Passers walking accross Essen’s Viehofer Straße mostly don’t notice them, the five landmarks called „Stadtzeichen“ marking „Creative Quarter North“. They are made to symbolize economic recovery of the city and have been designed by Uli Dratz, architect based in Oberhausen. They have been erected in the frame of an architecture competition in the 1990ies for the purpose of remodelling the northern quarter.
Entering the quarter and crossing Fontänengasse one has to pass the first, which is called „Water“. Essen is a waterside city; Ruhr, Emscher and Rhine-Herne-Canal cross it. „Water“ is designed as a well, arched with 3 bows of light. The first sign is followed by an obelisk „Coal“, „Trading“ looking like an advertising pillar, „steel“ and „energy“. Those five artworks are mostly be ignored by the public. They are neglected and desolate by now. Only street artists seem to take notice and use them as playgrounds. The lighted arch, which had been out of order for years, has been repaired for Essen’s annual Illumination weeks and shines in new splendor now.