Poelvoorde - Logements sociaux

J'adore!!! Sorry .... it's in French with no subtitles (I couldn't find another version). However, the name of the film, in English, is "MAN BITES DOG", in case you haven't seen it. Starring Belgian actor and comedian Benoit Poelvoorde, who also wrote and directed it, in this little clip he describes his frustration with the lack of aesthetic in these urban developments and comments on the social, emotional, practical and aesthetic impact they have on the people who live there. It is a pseudo-documentary, a comedy, a reflection on life in Belgium, a sarcastic little gem ... not for everyone: it is violent and can be offensive to a lot of people because eventhough it is humor, he is basically saying what so many people (sadly, naively or sometimes brilliantly) think ...

D-Tours - Sound Walks

For a small fee, artist Valéry Lippens' original "sound walks" are an engaging way to see & hear the "real" Brussels. These narrated tours of public and sometimes private places offer interviews with residents, shopkeepers, and cultural figures, such as the Belgian jazz musician Toots Thielemans. The best little segment in English is about the walks in the historic Marolles and in the ancient city center around the Grand Place. The name of the website is D*Tours.

London, Paris, Barcelona and Ahmedabad, Gujarat (India) are also available. The list is slowly growing so check back on a regular basis ... and who knows, one day you might just get to discover your own town in a whole new way.

More at http://www.d-tours.org/eng/Pages/dtours.html

This post by via http://www.concierge.com/cntraveler/articles/10382?pageNumber=8

Raphael Charles - a few favorites

Loving the work of artist & designer Raphael Charles. He works and resides in Brussels. Below are just a few of my favorite pieces ... for more examples of his work; hop on to his stunning minimalist website.

[Above] RUG 2008

20/30 refers to a standard caliber of coal. The idea of a rug imposed itself naturally just like a bag of nuggets strewn on the floor. This surface offers a sensory upheaval by confronting what is commonly known and what is perceived in reality. This intriguing piece borders between design and plastic intervention with a touch of irony while raising essential questions for our future.

Dimensions: diameter: 240cm, thickness: variable
Materials: PE foam and felt.

[Above] Les Cheminees - VASES 2006

The vases are made of 35mm film .Taking advantage of a material resisting to mechanical constraint, the vases are formed in an easy, almost childlike manner. The result each time gives a unique piece depending on the random superposing of the film when stretched. Although handmade, the vase are however, of a quality and finish very close to an industrial production.

Dimensions: S/M/L/XL/XXL from 20 to 40cm
Materials: polyester (35mm film) pu resin

[Above] Light Strate - LIGHT 2005-2006

This wall lamp, looking like a sculpture shows itself off by diffusing a soothing lighting thanks to the layers obtained during its production process : a piece of foam is rolled onto itself, shaped and then rubber-coated.

Materials: polyethylene foam, aluminum, rubber, E 27 60W bulb
Dimensions : 60, 110 et 140 cm.

More at http://www.raphaelcharles.com/

Sculp(IT) Live/Work

Silvia Mertens and Pieter Peerlings of the Belgian architecture studio Sculp(IT) designed a building for living and working between two existing buildings. In fact, it was made in a 2,4m by 5,5m gap. It is a home for two that is nothing more than a steel frame with double wooden floors. The building has 3 floors (60m2): downstairs is for working, the first floor is for eating and cooking, the second for relaxing and the upper floor is a bedroom/bathroom area. The roof, of course, has a bath tub built in. Once the construction was completed, the staircase was put in place in one piece. The building has some symbolism in it as well – the street used to be a prostitution area of Antwerpen. I do have a slight problem with the bathroom, especially the toilet, but the house is tailored for the couple and is therefore perfect.

Panamarenko quits to make coffee ?!?!

Panamarenko (Antwerp, 1940) is an exceptional and unclassifiable figure in contemporary art, who has been described as 'one of the great creators of the end of the century'. Artist, Engineer, Poet, Physicist, Inventor and Visionary, and has for thirty years pursued a singular course of exploration of space, movement, flight, energy and the force of gravity. His work, fusing artistic and technological experiment, takes many forms: Aeroplanes, flying carpets, cars, flying saucers, submarines and birds. Spectacular structures of strange beauty, both playful and inspiring.

This post from Ine Dehandschutter via http://www.behive.be/art/artists/

Frustrated Belgian aircraft designer and artist quits the art field to take up coffee making: 'Panamajumbo'.

"Panamarenko's experimental flying machines modeled on the motion of birds, insects, and human craft have been greeted with wonder and acclaim since the 1960s. In his exploration of the potentially fertile relationships linking technology and nature, Panamarenko considers issues of imagination as well as function.

Since the mid-1960s, he has invented flying machines that combine primitive forms with technologically sophisticated materials in his search to resolve practical mechanical problems as well as to probe metaphysical dilemmas. In addition to building and testing speculative models, Panamarenko has developed singular theories on the nature of closed systems, electromagnetism, and the relationship between inertia and mass."

