With more than 350 (373 to be precise) projects submitted to the Make.Brussels call for projects, scanning through the many ideas to see which ones deserves your vote can be a little daunting. So we’ve gathered the team around the table and picked those 25 ideas for Brussels which, we believe, deserve your vote. We’ve even added another 10 for good measure. Remember, you have until this Friday 20th may to vote for your favourite one(s).
1. Wild Dansaert
An initiative that aims to bring the beloved basketball court on Place du Nouveau Marché aux Grains back to its former glory. First phase is renovation (not least getting a proper net attached to the hoop), and second phase is a black party as well as a ball contest. A project brought to you by Caran Courbet, a radio host (Culture Wildstation, every Wednesday on Radio Panik from 22h to 23h), band manager, promoter and full on hip hop head whom homies know as Kraan. #fullsupport Vote for the project here.
2. Electronic Marathon
Spearheaded by fresh-faced collective FTRSND, Electronic Marathon aims to capitalise on Brussels’ burgeoning electronic scene to bring a series of events – everything from concerts and club nights to conferences and exhibition – in the neighbourhood’s various venues. Already counting the support of some of the city’s pole-positioned electronic music movers and shakers – everyone from Holger and Leftorium to Buzz on Your Lips and Bepotel – the idea seems to be gaining traction amongst the city’s masses. We can only hope the project leaders are also doing all they can to bring the area’s residents on board too. Vote.
3. Alma domestica
There’s much too much we love about this to be anywhere close to as objective as we should, so we’ll keep things purely descriptive. 21 artists exhibited in 21 apartments with a guide-map to walk you through the trail. Brought to you by the ever-so-elusive yet nonetheless brilliant team guys behind Italo-Belgo contemporary art publication Drome. Vote for it here.
4. La Foret
This one scored points straight away. A temporary forest installed bang in the middle of Place de la Bourse. What is there not to like? The only thing we’d suggest, as do most of the people commenting on the project’s page, is to go beyond the temporary tag and give their enchanted forest longevity. And yes, we know the city plans on rolling-out a greenery landscape on the Pedestrian, but sometimes, just sometimes, its good for the people to add their twist to the mix. Vote.
5. Marché couvert permanent
Like many things, Brussels seems to be one of the only cities in the world to not have its own covered market. Granted, we do have the Foodmet at Anderlecht’s Abattoir but, for some reason, the idea never really took off. Let’s sincerely hope this one does. Vote for it here.
NOTRE DAME AUX NEIGES
6. Meat meet BBQ
There’s no need to convince us about the need for this one. The project’s objectives are plain and simple: install fixed and solid-stone barbecues, as well as a bread oven, on the streets Notre-Dame-Aux-Neiges. They had our vote from the get-go. And should also get yours.
7. Lazy Rebel Beats
As the talented host of BRUZZ’s weekly future beats and hip-hop show Re-Fresh (every Monday from 20h to 21h, right before ours), Peter Beda, known to most as Seventy Two Soul, knows a thing or two about the crème-de-la-crème of the local scene. His vision of a street-festival that’ll offer DJ sets, live concerts, workshops, graffiti battles and a record fair, he continues to relentless champion the local scene by shining a light on the country’s emerging beat makers. Kudos. Vote for it here.
8. Food Street
An entire street populated by both local and international food stalls. On paper the idea sounds brilliant, we just want to see how it evolves. But, for the moment, it deserves a mention nonetheless. Support it here.
A project conceptualised in two phases. Phase one: plant trees along the pedestrian. Phase two: hang large pictures from the trees depicting the neighbourhood, and its residents, in a bid to reinforce the neighbourhood’s identity. There’s something to it, it just needs to be further fine-tuned. Vote here.
MONT DES ARTS
10. Mega Ksara
This one ticks all the right boxes as far as we’re concerned, and not only because it’s an effort driven by the local rap scene’s youngest prodigy, STR, but also because it unites a community that is all too often left to shape its own destiny – namely, Brussels’ hip hop community. Put simply, Mega Ksara aims to be a weekly rendez-vous for the rap scene’s upcoming talents, a regular meeting place where nothing else matters but the mic, the beat and the swag you bring to the table. Open mic sessions, graffiti workshop, two concerts and a DJ set. And all of it for free. Brussels better get behind this one. Show your support by voting here.
