Lady Justice, by 19 het Atelier
Since the Renaissance, courthouses often feature a sculpture of Lady Justice as an allegoric representation of justice. Her features include a blindfold (for impartiality), weighing scales (for balancing each argument), and a sword (for judgment).
At least in the Netherlands, this iconography is still very much alive and all courts still feature one or more of these ladies. Not as a classical marble sculpture, but as a more modern ( = abstract ) version of it.
In one of the most northern cities in the Netherlands, Heerenveen, an architecture office called ’19 het Atelier’ last year finished a building featuring a four story high Lady Justice. It is not a Judicial court, as one might suspect, but… a lawyers office.
That is a somewhat puzzling iconography for such an office. Impartiality, for instance, is not a virtue for a lawyer. Or am I wrong?
The ‘sculpture’ itself has the attributes of a proper Lady Justice: a blindfold (a band of dark glass) and weighing scales (behind the corner, made of concrete). The sword is missing. On the glass old laws are printed.
Although the figure of the lady is very round, the contrast between the shape and the abstract façade does work. And the room in the ‘head’ of the Lustitia (as the Romans called her) is nice. The project does put a smile on my face. I am not sure if it’s because it is so dumb or because architecture could use some more of this kind of thinking. Probably both.
19 het Atelier - Lawyers Office, Heereveen, The Netherlands (Copyright Ruud Ploeg) (click-2-enlarge)