In times when we are constantly shrinking places for public, for the common man and giving way to closed doors, high ending shops, malls and restaurants… this is something which will bring cheers to many of us. A move (literally) that really gives a food for thought on how can we make things better.
A new urban experience has been launched in the heart of Brussels in Belgium. The experiment consists of 70 modular, innovative tables that will regularly move this summer in different set-ups in 7 parks and public spaces of the European quarter of Brussels. The goal is to invite tourists, Europeans and Bruxellois to share a table for a drink, a lunch or a talk. The European canteen was officially opened in the Leopold park.
The urban experiment is a project of the non-profit association eQuama (European Quarter Area Management Association), developed with design agency Talking Things. The European quarter, often considered as a cold and mineral administrative zone, will enjoy public spaces that incorporate the notion of sharing, reflecting the diversity of the different actors of the district. Temporary interventions such as the European canteen can help to bring back urbanity to the European quarter.
The strategic role of eQuama in relation to public space should be seen as a laboratory: a European Quarter Lab’ for testing, experimenting new ways of using public space on a temporary basis. After an evaluation, the successful projects can be handed over to the competent authorities who can decide upon a long term implementation.
The urban furniture is more than just an innovative design that brings comfort in public space. The experimental element consists in playing with the options of testing several settings in the different public spaces. It could also contribute to more mixity by inviting residents of neighbouring areas, inhabitants from Brussels, tourists, employees etc.
The European canteen will rotate between different parks and squares of the European quarter (Square de Meeûs, Square Frère-Orban, Parc Léopold, Parc du Cinquantenaire, Place Jean Rey, the Schuman roundabout and the Esplanade in front of the European Parliament). Every place will host alternatively a “mama canteen” consisting of a large installation of 30 tables.