Sea of Orange project
Sea of Orange is an architectural and artistic project implemented by the Waterfront project team together with partners from the Dutch architectural bureau Observatorium (Rotterdam). The project, aimed at integrating public art into public spaces, is based on the ideas of co-design and placemaking, so its main feature is cooperation with local residents, their involvement in the process of planning and creating an art object..
How can the shoreline of the city of Lomonosov (aka Amber Beach) be transformed into an attractive, inclusive and sustainable public space? The coastline at Lomonosov, a city near St Petersburg, is an isolated area that lacks a sense of ownership. The local residents want to turn this 'space into a place'.

By using the language of imagination, the methodology of place-making and through storytelling, the Waterfront project (Street Art Research Institute) in St Petersburg and artist collective Observatorium from Rotterdam are, step-by-step, transforming the present and future of the Amber Beach and together with local residents turn it into the Sea of Orange.

The goal of the project is to raise curiosity for contemporary public art and its different meanings and to adress a new urban ecology. It is about providing knowledge and hands-on tools for creating works in public space of a high quality in accordance with local dreams and experiences. We subscribe to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The Sea of Orange is the prelude to the future transformation of the site into a recreational and cultural spot on the waterfront with a new kind of biodiversity (what is good for flora & fauna is good for people).
Stories become objects.
Objects turn a space into a place.
The place is owned by the local people.
The people clean up the beach.
The beach becomes a new waterfront park.
The park is called 'Sea of Orange'.
The Palace of Menshikov and its park in Lomonosov
The Palace of Menshikov and its park in Lomonosov were built hundreds of years ago and one was only permitted to enter if he was a part of the rich and famous class — the nobility. The buildings and the park had no direct access to the sea. The Sea of Oranget is about creating, what Observatorium calls, a 'built proposal': a first imaginative step in transformation.
The Sea of Orange will be the counterpart of the Menshikov Palace and park. Open for all people and with easy access to the sea and the waterfront. The similarity between the old and the new, however, is that through the park/landscape design, the artworks and the pavilions, both places will trigger the imagination. We will build a landart project and thus create a new seashore park that addresses the rising sea-levels and biodiversity.
The history of the palace and the city of Lomonosov is being transferred by books, poetry and storytelling. For the Sea of Orange we will start a collection of stories that will become the heritage of the future and, at the same time, a guide for future additions to the park. All the team members envision that through the Sea of Orange project ultimately the waterfront will be adorned with extraordinary artworks and/or pavilions set in a contemporary, biodiverse maritime parkscape.
The objective is to create a 'tidal park' in which a new kind of biotope appears (as an example for the whole region and especially the city center itself). The tidal park as the counterpoint to the the ponds in the palace park. A visit from 2021 on to Lomonosov will entail a visit to the Old Palace and the New Park by the sea.
The Sea of Orange
The Sea of Orange project is also a cultural exchange between Russia and the Netherlands, between the sister-cities St Petersburg and Rotterdam, between the Waterfront project and Observatorium. It is a project to learn from each other and to give new insights in how to deal with waterfronts around cities and how to transform them with local residents into attractive, inclusive and sustainable public spaces.
One day a fantastic ship appeared on the horizon of the sea. It was in 2020, near the city of Lomonosov, that once was called Oranienbaum. The ship was loaded with color, light, sound and 'crazy people'. The ship’s name was: the Sea of Orange. People set foot on the beach and started to build a fire, a tree, a slide and at night they had a festive barbeque. After one week more ships arrived and people from all over the world came to admire all the ships and boats. The Sea of Orange attracted many people, and they wondered about the imaginative way how the 'crazy people' turned a once desolated and dirty beach from 'a space into a place'.
Once upon a time, not so long ago, in a small village on the coast of the Neva Bay businessmen thought up great plans. "Let’s create some new land and build a harbor, so we can profit from the goods that are transported to the neighbouring rich big city". They visited Rotterdam, this famous city in the Netherlands, just like Tsar Peter once visited it. They were amazed by the big port and terminals and celebrated their idea in the Oranienbaum Beer Brewery. "Yes, that is what we want". No sooner said than done. They searched all over the country to find good sand, they took and shipped it and started dumping it in the sea.
The local citizens did not realize what was happening. What are they doing? What is happening to our seashore? Soon they found out the businessmen planned a container terminal in their village. Was it already too late to stop this, in their eyes, megolomanic madness? The protest began.
As the locals came into action, an elderly woman strolled through the park of the зalace. She was thinking about the past. How was it in the early days? People then also had big plans. One man in particular thought: "I will build a palace just as large and beautiful as the one of the Tsar, so he can visit me and I will profit from his wealth". No sooner said than done. Next to a small settlement without a name, the grand construction began and nobody protested.
One day the Tsar wanted to visit the palace by boat, but the palace didn’t have a port. Within three days a canal was dug from the sea right up to the palace – with the 'help' of the villagers. The owner of the palace was so happy that Tsar would come and give him a giant present. A huge slide was erected in the palace park. It was extraordinairy and outreageous and was copied many years later by Americans who turned this marvelous idea into the first rollercoaster in the USA – with the help of Russian immigrants.
Slowly the small settlement grew larger, and it felt it had to have a name. The locals were thinking and thinking but couldn’t agree. As they were discussing again, out of the mist a ship appeared. They saw an orange tree on deck - something they had never seen before. It was a gift from some foreigner – from Germany or Holland, nobody knows anymore – but it looked so magical that they decided to call their city Oranienbaum. And everybody agreed.
Decades past, the world changed drastically as did the village of Oranienbaum. The palace lost its grandeur and someone decided the name of the village had to change too. This somebody somewhere wrote on a piece of paper: "From now on we call your village Lomonosov". Why? Nobody knows. Many well-known people visited Oranienbaum but Lomonosov was certainly not one of them. Unfortunately, in those times protesting was useless.
In the meanwhile the protesters against the new port won their battle and the only remains of this once great plan was the double-colored - brown underneath and orange on top - sand area dumped in the bay. The locals took a deep breath of sea air and happily continued their daily routine. The old lady went back to her house overlooking this piece of orange sand that now was the view from her house.
Years passed, and nature took over the sandy area. Flowers and bushes and a remarkable plant with orange berries started to grow here. Nobody was sure where it came from but when they all bloomed at the same time, it looked amazing – a sea of orange plants. People strolled and relaxed on this new piece of land that didn’t exist in the records of any government and called it 'Amber beach'. It was forgotten by the authorities, it was no-man’s-land. If something isn’t owned by somebody, it might become anybody’s property. So it happened that one day somebody wrote on a piece of paper: "let’s build the outlet of the sewer system right here". No sooner said than done! Nobody ever thought of protesting, because nobody knew!
Today the world is again in a very different shape. The village is not as isolated as it was, being con- nected to the 'big big' world. The villagers travel all across the country and the planet, and they see many beautiful things in cities and villages, squares and streets, parks and beaches, and they get inspired by all the lights, smells and sounds of the world. When they arrive back home at their train station, they wonder: "Can we turn our Amber Beach into something similar?" They thought of yachtships, swimming in the sea (like in the old days), more nature, cleaning up the rubbish, looking out over the sea to the lights on the other side, dog walking rails, rest and quiet, monuments and artworks, your feet in the water and head in the sky, a labyrinth, a banana slide, barbeques... Many ideas - big and crazy or little and gentle – were discussed. And the people talked... and talked... and talked. How to start? And over and over again they talked and they couldn’t stop talking anymore.
The old lady saw and overheard all these debates. She took a shovel and walked to the beach and started to move sand. "What are you doing?" people asked her. "I come from a time when the palace park was just for the rich. I come from a time where parks were only created for monuments. I want our beach to be a park for everybody in our village - whatever its name is. I want children to be able to swim in the sea and I want to sit on a hill and look over the water and wonder about the stories, legends and mysteries that lie behind the horizon. So, I am creating a hill, a dune for people to visit and for nature to grow".
People looked at her and ran home, grabbed shovels and started to help her. After three days the dune was completed. In the sand they had found rocks and everybody wrote his or her dream for the future on them.
It is called the Dune of Orange. Every year the peace and quiet of this place on the waterfront is celebrated during the Orange Night. In the distance you can see the light of the big city and through a fire on top of the dune a message is sent to the other side: we are connected.
Today you can walk along the waterfront, swim in the sea, look at the passing boats and wonder about how nature thrives once you give it space. Today you can visit the Menshikov palace and park and the Sea of Orange: a marriage between past and future, young and old citizens, the city, the sea and the park. Now the Sea of Orange is no longer no-man’s-land. A 'space' has turned into a 'place'. It was adopted and created by the people of Lomonosov. The Sea of Orange park has become their own, because it is made and maintained for and by themselves and is free-for-all.

