As soon as darkness fell yesterday evening i.e., 2 December, the European capital became a lot brighter and perhaps more beautiful. Until 5 February 2017, Bright Brussels Winter will illuminate the environs of Brussels’ small inner circle. Unusual and playful light works are installed for a sparkling outdoor exhibition across 12 emblematic places, such as Place Stéphanie, Place Poelaert, Place Rogier, Place du Luxembourg or Porte de Flandre. These giant installations illuminate the magical atmosphere of Brussels during this winter period.
While the sun becomes more and more distant in the final weeks of the year, Brussels allows a fairy-like and unusual atmosphere to envelop parts of the city. At the initiative of the Brussels Ministry of Mobility and Public Works, visit.brussels, with the support of the Brussels-Capital Region and Atrium, coordinates the installation of these large-scale works in the heart of the capital of Europe. A multi-faceted ball, 12-metre tall flowers, giant pocket torches are to be found, among many others… In addition to these works of art placed around the small inner circle, several imposing edifices are taking part in this enlightenment of the Region: the Belfius tower, the P&V tower and the ING Marnix building offer scintillating and colourful projections of light. Whether on foot, by bicycle, public transport or by car, passers by will be able to admire these illuminations.
“The Brussels Region is doing its bit to add some magic to the festive season with a number of stunning light installations all around Brussels. These temporary displays will be lighting up the capital thanks to the support of the government, which is always keen to promote the Region’s image. This beautiful sight will be a real treat for lots of tourists, young and old alike,” enthused Rudi Vervoort, Minister-President of the Brussels-Capital Region.
“The events of the last year have put Brussels in the news. Today, as we work to enhance the quality of our public spaces, we are investing in improving our Region’s image. The lights around the Small Ring and along the canal provide a great opportunity for locals and visitors to meet. During the darkest days of the year, we will be lighting up our city, and this year, we have decided to put Molenbeek under some welcome spotlights. We wanted to change the atmosphere after a year in which attention has been focused on this particular neighbourhood after the terrorist attacks,” explains Brussels Minister for Mobility and Public Works, Pascal Smet.
Didier Gosuin, Minister of Economy and Employment: “I am thrilled with the installation of these illuminations. They make the business centre of Brussels even more attractive for shoppers and tourists. From now on, visit.brussels is the only operator in charge of this work. Note also that an overall, regional “lighting” plan is being prepared for installation in several phases. It includes year-end lights, a lights festival and the illumination of works of art and edifices. The objective? Boost the image of Brussels and the business of our commercial centre.”
Here is a list of illuminated works and edifices to admire all along the Brussels inner circle.
Place Stéphanie: Tree of Light is a majestic Christmas tree ten metres tall made entirely of LED lights, bringing festivity to the magic of holiday lights.
Place Poelaert: Disco-Light is a giant mirror ball over 5 metres in diameter will take centre stage at the heart of the square, while a light show will cast shimmering light over the neighbouring buildings.
Porte de Namur: Pocket pays tribute to the old French torches (called “pocket lamps” in French). Reimagined on a massive scale, this giant torch plays with proportion, scale and size. Its modern touch can be seen when it lights up, revealing not only the traditional warm white light of torches, but also a kaleidoscope of joyful colours. It lights up the surrounding area with a beam that varies in intensity.
Place du Luxembourg et Square de Meeus: Pix-Light are 12 giant desk lamps bring a hint of fun to these everyday objects from the world of work. Located on the Place du Luxembourg and the Square du Meeus, these multicoloured objects will warm up the Brussels winter.
Rue Royale, Sapin P&V made up of 351 neon lights, an impressive Christmas tree 40 metres wide and 51 metres high lights up the facade of this tower, located along Rue Royale and the Botanical Garden, each and every day.
Boulevard du Jardin Botanique: Botasalon. The Boulevard du Jardin Botanique, an urban highway that can sometimes be a bit austere, was likely in need of warm lighting. This is where Bright Brussels Winter takes centre stage, transforming the boulevard into one long living-room with its warm lamp shades. More than two metres in diameter, these lamp shades exhibit tropical hues and exotic patterns – all that is needed to bring warmth to your heart during the cold winter months.
