A city mostly exists through the many different perceptions its inhabitants and everyday users have of it. Where you stand, what you do, how you live. All these are elements that will greatly influence your take on a city. Keen to explore this notion further, we thought we’d engage in a small exercise, calling upon some of Belgium’s leading creative and cultural imprints as well as a few of our readers to dispel their vision of the capital city in a page-perfect visual tribute to Brussels. From contemporary art institution and online radio to graphic design studio and independent magazine, this is how Creative Belgium sees Brussels.
These 25 visual tributes to Brussels were commissioned as part of the region’s 25th anniversary and were all published in our latest edition, The Fourth Quarter Edition which you can order here.
22tracks in an online platform dedicated to music discovery. Founded in Amsterdam, it counts HQs in London, Paris and Brussels, where their playlists are selected by a handful of local tastemakers. Its Brussels roaster includes Lefto, Nosedrip, Onda Sonora and Funky Bompa to name a few and their tribute to the city consists of 22 photographs taken by their 22 Belgian DJs.
Alice van den Abeele and Raphaël Cruyt opened Alice Gallery back in 2005 and quickly established their downtown outpost as a global player in the street art movement. With a knack for putting its finger on young emerging artists, the gallery also represents heavyweights such as Space Invader, Boris Tellegen or Stephen Powers.
Art Paper Editions is an independent publishing platform founded in 2010 by partners Jurgen Maelfeyt and Caroline De Malsche. The imprint focuses on the book as an exhibition space, as recently opened its own bookshop and gallery in Ghent where it is based. For its tribute, APE draws on a notoriously dark period in the city’s past. “The images used here reference a time when Le Jonathan, a members’ club in Brussels in the 80s, was the meeting point for extreme right politicians like Francis Dossogne and Jean Bultot. The stills are taken from a video showing them together with prostitutes. These parties were often referred to as ‘The pink ballets’,” explains Jurgen.
The Belgian art fair, which took place this year for the 32nd time, attracts about 30.000 visitors each year. Its new artistic director Katerina Gregos has blown quite some fresh wind into it, trying to break open the classic booth system and inviting alternative art spaces into the mix.
Since its beginnings in a little room in Uccle with nothing more than a few desks, a phone line and an insatiable enthusiasm, Base Design has come a long way. In the last two decades it has grown into one of Belgium’s most reputed and cutting-edge creative studios with offices in New York and Geneva and clients ranging from Brussels opera house La Monnaie to NYC’s Museum of Modern Art.
Belgian fashion house Bellerose, who launched with a first collection of men’s shirt in the summer of 1989, pays tribute to Brussels with a map of the city entirely made up of materials from its brand new collection.
Without a doubt one of the city’s most innovative restaurants, Bouchery was founded by couple Damien and Bénédicte, a prizewinning cook and actress respectively. Their cuisine is defined mostly by its use of locally-sourced, seasonal produce served in a stylish, minimalist way.
Founded more than 50 years ago, Bulo is one of Belgium’s foremost furniture makers. Based in Mechelen where everything it creates is produced, it has won numerous international prizes, most recently the Wallpaper Award for Best Domestic Design. Their tribute celebrates the Brussels World’s Fair, Expo 58.
Local DJ, event organiser and party promoter Lady Jane founded her legendary Brussels nights more than 10 years ago. A decade later, and with sister concept BlackOut as well as collaborations with ArtBrussels, La Cambre and Brussels Art Days under her belt, she continues to rule the city’s nightscape.
Founded in Brussels in 1829, Delvaux is the oldest luxury leather goods maker in the world and one of Belgium’s most beloved and renowned fashion houses. The imprint’s tribute to Brussels, titled “Brussels, you make me fall for you,” draws on the many different variations of materials used for its bags, from Alligator Noir Mat, Alligator Nude Blanchi and Autruche Noir to Lézard Téjus Nude and Lézard Noir Brillant.
FM Brussels is a radio station with a true passion for its city who celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. Asked to explain their tribute, they replied: “Brussels. We know what it sounds like. But we turned to young, up-and-coming Brussels photographer Nicolas Lefébure and asked him to show you what it looks like.”
