A NEW FACE AT WORK LIèGE DESIGN BIENNALE
TAKING OFF CHARLEROI AEROPOLE
Wallonia’s champion cheesemakers
Editor Sarah Crew Deputy editor Sally Tipper Reporters Marie Dumont, Stephanie Duval, Andy Furniere, Ed Morrison Art director Paul Van Dooren Managing director Hans De Loore AWEX/WBI and Ackroyd Publications Philippe Suinen – AWEX/WBI Marie-Catherine Duchêne AWEX, Place Sainctelette 2 1080 Brussels, Belgium Tel: 00.32(0)2.421.85.76 Fax: 00.32(0)2.421.83.93 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cover Design Liège director Giovanna Massoni
Design City The buzz word in design today is connection: an object needs to be present in our daily lives and also tell a story. In the garden shower pictured above, Danny Venlet reveals his Australian childhood, a freewheeling laidback spirit that infuses all his work. The Brussels-based designer’s playful object is one of 60 designs whittled down from 400 proposals for the Memorabilia exhibition at Liège’s design biennale. Renamed Reciprocity to reinforce the notion of connectivity by new director Giovanna Massoni (featured on our cover), the event links with the local community, school kids and the international design world. With connectivity the key theme to the ardent city’s bid to host 2017’s international Expo, there is no better time to redefine Liège’s flagship design event and further propel Wallonia and Brussels on to the global map. WWW.DESIGNLIEGE.BE
wallonia and brussels magazine AUTUMN 2012
04 THE BIG PICTURE Namur rolls out the red carpet
Headlines from the region
Colingua’s translators spread the word
On the ball with Keemotion
12 PROFILE OF A CITY A portrait of Charleroi
Sirris shapes the future of prototypes
Design Liège – new name, new direction
20 HOME AND ABROAD Two successful expat chefs
The best of the region’s cheese
Dinh Van’s very special effects
28 DESIGN coCreationcamp founder Alok Nandi
l’air du temps sang hoon degeimbre
Autumn festivals, music and art
wallonia and brussels magazine AUTUMN 2012
THE BIG PICTURE
It takes two
wallonia and brussels magazine AUTUMN 2012
ango Libre opened the 27th edition of the International Francophone Film festival (FIFF) in Namur to critical and public acclaim. Directed by Brussels-born Frédéric Fonteyne, the film completes the trilogy focused on women and love following Une liaison pornographique and La Femme de Gilles. Fonteyne’s fourth feature was awarded the Special Orizzonti Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival in September. Argentinean tango is the backdrop to this beautifully acted drama, the story of a prison guard, two inmates and Alice, the woman they all desire, played mesmerizingly by Anne Paulicevich, who shares credit for adaptation and the excellent dialogue with Philippe Blasband. The increasingly tangled web of relationships advances to its climatic end to the cadence of this sultry dance. Tango Libre goes on general release in Belgium on November 7. FIFF’s annual celebration of Frenchlanguage cinema from around the world is a premier platform for francophone film-making. With 160 films, international competitions, a spotlight on Belgian films and stellar guests from the silver screen, it lives up to its reputation as Wallonia’s eminent movie extravaganza.
wallonia and brussels magazine AUTUMN 2012
Colsaerts helps Europe to Ryder Cup triumph In one of the most remarkable comebacks in the history of golf’s most prestigious tournament, Europe narrowly defeated their American rivals at Medinah Country Club in Chicago. Rookie Nicolas Colsaerts tweeted to his thousands of followers that it was “the most amazing week of my life”.
The 29-year-old from Brussels produced the finest opening round by a rookie in European Ryder Cup play when he almost singlehandedly beat Americans Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker. But the home side took the lead and maintained it until the final day of the 39th competition, on September 30. Colsaerts was unable to repeat his remarkable opening performance but his team under captain José María Olazábal pulled off what is now known as the Miracle of Medinah as Europe won by the narrowest of margins: 14.5-13.5.
