When a city gets illuminated: Bright Brussels

7:25 pm | | Comments 17

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Brussels has got a many amazing things and Bright Brussels is one among them. European capital gets light up like no other place you would have seen anywhere. We in India have our own festival of lights- Diwali, but Bright Brussels is pure art. Its a magic, you can witness coming February. From 14 to 17 February, Bright Brussels will showcase the historic heart of Brussels. Large-scale lighting installations designed by national and international artists will draw all eyes to some of the capital city’s iconic venues. A new route of 14 illuminated artworks will illuminate the capital

Bright Brussels Festival of Light CHASING TWILIGHT (JJMA Р2018) Rue Léon Lepage РLéon Lepagestraat © visit.brussels РEric Danhier Р2018

For four days, the Quais and Sainte-Catherine districts will be a blaze of light with a dozen different sets of lighting installations and illuminated animations. The Bright Brussels Festival of Light is preparing to offer visitors and locals a unique opportunity to see or rediscover the richness and diversity of the districts of the centre of Brussels. Monumental installations will be taking over the heart of the capital and the route will be signposted by an illuminated perimeter.

Bright Brussels Festival of Light 160 (TETRO & TRAFIK – 2018) Vismet Square © visit.brussels – Eric Danhier – 2018

Several free guided tours will be available for visitors during the festival. There will be visits to the Vismet, Béguinage, Dansaert and Saint-Géry districts accompanied by a professional VIZIT guide to learn more about the various lighting installations.

Bright Brussels Festival of Light UNDERLIGHT (OCUBO – TELMO RIBEIRO – 2018) © visit.brussels – Eric Danhier – 2018

The 2018 edition of Bright Brussels Festival of Light was an enormous success and last year the festival attracted 120,000 visitors. This year, it would be even better. Bright Brussels puts the spotlight on city’s historical neighbourhoods by bringing a magical dimension to the city after nightfall. For this year’s edition special efforts are being made to improve mobility along the route to make it safer and more comfortable for visitors. Several streets in the centre will be made pedestrian for the occasion. This year is the 30th anniversary of the Brussels-Capital Region and the festivities will be kick off with Njörd’s installation on the emblematic Place du Vismet.

Bright Brussels Festival of Light UNDERLIGHT (OCUBO – TELMO RIBEIRO – 2018) © visit.brussels – Eric Danhier – 2018

Tetro (FR) – Njord

TETRO is to illuminate Vismet Square, creating a magical sanctuary in front of Saint Catherine’s Church with NJÖRD, created by We Come In Peace. A break in the tour will offer a chance to recapture the magic of winter and our wonderful childhood memories. NJÖRD is a lighting installation that depicts a ballet of feathers and light in a mysterious sanctuary. The ballet of feathers invites visitors to share in the delights and discover an instant piece of magic. This piece was selected by the Festival Jury to celebrate 30 years of the Brussels-Capital Region.

Venue: Place du Vismet (Quai au bois à brûler and Quai aux briques)

Bright Brussels Festival of Light UNDERLIGHT (OCUBO – TELMO RIBEIRO – 2018) © visit.brussels – Eric Danhier – 2018

Les Garages Numériques (BE) – Suite and Multiverse

The “Suite” installation is a 10 m wide vertical video screen with sound. It was created by the Brussels-based, artist Yannick Jacquet, who originates from the French-speaking part of Switzerland, based on music by Thomas Vaquié. Making continuous use of simple graphical elements, “Suite” unfolds in a series of slow, progressive evolutions. This contemplative work was inspired by some of the principles of repetition often used in minimalism and serial musical arrangements. Divided into 3 acts, MULTIVERSE tells the story of Boris 504 – a chimpanzee sent to the moon by the Soviet Union in 1969 and left trapped in space, never to return to Earth. From there, he explores the space-time continuum, navigating between several dimensions in the Universe.

Venue: Halles Saint-Gery

Bright Brussels Festival of Light FLOWER POWER (OCUBO – 2018) © visit.brussels – Eric Danhier – 2018

Pierre Debusschere, 254Forest (BE) – “Behind the scenes”

“Behind the scenes” is an interactive creation where visitors can discover film-making as it happens. Visitors can become actors performing under the lighting of the film-making machinery or be spectators watching the action unfold before their eyes. This physical and emotional journey reflects the light that crosses the cinema screen.

Venue: Place du Vieux Marché aux Grains

Bright Brussels Festival of Light STALACTITE (Cristopher Bauder – 2018) © visit.brussels – Eric Danhier – 2018

Ocubo (PT) – Light Connector

Light Connector is an interactive installation that allows the public to set off on a journey of the senses. The energy produced by the interactions between the individuals creates spectacular visual effects as it progressively builds up.

Venue: Place du Nouveau Marché aux Grains

Bright Brussels Festival of Light FLOWER POWER (OCUBO – 2018) © visit.brussels – Eric Danhier – 2018

Collectif Coin (FR) – Abstract

The passage of time is an illusion. Collectif Coin, a devotee of this subject, has devised a new performance-based device: Abstract, a 90 pixel matrix in which each pixel moves on its own vertical axis. Running in a 20 minute loop that combines light, sound and movement, the interpretation of Abstract is based on the concepts of relativity. At the start of the Abstract show, the artist Maxime Houot invites members of the public to let themselves to be transported on an inward journey and to confront this relativity.