The first phase of the project was to get to know the area and ask the local residents to share their memories and dreams for the future of this region by means of workshops and a walking conference. These memories, fairytales, drawings, dreams, stories and ideas were made by participants of the workshops who came from Lomonosov and St Petersburg and were a start of the imaginitive transformation of this site
Two parks, two uses but one dream. The Menshikov Palace Park and the Sea of Orange both celebrate nature and the imagination. One is from the past, the other is for the future. Nowadays, the Sea of Orange is no man’s land. How can you turn this 'space into a place'?
The first impulse is the Dune of Orange. A free for all land art project to mark a new future for the Amber Beach aka Sea of Orange. A place-making project with and for the people of Lomonosov in order to create an imaginative public space. The Dune of Orange is an impulse for creating 'your own park by the sea' to celebrate what is 'already there': history, mystery, landschaft, and people.

The fifteen dreamrocks are the inspiration for the future of the park. It is an archive to look at and remember what dreams can mean and what they can do for changing environments. These dreams open up your imagination and give you a glimpse of a possible future of the Sea of Orange park.
Albina Motor, producer, Director of the Street Art Research Institute
Lieven Poutsma, artist and partner of the architectural bureau Observatorium
Ruud Reutelingsperger, artist and partner of the architectural bureau Observatorium
Polina Shtanko, coordinator
Vika Grigorenko, website editor
Valery Solovyov, SMM and PR specialist
Ilya Davydov, technical director, designer, videographer
Anton Demidov, technical manager
Nikita Tryapkin, merchandise-manager
Dmitry Pilikin, art consultant
Polina Klimovitskaya, coordinator-consultant
Lilit Akopian, promotion consultant
Financial support:
Creative Industries Fund NL
This project is funded by the Creative Industries Fund NL through the international program Inclusive cities and societies through design in Russia, Morocco, Turkey and Egypt
Information partner:
Newspaper "Paper"
Project partners:
Danish Сultural Institute
"Oranienbaum Maritime Festival"
Autonomous non-profit environmental organization "Friends of the Baltic Sea"
National Research University Higher School of Economics
Melanie Post van Ophem (Council Rotterdam-St Petersburg)

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