Charleroi airport valued at €520m The company that manages Charleroi airport, BSCA, has been valued at €300 million plus €220 million for its investments in infrastructure, according to a study by BNP Paribas bank. The bank based its figures on past, present and predicted future results. It has taken into account the airport’s development plans until 2024, when BNP forecasts that 14 million passengers will use the airport, as well as expected growth in the European and global aviation market. But, it said, to achieve this growth, the airport, currently at saturation point, would need continual investment. An extension to the terminal and parking for additional aircraft is already planned, and car parks have been extended. The airport, which specialises in lowcost flights, is forecast to attract a record 6.4 million passengers by the end of the year, up from 5.9 million last year.
Colsaerts has risen from the country’s small but tight-knit golfing community: with an Olympian great-grandfather and a top-level hockey-playing father, it was not surprising that he became an athlete, but it was less predictable that he would turn out to be a prodigious golfer, turning professional on his 18th birthday. His career stumbled in his mid-20s, but since 2009 he has re-emerged as one of Europe’s top players.
Francophone film chosen for Oscars
The film was inspired by the case of Geneviève Lhermitte, who killed her five children in Nivelles in 2007. It was produced in Belgium by Versus Production, in co-production with Prime Time. The Oscar academy will announce on January 15 its shortlist of films for the 85th ceremony, due to take place in Hollywood on February 24.
wallonia and brussels magazine Autumn 2012
The French-language film A perdre la raison (Our Children) has been selected to represent Belgium at the Oscars. The drama, directed by Brussels-born Joachim Lafosse, is entered in the Best Foreign Language Film category. It stars Hainaut-born actress Emilie Dequenne, who won the Best Actress award at the Cannes film festival in May. The film was chosen by a national committee of film professionals who said they were “seduced by the quality of the direction, the strength of the subject matter, the precision of the writing and the quality of the actors, all remarkable in their performances”.
Pharma company opens Braine l’Alleud plant Brussels-based pharmaceutical giant UCB has opened a pilot biotechnology plant at its Braine l’Alleud site, in Brabant Walloon. The €65 million investment, supported by the Walloon Region, is the culmination of an expansion project launched in 2004. The 5,000m2 facility contains four multiple fermentation reactors and employs about 100 people. It provides a link between the company’s research needs and industrial production of medicines. UCB specialises in the treatment of people with severe diseases of the immune system and central nervous system.
New-look Liège Royal Theatre unveiled Liège’s renovated Théâtre Royal reopened on September 19 with a world premiere of the opera Stradella by Liège-born César Franck in the presence of Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde. It was performed by the Royal Opera of Wallonia and directed by Jaco Van Dormael, and was a first staging for the work written in the composer’s youth. It was also the first opera for the Belgian film director, famous for his features Toto le Héros and Mr Nobody. In addition to the detailed restoration of period features, the opera house was extended to enlarge the stage and create a rehearsal room and reception area. A new contemporary wing, painted in white and covered with aluminium strips, is a striking addition to the listed Neoclassical building, which also provides a panoramic view of the historic heart of the city.
CEO Roch Doliveux said that by reinforcing its presence in biotechnology, UCB was equipping itself for the future. “Braine l’Alleud is at the heart of UCB’s innovation strategy. In 2011 UCB was the largest Belgian investor in research and development across all industries. The proactive policy followed by Belgium and its regions to stimulate pharmaceutical activity, coupled with the presence of a highly skilled workforce, is creating a favourable climate for such investments.” The plant was officially opened by Doliveux and Jean-Claude Marcourt, the Walloon minister for the economy.
The early 19th-century building was closed for more than three years during the renovation project, which cost €30 million. Half the investment was provided by the European Regional Development Fund, 40 percent by the Walloon Region and 10 percent by the City of Liège. The Royal Opera of Wallonia is the theatre’s resident company. www.operaliege.be
Creche opens at Liège-Guillemins station A pilot childcare project has been launched at Liège’s railway station, a first in Europe. An initial 25 beds have been made available, principally for the children of commuters and secondly for station staff. Locals in the Guillemins area have also been given priority to use Les Petits Voyageurs, which is open from 6.15 until 19.00. The creche, in the ‘Kiss & Ride’ zone, is already full, and an extension would be necessary to increase the number of beds. The creche is a result of a partnership between the City of Liège, the Office de la Naissance et de l’Enfance and SNCB Holding. A similar project is being considered at Charleroi.