The city’s most famous club, Fuse’s reputation as a hotbed of electronic music talent has since its early days transcended national borders, with weekend clubbers descending upon its floors from all corners of Europe. Ask any Brussels-raised under 40 and chances he or she has a Fuse-tale to tell.
Cinema Galeries, located in the city’s Royal Gallery Saint-Hubert, is dedicated to showcasing art house movies and promoting film in all its forms. For its tribute to Brussels, the cinema gave carte blanche to artist Amira Daoudi, whose work will be exhibited at Cinema Galeries in June 2015. The artwork is based on a number of movies shot in Brussels.
Hunting and Collecting
Hunting and Collecting is an international platform for fashion, culture and lifestyle, offering an evolving mix of cutting-edge designers in store and online. It is located in the heart of Brussels’ Dansaert-Chartreux district and was founded in 2010 by Niels Radtke and Aude Gribomont. For its tribute to the city, Hunting and Collecting hashtaged Brussels on their Instagram.
Disclaimer: If you object to the way your image was used in this visual exercise, please call us before contacting your lawyer as we have none.
For a nation born into fries, the absence of a Belgian-made Ketchup was becoming something of a national embarrassment. Luckily, and after two years of development, its one local sauce-maker Brussels Ketjep rectified. They’ve since gone on to add to their offerings, with a locally-made mayonnaise and legendary Dallas sauce now available too.
Lara Lancereau Jaulin
Lara just landed from France to give us a hand on our current projects. She’ll be around for six months but after barely a few weeks, she’s already well-versed in Belgicisms and decided to capture some of them on this page. At least that’s what she said.
Brussels-based music platform and creative agency LDBK is the brainchild of media consultant Julien Mourlon. First established in 2002 in Brussels as an FM radio show, it has since grown into an integrated platform using social media and various online channels to promote and share music and advising artists and organisations on their online presence. Its tribute is a music playlist made up of songs about Brussels.
Opened in March 2012, Pimpinelle is a space dedicated to the art of cooking. It sells kitchenware and cook books, organises exhibitions and workshops and also has a small lunch café. More community meeting place than straight-up shop, Pimpinelle’s one of a kind.
Face to Face Design
Brussels-based graphic designers Delphine Dupont and Flore Van Ryn joined forces in 2008 to launch graphic design studio Face to Face. With a client list that includes everyone from fashion imprint Rue Blanche to the Theatre de Namur, the studio’s style is defined by its good sense and good vibes.
Founded as a non-profit in 1997, Recyclart, housed in a former train station, is a multidisciplinary art center which hosts concerts, parties, exhibitions, lectures and more. This photograph by Esteban Miraflores was taken from the roof of the Tour des Pensions, once the city’s highest building. In its center you can see the so-called Jonction Nord-Midi, which penetrates the city and connects the Northern with the Southern part of the country. At the location where this infrastructure goes underground, you’ll find the Chapelle station and Recyclart. The Jonction Nord-Midi is in a way at the origin of the Recyclart project.
Les Halles De Schaerbeek
Les Halles de Schaerbeek is a magnificent venue housed in a metal and glass structure dating back to 1901 and located on the fringes of Schaerbeek and St. Jos. Describing itself as “open to contemporary hopes and upheavals spanning from the neighbourhood right out to the world at large,” its program includes concerts, plays, performances, conferences, talks and workshops.
A tribute to Brussels wouldn’t be complete without our readers’ vision. Here, photographer Stephanie De Smedt – born in 1989, the year the region was created – describes her impressions when first moving to the city as a student. In the typical broken English that is so common on the city’s street.
Subbacultcha! is an independent music and culture platform that publishes a free monthly magazine. Its membership system grants members free access to concerts as well as exhibitions throughout the country.
Walt Van Beek
Walt Van Beek is a visual artist based in Brussels. Together with Tom Mares he designed this year’s scenography for local art fair Art Brussels.
The arrival of contemporary art center Wiels in Brussels has been an incredible motor for the local art scene and done a great deal to put the Belgian capital on the map internationally.