Rue des Sables

Bruegel, one of the major European think tanks, organized its annual conference on September 3 and 4. The place, the second floor of the Brussels Comic Strip Museum seemed unlikely … but it was only the result of my ignorance!

So much elegance and charm!

I thus discovered, in the heart of Brussels, rue des Sables, in a marvelous art nouveau building originally designed by Victor Horta in 1906 for the great fabric stores Vaucquez, an extraordinary place, a masterpiece of art nouveau .

In the mid-70s, and despite the classification of certain elements, the building was – as was told to me – in distress, victim of bad weather and vandalism.

In the 80s, at the initiative of the French Commission of Culture of the Brussels Agglomeration, the idea of ​​hosting the Comic Strip Center was born. Façades, roofs and glass roofs had been restored in order to stop the deterioration of the building, before the interior was remodeled, allowing the inauguration of the Center on October 6, 1989.

In the interest of a faithful reproduction of the spatial qualities of the building, the architectural elements characteristic of Victor Horta’s work – he really was the master of Brussels “art nouveau”  – had been restored, while transformations, contemporary but preserving the building’s rhythms, were brought to the building, adapting to his new assignment.

Now a major international museum, the Center houses a permanent exhibition that traces the history of comics and presents this art with a focus on different classical and contemporary authors.

It is currently hosting a temporary exhibition dedicated to Chinese comics, organized with the support of the Brussels-Capital Region and the Chinese Embassy in Belgium.

The round tables were held in the large room on the second floor. A place I repeat, elegant and full of charm, to reflect a little serenity on the future of our jostled Europe, in this so dangerous world.

With, in conclusion of the day, the dinner speech of Marghrete Vestage, European Commissioner for Competition, the one that would have inspired the main character of the television series “Borgen, a woman in power”. Speaking of our treaties “eminently political because based on values”.

Enough to start fighting again, as it is what European project is about now.


Iconography: a view of the first floor of the comic strip museum in Brussels and its temporary exhibition dedicated to Chinese comics, where the annual Bruegel conference was held on September 3rd and 4th © Daniel Fouss / Comics Art Museum


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