wallonia and brussels magazine Autumn 2012
Choosing the right words Translation company Colingua is working with the LiĂ¨ge Expo 2017 bid and its high-profile clients include the Tour de France and jewellery chain Tiffany & Co. By Andy Furniere
Colingua founder Joachim Colaris
wallonia and brussels magazine AUTUMN 2012
oachim Colaris is a busy man. The founder and project manager of translation company Colingua is preparing to lead the interpreting at a conference for the Lions Club in Brussels. At the same time, his team is active at conferences in La Hulpe, Brussels, and in Nancy, France. And in a few weeks’ time, Colingua will be covering the final opportunity to convince representatives of 160 countries that their vote for the host city of the International Expo in 2017 should go to Liège.
With only three senior partners, Colingua may seem like a small firm, but in addition to its Liège headquarters, it also has an office in Brussels. Its network of around 50 interpreters and translators means it can offer services in almost all European languages, and through close partnerships with other companies it can work for clients all over the world. It provides written translations and specialises in simultaneous interpreting at large conferences, seminars and meetings. The team also offers guided interpreting for smaller groups, for example at museums. You can even call in Colingua for ‘liaison interpreting’ and ‘whispering’. Colaris is quick to translate these technical terms: “Liaison interpreting means we translate for two parties of two or three people. French or German MPs often ask us to interpret when they lobby at the European Commission. Sometimes we also ‘whisper’ translations in a client’s ear at conferences, when the organiser doesn’t provide interpreting services.” Interpreters translate body language as well, Colaris explains. “Speakers, especially Italians, use their hands a lot to emphasise a point. You have to convey the same message by adjusting the tone of your voice; it’s very delicate work.” Interpreters also need considerable background knowledge. For example, Colaris had to study specific religious terms to interpret during the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton
last year. Other challenges include communicating via technology, such as video conferences with poor sound quality and unstable internet connections. Colingua recently covered the Belgian presidency of the Council of the European Union, a milestone for the company. The prestigious assignment posed a serious challenge. “We really had to push ourselves to the limit, but we succeeded in delivering a high quality service during the full six months,” says Colaris.
Choosing the right words for Colingua this year 2012 The team has had the honour – and the responsibility – of providing the translation services for Liège’s bid to host the International Expo in 2017. Colingua translates all the communication into European languages, as well as Russian, Chinese, Korean and Arabic. At a crucial meeting in November with representatives from 160 countries, Colingua will translate the speeches that have to convince them to vote for Liège. Also in its home town, Colingua cherishes its special partnership with Nomacorc, a manufacturer of synthetic corks. Cooperating since 2000 when both companies were set up, the two have been growing together in stature and in reputation. Today, Nomacorc’s products are the most widely used alternative wine closures in the world. Colingua translators work for a diverse group of clients, such as multinationals,
institutions, NGOs and the press. But they have two specialised branches: cultural exhibitions and sport. Topping their resume for the former are the Golden Sixties and SOS Planet exhibitions, both in Liège’s Guillemins railway station. Cycling is an important part of Colaris’s life – he’s a passionate cyclist and coorganiser of the Romsée-StavelotRomsée race. This summer, for the seventh year in a row, Colingua managed the translation at the Tour de France. This edition was particularly special for the company, as the Tour started with a prologue in Liège. Colingua has a close relationship with the organiser of the Tour de France, Amaury Sport Organisation. The team works on most of its cycling events, such as Dauphiné, Paris-Nice, Paris-Tours, Paris-Roubaix and the Walloon classics Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Flèche Wallonne. Colingua also translates for golf’s French Open, the Paris Marathon and the Dakar Rally. Why does the French giant prefer the services of the Walloon company? Colaris says, “Seven years ago, we stood in for their previous partner, which had cancelled only two weeks before the start of the Tour. We succeeded in preparing ourselves in record time and have never disappointed them.” Colingua is now also targeting the football and motorsport sectors. In his youth, Colaris often had contact with Americans via his family, and he studied in the US for a year. His fascination with the country extends to his professional life, and he says his career highlight was translating President Obama’s inaugural speech live on television four years ago. “I felt part of history,” he says. His knowledge of American culture has also earned Colingua assignments for the New York headquarters and the Paris branch of iconic jewellery chain Tiffany & Co.
