Maarten Baas’ Real Time Schiphol Clock

Dutch designer Maarten Baas began his Real Time series in 2009 and continues to develop clever new versions of it. Each edition in the series is a 12-hour film that shows the hands literally moving in real time. The latest, the Schiphol Clock, is a massive (over three meters) clock that hangs from the ceiling in Lounge 2 at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport.

The latest iteration was inspired by the many faceless men who clean and work at the airport in blue overalls. Beginning with an archetypical form of a clock, Baas creates the illusion of one of those men climbing a ladder and entering the clock’s door. With a red bucket and yellow cleaning cloth in hand, the man erases the old minutes and creates new ones as time moves on throughout the day. Each minute is documented as he wipes the hand away and then paints a new one. The clock display in the airport is made possible by a video that Baas recorded over 12 hours to show a hyper-realistic representation of time.


The busy airport sees over 12 million people throughout the year, which is why they reached out to Baas to create one of his renowned clocks as a way to replace the other Dutch icons – tulips, clogs, and windmills.







Photos and video by Rob Hodselmans.

Caroline Williamson is Editor-in-Chief of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.