The biannual Flower Carpet was on display in Grand Place this weekend, with an African theme. I hadn’t actually visited it before, so made my way to see it, before Rover opened up another fun night for the Brussels Summer Festival.
I was well and truly underwhelmed. My partner who is mad on flowers wasn’t even impressed. The carpet is made up of around 750 000 flower heads packed tightly onto plastic sheets. When temperatures rise they have to be watered. With temperatures pushing 40 degrees Celsius the battle to keep them fresh looking was being lost.
Like any other display laid out in Grand Place, the only way to take in the full scope is to climb up to a viewing platform. The official platform was the First Floor balcony of the Hotel de Ville. Cost 5 Euros. I gave that a miss and used the money to buy a beer to share with friends on the first floor of Paon Pauro also overlooking the square.
I didn’t enjoy the flower carpet. I just kept thinking about rotting flower heads, and the lines from the Funeral Service. I was also wondering what was the environmental impact of growing flowers just to kill them rapidly over a space of four days.
That is not to say you wouldn’t love the Flower Carpet. Perhaps I’ve been spoilt by all of the other breathtaking art and events that can be experienced in Brussels.
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Belgium cuisine has an excellent reputation. My own view is that it offers the quality of French cooking, without the stingy ‘Nouvelle Cuisine’ portions. In 2012, Brussels is celebrating its food with a series of events falling under the ‘Brusselicious’ umbrella.
Dining events included a meal in the sky which saw diners hoisted on an aerial platform to enjoy food prepared by Michelin Starred Chefs, with unrivalled views over the Belgian Capital. Many other tasty experiences still await gastronomes, the Tram Experience being one that caught my eye. A tram has been fitted out as a mobile restaurant to allow diners to sample delicious Belgian foods as they trundle between place Poelart and the tram museum and back, and enjoying the views as much as the food.
This post is about the accompanying art work that go with the Brusselicious. The five metre high sculptures come in five varieties: Brussels Sprout, Chocolate, Beer, mussels. and fries (frites). The idea is similar to the Cow Parades staged in other cities (in fact Brussels was host to a Cow Parade in 2003.
Local artists were asked to make a statement about Belgium using one of the five foods. The pieces were originally displayed at locations all around Brussels. Before realising that they were to be relocated to Parc Royale at the start of July, I went out on Villo! bikes to discover them all.
At least one makes an environmental statement, another was inspired by a Jacques Brel song, and another was influenced by Magritte. My favourite though is the cone of fries by Oli-B. I first saw one of his poster art pieces in my street in Brussels. Now he is mainstream as evidenced by his appearance in the Brusselicious art as well as making the cover of the August edition of ‘Agenda’.
Anyone wishing to visit the sculptures can find them all in Brussels Park Royale until 23 October 2012.