www.colingua.be wallonia and brussels magazine AUTUMN 2012
Slam dunk A spin-off from the Catholic University of Louvain is the rising star in the world of sports video production with visionary technology for coaches and fans By Andy Furniere
Pitchside with Keemotion’s Georges Caron
Our system seemed like science fiction to them georges caron 10
wallonia and brussels magazine aUTUMN 2012
eemotion, a new spin-off from the Catholic University of Louvain (UCL), is scoring big points with its unique sports video technology. With just three small cameras, the Keemotion team can deliver enriched videos in real time with all relevant information on a game ready to be used by both coaches and fans. Focusing first on basketball, they have successfully tested their devices in the Spiroudome arena of multiple Belgian champions Spirou Charleroi and are gaining a foothold in the Mecca of basketball: the United States.
technological knowledge of Damien Delannay, doctor in engineering and researcher at UCL, was and remains influential in the development of the core technology used in Keemotion’s products – named Keecore.
The revolutionary technology is the result of a love affair between a scientist and sports. Christophe De Vleeschouwer, who developed the original mathematical concept with support from the EU, is not only a professor at UCL but also an enthusiastic basketball fan and former amateur player. When in 2009 he met Georges Caron, a man at home in the telecommunications industry, the design of a commercial product was started. The scientific and
Three investors quickly saw the potential: the Walloon region, the Vives investment fund and investment company Nivelinvest. The Walloon region invested €450,000, while Vives and Nivelinvest contributed €500,000 each. The founders also invested €50,000, bringing the total budget to €1.5 million. Sopartec, a company that helps to transfer the technology to the market, offers important support in creating the commercial products.
Georges Caron, now CEO of the Keemotion team, clarifies that the beginnings of Keemotion also partly lie in the US: “With our crude ideas in mind, I visited a prestigious sports product fair in Las Vegas. There, I realised that no one yet had come up with the solutions for enriched sports videos that we had.”
The current flagship product of Keemotion is Keecoach, technology that provides coaches with immediate access to all the key facts about the game and players on a mobile device such as a tablet or a smartphone. “With simple selections, coaches can instantaneously retrieve, for example, the number of three-pointers a certain player has scored and missed,” explains Caron. “They can easily use it during games or training to correct situations, and also afterwards, to review particular game actions and follow players’ performances over time.” To increase their chances of winning, basketball clubs don’t have to hire an expensive production team with cameramen. Two Keemotion employees install in four hours the three small cameras, and an internet connection if necessary. This package assures realtime access to the video production of the event, without human intervention. The images are of high definition quality. This technology for automated production is also used for Keecast, the production of video streaming for television and internet viewers. Although Caron admits this production has its limitations, the advantage is that it’s much cheaper. “The input of a cameraman remains valuable, because he can respond to the actions of the crowd, for example. On the other hand, our Keecast technology lowers the cost of a production by twenty-five percent. It’s an ideal tool to stream matches in lower divisions.”
Keemotion is now preparing new dynamic video features: Keeweb and Keemobile. These will make it possible for fans to find game plays and highlights through a search engine; for example, a particular player’s most spectacular dunks. The streaming will be accessible online or via a mobile device, and viewers can add comments through links with Facebook and Twitter.
Keecast lowers the cost of a production by 25%
time to present its finished products. Harvard University’s basketball team has bought the technology, while there are close contacts with an NBA team: the San Antonio Spurs from Texas. In France, Keemotion sealed a deal with the club of Antibes. Caron is also targeting the Spanish market in the near future. “Our goal is to equip at least twenty sports fields in Europe and the US next year,” he declares. Although the focus remains on basketball, Keemotion is looking to other sports, with conquering the football market as the next aim. Club Brugge, the runner-up in last year’s Belgian championship, is an influential first client. Other sport sectors with promising prospects are handball, tennis and volleyball.
When it comes to reliability and userfriendliness, Keecoach has passed the test with flying colours, as it was used last season by the coaches of multiple Belgian basketball champions Spirou Charleroi. Keemotion had to overcome some scepticism. “They first thought that our system without expensive material and camera teams was too good to be true,” says Caron. “It seemed like science fiction to them.”