Place Rogier: Synergie is a lighting concept between the vertical and horizontal, between buildings and streets. It symbolises the crossing of lives that come together in the city. The project resolutely aims to be dynamic, graphical, and contemporary, in order to highlight the architectural aspects of what is being illuminated. It is an interaction of light between three places: the Belfius tower, an altogether imposing edifice that attracts the eyes of passers-by on the Place Rogier, and the strips on the edge of the boulevard. This new layout of the Place Rogier breathes life back into the Belfius tower, an emblem that casts red, purple, and white light, giving new purpose to the public spaces while opening up the passage toward the economic heart of Brussels via Rue Neuve and its shopping centres.
Place Sainctelette: L’Astera is a wild flower, a distant cousin of the thistle found in our countries and that easily reaches over twelve metres in height. An intriguing silvery plant with a bright glimmer during the day, at sunset it transforms into a mesmerizing creature, its heart erupting into a storm of coloured beams of light that illuminate its bristling structure. A night-flower with a curious form of photosynthesis, the Aster blooms at sunset, revealing its splendour as it flares up in a kaleidoscope of dazzling colours.
Quai des charbonnages: Fleur à Souffler is a creation, like a new plant species, that gets its inspiration from the grace and airiness of what some call the “fleur à souffler” (literally, “blow-flower”): the dandelion. The lights are 10 metres high and the flower is 5 metres in diameter. From its luminous calyx, fine, exquisite petals flow outward. The stem that bears the elegant corolla is gently inclined, as though trying to reach out with its flower toward the luminous eyes. Brought together in number, these lights make up a starry bouquet with a soft and warm glow. With two wooden benches just below, as though waiting for an audience, this luminous sculpture also transforms itself into street furniture, bringing a bit of poetry and the sensuality of nature to the urban landscape.
Porte de Flandre: The bridge of the Porte de Flandre is the physical tie between the affluent Rue Antoine Dansaert and the multicultural Chaussée de Gand. As such, it was important to celebrate this crossroads between two populations and the Brussels canal. First, the “Light Canal” is an installation made of four lines of LED lights crossing the water and spawning waves of light 15 metres in the air. In all, 360 coloured tubes bring cheer and festiveness to this liquid link between the city centre and Molenbeek. Then, the Chaussée de Gand also boasts festive lighting to mark the start of this shopping street. Finally, an artistic installation, overlooking the Porte de Flandre, will undoubtedly get spoken about. In order to reinvigorate the pride of the inhabitants and shopkeepers for their municipality, the letters of the name of Molenbeek are created in the same font as the famous Hollywood landmark. Topping a building at the corner of the Chaussée de Gand and the Canal, they will light up by night on certain occasions. This work was realized in collaboration with Frédéric Nicolay.
Place de la Bourse: Impulsion, playground lumineux! Giant see-saws, brimming with light and sound, is installed just at the foot of the Brussels Stock Exchange (La Bourse). Equipped with lights and speakers, the see-saws are activated by sitting down on either side, which triggers melodies that are accompanied by oscillating waves of light. This means that passers-by can produce fleeting, constantly changing original creations. Thanks to the use of architectural lines, their hypnotic sound will create an astonishing impression of depth that will light up the central boulevard. Playing with the notions of balance and imbalance, symmetry and asymmetry, tension and harmony, video projections will represent a visual experience. “Impulsion” is an urban feature that will constantly change with those who visit it. In the time it takes to ride a see-saw, visitors will become musicians playing a novel kind of instrument.
Trône: ING Marnix. An unusual “aurora brusselalis” electrifies the Marnix façade. A rare phenomenon, day and night in Brussels’ small loop “constellation”: bizarre magnetic, electric, and luminous. Finally, in collaboration with Atrium, the regional agency for commerce, the commercial neighbourhoods in the upper part of the city also share the spirit of Christmas with illuminated decorations of all types. They will brighten year-end shopping on the Boulevard de Waterloo, Avenue de la Toison d’Or, Avenue Louise, Chaussée de Charleroi, Place Stéphanie, Goulet Louise, rue Stas and rue Jourdan, as well as at the top of the Chaussée de Gand in Molenbeek.
Finally, in collaboration with Atrium, the regional agency for commerce, the commercial neighbourhoods in the upper part of the city also share the spirit of Christmas with illuminated decorations of all types. They will brighten year-end shopping on the Boulevard de Waterloo, Avenue de la Toison d’Or, Avenue Louise, Chaussée de Charleroi, Place Stéphanie, Goulet Louise, rue Stas and rue Jourdan, as well as at the top of the Chaussée de Gand in Molenbeek.
(For all photos in this post : Copyright Eric Danhier – visit.brussels)