakobs, CEO of Philips, presented this unique gift this afternoon to Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Mayor of Eindhoven.
“Philips is the very first high-tech startup of the Brainport Eindhoven region. From the start the company has been synonymous with innovation and entrepreneurship. Through our contribution to important technical and social developments, we have been improving people’s lives for almost 132 years,” Philips CEO Roy Jakobs said.
“Gerard is someone who, for me, symbolizes what is possible. He created a global impact. This artwork links his role as founder, inspiration, and innovator. And it symbolizes a gateway to the future. Let the artwork be an inspiration to think of a world full of unprecedented possibilities and lasting impact.”
“It is hard to imagine how Eindhoven would have developed without Gerard. Gerard Philips had no children, but he did have a great legacy. One of innovation, entrepreneurship, and collaboration,” said Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Mayor of Eindhoven.
“Together with his brother, Gerard was one of the first socially responsible entrepreneurs in the Netherlands. With a focus on housing, care, education, and relaxation for employees. In the spirit of Gerard, we are currently setting up and expanding the Brainport for Each Other program because progress is only progress if it is with all of us.”
A work of experiential art that everyone can touch
The artwork is called “Gateway to the Future” and was created by artist Andreas Hetfeld. The health technology company donated the gift two years ago to the Municipality of Eindhoven in honor of its 130th anniversary.
“This artwork is a tribute to Gerard as an engineer, manufacturer, and human being. I wanted to make an experiential artwork. Everyone is allowed to touch it, walk through it, and hold it. It is a fusion of traditional craft and state-of-the-art technology. During the construction process, I and my skilled team of eight people put everything together manually. That makes it a very artisanal and innovative work, which of course is what Gerard himself is known for,” explains artist Andreas Hetfeld.
“Light, of course, cannot be missing. Signify has put him in the spotlight with dynamically controllable light. It can be adapted to the use and needs of the city, thus connecting Gerard to the city. The Gloeilampplantsoen is a beautiful, temporary location. But I am already looking forward to the moment he will be in the renewed Victoria Park. Only then will Gerard really be home.”
Hetfeld was unanimously chosen by the art selection committee in late 2021 to realize his design. The art selection committee consisted of Adriaan Geuze (landscape architect), Anton van Gerwen (Municipality of Eindhoven), Netty van de Kamp (senior advisor Art and Space at Kunstloc Brabant), and representatives of Philips, including Hans de Jong (former president Philips Netherlands), Olga Coolen (director Philips Museum), Jaap Alfrink (project manager), Jos Stuyfzand (Senior Experience Director Philips Design), Guy Kerpen (Head Government & Public Affairs Benelux) and Bert Tip (initiator).
The artist worked on the unique, innovative artwork for the past nine months, 8 meters wide and 7 meters high. It is constructed from more than 500 layers of Corten steel with nearly 5,000 individual parts and more than 100,000 welding points. In total, “Gerard” weighs about 23,000 pounds. It will be moved there once the renewed Victoria Park downtown is completed. That park is a stone’s throw from Gerard’s first factory on the Emmasingel.
The official unveiling took place in the Gloeilampplantsoen at Strijp-T in Eindhoven. Over 200 people attended. Besides Philips CEO Roy Jakobs and the mayor of Eindhoven Jeroen Dijsselbloem, they included several descendants of the Philips family, various employees of the company named Gerard and/or Geraldine, and many other interested parties.