In brief Established: March 2012 Headquarters: Louvain-la-Neuve Product: automated and enriched sports video production Team members: seven Budget: €1.5 million
After convincing the Walloon team, Keemotion went back to the US, this
wallonia and brussels magazine aUTUMN 2012
PROFILE OF A CITY IGRETEC
Charleroi reborn Innovation, investment and local determination are all part of Charleroi’s economic recovery By Sarah Crew
N We can be proud of what we have achieved and we can now seriously start to attract Belgian scientists working abroad, back to Belgium Dominique Demonte
wallonia and brussels magazine AUTUMN 2012
o city in Wallonia has been so crushed by industrial decline as Charleroi. The once prosperous economy of the central region crumbled with the postwar loss of the coal and steel industries. But economically, socially and culturally, Wallonia is becoming another country. And nowhere is this more evident than in Charleroi, where a meticulous strategy of investment and development has resulted in booming business and science parks.
The Aeropole is one of Wallonia’s most successful science parks and business incubators. It was set up nearly 20 years ago to steer the region’s economy in a new direction. Kickstarted by regional European funding in 1997, four initial areas of activity were targeted – biotechnological, aeronautical, graphic and information, communication and technology, says Eric De Clercq, who heads the Charleroi office of Wallonia’s Foreign Trade and Investment Agency, AWEX.
Charleroi Aeropole, as the name suggests, is alongside Brussels South Charleroi Airport, Belgium’s secondlargest airport and a flourishing lowcost hub. It is a key base for Ryanair, with almost 100 destinations, and has been named by passengers as the world’s third-best low-cost airport behind England’s Stansted and Luton. With a record number of passengers forecast for this year (6.4 million), the airport is busy expanding to cope with further predicted increases in traffic.
Biopark, encompassing the biotechnology sector, was created by moving academic research from the Brussels Free University to Charleroi at the end of the 1990s, explains De Clercq. The first research institute was the trailblazing Institute of Biology and Molecular Medicine (IBMM). More institutes followed, including the Institute for Medical Immunology (IMI) and more recently the Centre for Microscopy and Molecular Imaging (CMMI). They have resulted in some
15 spinoff companies and have helped Charleroi become Wallonia’s premier biotechnology region. The Biopark has around 600 employees and comes under the Wallonia competivity cluster BioWin. Pioneering research into immunology functional imaging is among the many fields of excellence on an international level. For Biopark director Dominique Demonte, “the strength of the centre is in its long tradition of collaboration between universities and private and public partners, combined with integrated training programmes”. As a Carolo himself, Demonte’s job satisfaction and motivation comes from the Biopark’s potential in the global science world. “We can be proud of what we have achieved and we can now seriously start to attract Belgian scientists working abroad, back to Belgium,” he adds. Another competitive cluster, SkyWin, encompasses aeronautical activity spearheaded by Sabca and Sonaca. The Sonaca group is a world leader in the design and production of aircraft structures and has partnerships with major manufacturers including Airbus. Sabca designs and makes metallic structures and flight control systems for aircraft and space launchers. The final assembly, repair and upgrade are carried out in Charleroi. Providing commercial aviation training in the aeronautics sector is Wallonie Aerotraining Network (WAN). Two other noteworthy players are Thales Alenia Space, involved in the Ariane rocket programmes, and Alstom Transport, a world leader in transport infrastructure and train signalling. Building on Charleroi’s history as the birthplace of many of Belgium’s most colourful comic-strip characters, the third sector is the graphic industry. Dreamwall is one example, an animation and graphic design company and subsidiary of the Dupuis publishing empire (responsible for Cédric and Spirou et Fantasio and celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2013). Another is Europrinter, a Spanish company that prints major news titles for the northern
European market, including The Times and Daily Telegraph.
“They are more and more reliant on each other.”
Hainaut is the internet backbone of Wallonia, and the presence of so many ICT companies has transformed the region into the area’s own Silicon Valley. Gateway Communications specialises in telecommunications to Africa, Belgian mobile operators such as Mobistar are based here, and Technofutur TIC organises training programmes.