Bring residents together, and pick their brains as to the best way to revive the neighbourhood’s public quarters. That, put simply, is the premise of this project. To create, produce and bring their people’s ideas to real life, workshops as well as all the tools needed to materialise each concept will be available, ensuring no stone is left unturned in the aim to bring a little something-something more to the streets. Think of it as an open-sourced, crowd-sourced, community-based workshop that also manages to reinforce the area’s social cohesion. At the moment, the project doesn’t have the amount of votes it deserves, so get your ass in gear and click your support away.
Despite what the world’s most foolish US presidential candidate ever would have you believe, Brussels is far from being a hellhole. Matter of fact, there’s not one artery or area in the city that’d deserve the label, a fact that might leave the odd tourist in search of adventurous and alternative things to see a little disappointed. Rest assured though, as this project has dug out the only back alley in town that could, actually, be dubbed a hellhole and will campaign to change its current name (L’impasse du Cheval) to its newly-chosen one (Hellhole). We’re not entirely comfortable with the idea of giving the Donald a firm standing in our city’s urban fabric, but there’s something about the idea we find funny. In a silly kind of way. Plus we can already picture the hoards of Chinese and Chilean tourists making a pit stop to see what all the fuss about. Vote for the idea here.
13. Studio 54
Full disclosure, this is an idea partly conceived by our current journalism intern, Dorien Schelfhout, so its another one where our objectivity might be a little biased. That being said, the project – that aims to give a voice to the “real” Sainte-Catherine of today through a freely-distributed trimestral print publication that’ll include interviews, in-depth features and a neighbourhood agenda– has merit. What’s more, for a team that is barely coming out of college, it stands out by its maturity. Street-level journalism at its best. Vote for the project here.
14. Une bière 2 tartines
In all fairness, this is one of the few ideas out there that, actually, seems to have developed its concept with the sole purpose of seeking to reinforce its chosen neighbourhood’s stated identiy, one of the Make.Brussels’ essential selection criteria. A food-pairing event that brings local, upstart breweries together with the neighbourhood’s restaurants, cantines and other types of eateries in a bid to bring the well-known Belgian adage – 1 beer, 2 sandwiches – to life. The most successful pairings as voted by the public will then get added to the restaurants’ menu for a given period of time. Granted, it’s a little high-browed, but that’s exactly what the neighbourhood’s existing food feel needs. Headed by the founder of Alphabeta magazine, a self-described creative consultant that lives and loves food. Vote for her project here.
15. 180 gr
Bringing the masses closer to the neighbourhood’s existing bio and short-circuit market through the power of music. That pretty much sums up 180 gr, a concept that’s already taken off in Italy and which the hardworking folks at Bonnefoi’s, downtown’s favourite late-night haunt, plan to bring to town. Local food and local music combined, what’s not to like? Vote here.
16. Le Beam
A clear people’s choice from the start, Le Beam is one of those typically “Only in Belgium” ideas. With plans of shining a giant beam from the centre of Grand-Place right into space, we’d vote for this one simply on the basis of its ability to once again ensure our dear country is visible from the moon. A flag-waving, national pride kind of idea we salute. Vote here.
17. Villo XL
Brussels’ bike rental scheme is all well and fine, until you have cargo to shift around the city. This is the premise of Villo XL, which aims to complete the existing offer by opening an outpost where tricycles are available for rental. One of those “why didn’t anyone think of that one before?” type of ideas. Vote here.
18. Habitant du mois
Taking the “employee of the month” concept to another level, “Habitant du mois” will select two upstanding residents and/or businesses per month and capture them in the form of photography portraits that will then be hung in the neighbourhood’s streets. Cute. Vote for it here.