Venue: Place du Vismet in (Quai aux Briques and Quai au Bois à Brûler)

Bright Brussels Festival of Light TRIPLE JET (PINBALL LIGHT DESIGN – 2018) © visit.brussels – Eric Danhier – 2018

Gilles Leempoels (BE) – Voxel

Voxel is a graphic style characterised by illustrating a subject using repeated volumes. This means of expression is rather like “pixel art” transposed into a three-dimensional world. Gilles Leempoels will be putting on a sound and light show on the theme of fish, drawing inspiration directly from a “voxel” graphic simulation. The concept depicts a hammerhead shark in pursuit of two small fish. Sounds, lights and a pop geek universe are intermingled in this production, which gets its inspiration from the 1980’s.

Venue: Place Sainte-Catherine

Bright Brussels Festival © Visit.Brussels – Eric Danhier

Studio Chevalvert (FR) – Rhythm

In Rhythm, the finger, and by extension the body, becomes a way of connecting to our biorhythm and to an interactive circular sculpture at the same time. Rhythm is an installation that displays the heartbeats of two people standing face to face, who are connected to a circular network of totems with interactive lighting. These layers of light “come to life” at the heart rate of the users. A compilation of interactive scenes unfolds and these then evolve as the users’ heartbeats synchronise, or do not.

Venue: Tour Noire

Bright Brussels Festival © Visit.Brussels – Eric Danhier

Ad Lib (FR) – Enluminures célestes

The theme of the scripted content is the change from black and white to colour and from the traditional to the modern. Over the years the world moves on and the universe changes… Unmoved by the passage of time, only the church in the Béguinage stands there like an unmoving witness observing the evolution of the city. This video mapping plays with the architectural features of the building and makes the whole even more immersive.

Venue: Place du Béguinage

Bright Brussels Festival © Visit.Brussels – Eric Danhier

Spectaculaires (FR) – Snow Glow

An artistic creation on the theme of “the faces of snowmen”, from which, at night-time, a host of reflections spring and plunge the visitors into a surreal atmosphere. These thousands of coloured points then dress‐up all of the façades.

Venue: Rue du Grand Hospice

Bright Brussels Festival © Visit.Brussels – Eric Danhier

Mandylight (AUS) – Cathedral of Light

This Cathedral of Light takes its inspiration from the traditional arched windows found in historic churches to create a long tunnel illuminated by tens of thousands of luminous LED globes. Just like a church, the installation transports the audience out of the darkness and guides it towards the metaphorical light. Once inside the “cathedral”, it becomes evident that the light does not just emanate from a single source but from thousands of small globes which together produce the brilliant light. The artist uses the analogy that, just like a community or a powerful congregation, the sculpture is made up of numerous small pieces, which work together to create a stronger and more unified sculpture.

Venues: The areas of Quai à la Chaux, Quai à la Houille, Quai au Bois de Construction and Quai aux Barques

Bright Brussels Festival Inauguration © Visit.Brussels – Eric Danhier

JJMA (BE) – Chromacity

The Chromacity installation offers spectators a total, immersive experience. Visitors to this installation are invited to take a stroll through this lighted piece and enter a universe of laser beams in a misty atmosphere. More than a light show, this artistic creation is interactive and linked to the movements of the visitors. Using the Chromacity installation, the artist enables you to discover the heart of Brussels in a new way and from a new perspective.

Satisfy your curiosity and allow yourself to be carried away! 

Venues: Rue du Pays de Liège and Rue du Nom de Jésus

Alongside this installation, JJMA will be illuminating the Saint Catherine’s Church and the Quai du Commerce/Handelskaai

Also read: Spring parties you should not miss in Brussels

Bright Brussels Festival © Visit.Brussels – Eric Danhier

Romain Tardy (FR) – Future Ruins

Future Ruins – Act II is a sound and light installation. The 15 LED modules that make up the device are designed as parts of an architectural feature that should have been dismantled but are still treated as technological objects, offering a temporal distance between two worlds, in which traces of the first are still visible, and asking about the hypothetical end of the other. These ephemeral modules therefore have a double life: as imaginary ruins from a place that is still in operation, they come to life in the darkness in an illuminated, poetic dialogue with the location in which they are installed.

Venue: KANAL – Centre Pompidou

Bright Brussels Festival © Visit.Brussels – Eric Danhier

Also read: Brussels gets brighter this winter.

P.S. All photos are from previous editions of Bright Brussels.

Have you witnessed a festival of light like this anywhere in the world? Please share your experiences with us in the comments section below!

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  1. A-M says:

    Amazingly beautiful pictures!

    1. swamiupendra says:

      Thanks a lot. They really look like so!

  2. Mahima Git says:

    It seems its a great place to visit. i like it.Amazing view and really looks like a paradise , will surely try for visiting this ,

    1. swamiupendra says:

      In a sense, it indeed is Mahima. Thanks a lot.

  3. arv! says:

    There’s something nice about Rishikesh!

    1. arv! says:

      Phew! I guess my comment went on a wrong page!

      1. swamiupendra says:

        No worries, it was well taken!

      2. arv! says:


      3. swamiupendra says:

        Thanks Arvind.

    2. swamiupendra says:

      Indeed Arvind, I enjoy that place.

      1. arv! says:

        It is similar in many ways to Pushkar and some parts of Goa

      2. swamiupendra says:

        Looks like so? Very interesting observation.

      3. arv! says:


      4. swamiupendra says:

        Great, thanks a lot.

      5. arv! says:


  4. PeterJ says:

    Have the people of Brussels entirely lost their reason? It appears so. Are they aware there’s a global ecological/energy crisis? Are they trying to hurry things along? I find this behaviour by a city authority disgraceful and utterly thoughtless.

    1. swamiupendra says:

      I certainly appreciate your concerns. They are real and valid. Hope they are taken care of.

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