The name Panamarenko is supposedly an acronym for Pan American Airlines and Company. In 2005 he retired from art to promote his own coffee-brand, PanamaJumbo.

This post from http://meinekleinefabrik.blogspot.com/2007/02/frustrated-belgian-aircraft-designer.html

Daniel Ost - Floral Artist

Daniel Ost, born in Sint-Niklaas, Belgium in 1955, has been one of the world’s most highly regarded ‘florists’ since the 1980s.

The extraordinary creativity of his works justifies his being described as a floral artist. His arrangements consist of flowers, but also leaves, branches and fruits, which interact with the environment, whether a mist-covered pond, a contemporary object or a historic house. Daniel Ost crosses the world from west to east, taking the care to capture permanently on film these unique moments characterizing each of his creations.

Even though Daniel Ost’s gardens are to date seen as all too rare interludes in his work, they have already captured people’s imagination. There has been many publications featuring the best-known of these gardens, which are located in Belgium.

Faced with the ephemeral in his ‘plant expressions’, Daniel Ost establishes through gardens a new relationship with plants and nature, that of a living and evolutionary work. Conceived as a dialogue between architecture and the organic, his gardens do not seek to be an additional offshoot of the buildings or a structuring of the outside area. Right from the design stage, they reflect his intentions: to fit the building and its exterior into their environment by working on the plant species in the immediate vicinity, in the form of plant mannerism.

More at http://www.danielost.be/

This post from Ine Dehandschutter http://www.behive.be/art/2007/05/daniel_ost.html

Laurent Fontainas - Jewelry

Laurent Fontainas is one of those people you meet and you immediately feel his passion for the work. Having been lucky enough to have visited his 'atelier' in Brussels, it was inspiring to see the evolution of a single piece and the patience it took to realize each piece as he envisioned it. From the wax molds to the finish product, his jewelry is very austere and beautiful at the same time.

Though I've held on to his card until now ... his website doesn't seem to be active at this time - however - check back in regularly, just in case you can see more of his work!

He lives and works in Brussels.

Pierre Culot - Master Potter

Belgian born Pierre Culot is a master potter! Born in 1938, he started his formation at the age of 16, which included apprenticeships with mentors in the art of ceramics such as Anglo-Japanese master potter Bernard Leach, and Japanese master potter Shoji Hamada. Having traveled to India and Africa (Congo, Rwanda-Burundi), assimilating traditional pottery and architecture, Pierre Culot eventually opened his own studio, in Brussels, in 1961. He started showing his work in various shows and exibitions all around Europe, since 1962.

More at http://www.pierreculot.com/

Van Der Kelen Logelain - School

If you've ever considered learning how to paint Faux-Finishes and other Trompe L'oeil techniques - the old fahion-way, Institut Supérieur de Peinture Décorative Van Der Kelen Logelain is a 6 months (44 hours a week + homework) program that is extremely intense but well worth the time and money. In the traning, you will learn how paint wood graining such as Pitch pin - pitch pin moiré - peuplier - acajou du Congo - acajou lisse - acajou femelle - acajou gerbé - noyer - racine de noyer - limba - érable (jaune et gris) - loupe d'orme - orme de fil - merisier - chêne ronce - chêne cérusé - mailles de chêne - parquet de chêne - bois de rose - teck - cèdre - citronnier - ébène de Macassar - palissandre - acajou sapelli - acajou moucheté - thuya - sycomore.

Marbling imitation such as Portor - grand antique - jaune fleuri - bleu fleuri - jaune de Sienne - paonazzo - onyx jaune d'Algérie - onyx vert du Brésil - griotte d'Italié - Labrador - Sarrancolin - brèche violette - rosé du Portugal - escalette - rouge de Vérone - cipolin - blanc veiné - bleu turquin - vert antique - Languedoc - Cerfontaine - pierre de France - Comblanchien - Ste. Anne - vert campan - vert de mer - granit de Norvège - Levanto - Napoléon - Skyros - noir de Belgique.

Semi-precious Stones, Artificial moldings, Drawing lessons: the perspectives, Decorative Panels : Friezes - Classical ceilings – panoramic, Patinas, Gilding and silvering, Study of the stencil, Technology of painting, Trompe l'oeil, Advertising lettering, etc ...

The program is offered once a year.

More at http://www.vanderkelen.com/

Wittamer - Chocolates & Pastries

Maybe I'm in the mood for truly artisan chocolate, which is appropriate since I'll be in Brussels in a few days ... so I HAD to mention Wittamer which has been a staple of Brussels life since 1910. When going to someone's house for lunch, dinner or a week-end stay; it is custom to bring the host(ess) some type of chocolate or flowers. Making luxurious patisseries, cakes, ice cream and chocolates, Wittamer now has an online boutique which sells some of their most successful (and shippable) items. As of now, their site is in French and Flemish, but if you've shopped on the web before ... you could navigate their site easily just by following the icons.

More at http://www.wittamer.com/fr/index.php