19. Marolles Food Market
A project underpinned by four key beliefs – The power of a strong community spirit, The reliance on local produce, The importance of attractive displays and and The necessity to consume responsibly – Marolles Food Market’s objective is to install a covered food market in the beloved neighbourhood. Although the exact location of the market is yet to be revealed, the idea in itself has merit. Support it here.
20. Mont St-Michel
Making the most out of one of Brussels’ most iconic lookouts – the views that extends over Brussels from Place Poelaerts – Mont St Michel consists in installing a climbing wall with workshops and contests. A suspended terrace will be constructed at the top, meaning those that make it to the top get to enjoy even better views. Although there’s clearly something to it, it is an idea that still requires some thinking-through. Vote for it here.
21. Soupe et Boulettes
As the name indicated, this project is anchored around the simple idea of a soup and balls (meat, fish, vegetarian and the likes). Inviting the neighbourhood’s residents and restaurants to prepare and present the culinary combination based on their cultural affinities, the initiative will translate into an annual fest, bringing together the local community around the most simplest of dish. We love it, and you should should too.
22. Les coulisses du Sablon
A program of behind-the-scenes access that opens up the historic neighbourhood of Sablon’s many craft-based businesses to the public in a bid to promote their expertise and provide insight into the specialised, finicky world of hand-crafted, hyper-localised businesses. Through workshops, studio visits and meetings, the idea brings fun to the backrooms and, by doing so, reinforces the neighbourhood’s long-standing reputation as a creative community. Vote here.
23. Les gateries du Sablon
An ice-cream shaped to Brussels’ iconic townhouses? A croque-monsieur sculpted to the outlines of the city’s architectural landscape? A Brussels biscuit? Those are just some of the ideas of this project, which aims to combine culinary innovation with local landmarks in order to boost the city’s image through food, the sweet or savoury type. In the same way as KLM’s Delft blue miniatures paying tribute to Amsterdam have become synonymous with the city’s signature architecture, we applaud the ingenuity of the idea and its capacity to position the city in a different way. Check out the endearing video (complete with plaster models), then vote.
24. Sad and Lonely
An initiative based around the opening of a retail space that’ll present both local and international artists’ newly-created productions, Sad and Lonely (without a doubt one of the best project names out there) aims to devise a solution to the often precarious economic solidity of artists. A parallel economy of sorts, the project will insert art editions into the everyday lives of both locals, expats and visiting tourists, allowing artists to make a living to complement their mort artistic practice. Full disclosure: Camille, who is currently lending us a hand with our residency project for emerging Belgian artists Dusangneuf Osangsett, is one of the forces behind the idea. And yes, that too means we back in 100%. Vote here.
25. Pergolas Fontainas
Spearheaded by celebrated artist and architect Luc Schuiten, this idea consists in installing a steel structure covered by plants bang in the centre of Place Fontainas. Above and beyond the fact that it is an idea conceived and proposed by one of the city’s most radical, forward-thinkers in terms of architecture and urban planning, the initiative stands out for its simplicity and sheer beauty. People need to get behind this one. Vote here.
10 other projects we’d vote for
- Fashion, This is Brussels
A pop-up space for Brussels fashion. Vote for it here.
- La Plus Belle Ville du Monde
A quality certification label, a rallying cry for the city’s residents and retailers. Vote for it here.
Remote-controlled sail boats for all ages. Vote for it here.
- Leo not happy
Educate the youth on the importance of clean streets, and showing them how to do it.Vote for it here.
Communal gardens, slow food restaurant and “eat local” workshops. Vote for it here.
- World’s longest jam
Securing the world’s record for the longest-ever jam. Vote for it here.
- Roof gardens
Using the city’s many unused rooftops to install gardens. LOVE it. Vote for it here.
- Dignity Bus
Un mobile solution allowing the city’s homeless to take a shower and spruce up. Vote for it here.
- Nationa(a) talent hole
Putting Brussels talent to the fore. Vote for it here.
- Bains Catherine
An open air swimming pool on Place Sainte Catherine. Votes show the people want it, but there’s also strong opposition to it. A controversial one. Vote for it here.