Ask around, and 2013 was definitely the year Belgium stood its ground on the international stage. From football (Kompany and co) to fashion (Pierre Debusschere shooting a video for Beyonce), the world finally woke up to the skills and genius coming out of the country. But what about the state of things at grassroots, street-level? Here, we highlight three new projects which did much more for Belgium than any Stromae radio hit ever could.
1. CLEON HIGH PERFORMANCE MARKERS
CLEON is a new make of high performance markers that takes its visual cues from some of the world’s most iconic subway systems to create a thematic collection of ink-fillers that could very well make its way to London’s Design Museum. The brainchild of local graffiti legend BYZ, the first trilogy includes Brussels (pictured), Madrid and Barcelona, with the next model – New York – set for release in about two months. Although this one’s sure to get the aspiring 16 year old graffiti writer in search of some street cred’ rushing to the store, we suspect architects, graphic designers and artists alike might also have one of these standing proud on their desks.Cleon high performance markers, 10 euros. Available from Montana Shop. cleon.eu
2. BELGIAN SOLUTIONS
Start documenting the absurdity of everyday Belgian living then publish your photographs on the internet. The idea catches on, and people start submitting their own observations of life “a la Belge.” The project grows, and grows, and results in a book. A well-designed and hilarious book, with one of the most beautifully simple covers we’ve seen in a while.Belgian Solutions, 20 euros Available from Peinture Fraiche, Plaizier & Sterling Books. belgiansolutions.be
3. THE SOUND OF BELGIUM
The movie that awoke the nation to its heavy historical baggage in the world of electronic music. The movie that finally cemented the country’s contribution to the world of electronic music. The movie that any and all self-respecting Belgian electronic music fans were all waiting for. The movie that, finally, set the record straight and made sure history was told the way it should be. With Belgium right on top.The Sound of Belgium DVD, 18,50 euros Available from Caroline Music. watch.tsob.be