While the Aeropole is almost full, adjacent land is being prepared for expansion in a sustainable way. One of the area’s strongest selling points is its geographical situation. As well as the airport, it has a multimodal waterway system and excellent motorway and rail connections serving Luxembourg, France and Germany in particular. Foreign companies such as Johnson & Johnson have decided to locate two of their European distribution centres in this area.
The close link between the airport and the Aeropole should also not be underestimated Marc Arno
Many telecoms companies specialise in training, explains Marc Arno of IGRETEC, the regional development agency of Charleroi and South Hainaut. It provides a one-stop shop for Belgian and foreign companies looking to invest in the area, with the collaboration of AWEX. The tightknit relationship between research, training and the local authorities is key for creating jobs for workers of all skill levels, he adds. As Charleroi has no university, it works closely with those of Namur, Mons, Liège and Brussels. The Aeropole’s force is in having a complete chain on one site, says Arno: “There are five distinct stages: academic research, applied research, transfer to technology, incubators and spinoffs with parallel training at each level.” The close link between the airport and the Aeropole should also not be underestimated, adds Arno.
The range of activities is diverse and the low-density space and flexible facilities offer an attractive package for fledgling and established businesses in all sorts of industries, from aerospace and innovation (see Sirris profile on page 14) to Chimay Abbey’s traditional beer and cheese production in the south. Another established business, and Wallonia’s number one foreign investor, is Caterpillar. The manufacturer of mechanical diggers, bulldozers and other heavy equipment is the largest employer in the region after the City of Charleroi, with more than 4,000 workers. While the success of these businesses cannot be disputed, the challenge for the wider metropolis lies in improving all aspects of its citizens’ lives. Yes, more jobs, particularly manual and semiskilled, need to be created, but the city centre’s ongoing regeneration project must be a priority and the city’s image requires a major overhaul. Life here may not be as grim as the media make out, but Charleroi still faces an uphill battle in persuading both its Wallonia neighbours and potential foreign investors that it is a place worth visiting and settling in. Bolstering this endeavour is the collective belief of individuals and organisation that the city can succeed. By playing to their strengths – force of character and irrepressible pride in their city – Carolos are coming together to meet the challenge in all areas of life – economic, cultural, political and social. wallonia and brussels magazine AUTUMN 2012
Cutting edge Hi-tech company Sirris opens a new office at the booming Charleroi Aeropole business park By Ed Morrison
wallonia and brussels magazine aUTUMN 2012
he chances are that just today your life has been affected by something connected with the work of Sirris. You may have driven a car, been treated for an illness, watched an aeroplane fly across the night sky, or noticed a crane swinging into action above a building site. These are everyday activities, but behind them lies the most complex of technology. Technology that one of Wallonia’s leading companies, Sirris, has had a hand in. The sheer variety of industries that have used Sirris’s expertise is mindblowing. It is one of the region’s bestkept secrets – and biggest success stories. The many firms, small businesses and entrepreneurs across Wallonia that have benefitted for many years from Sirris’s know-how are testament to that.
Which is why the inauguration earlier this year of new laboratories and offices at Gosselies, near Charleroi, right next to the Maison de l’Industrie, is not just an important milestone for the company itself but also a feather in the cap for the Walloon economy as a whole. Sirris has many strings to its bow but the impressive new base is dedicated to an innovative and exciting new technology called ‘additive manufacturing’, or 3D printing, which is revolutionising the way that prototypes are made.
It is a crucial technological development that has been credited with boosting innovation and the economy in general because it makes it far cheaper for companies and entrepreneurs to get prototypes manufactured. The process allows models to be ‘printed’ out of materials such as plastic, metal or ceramic rather than having to be put together in a factory – a process that takes time and money. The stunning results have meant that Sirris’s expertise in this field has already been used in areas as diverse as biomedicine, motorsport and aerospace.
To survive, we need top products and top technologists jos pinte
Some of the activities carried out by the equipment installed in the labs at the attractive brown, black and glass building in the Composite Plastics Village at Charleroi Aeropole sound, terrifyingly, like something out of a futuristic science-fiction movie: high-
resolution stereolithography, 3D-polymer printing, electron beam melting, 3D thermojet printing. These concepts sound baffling but they are making complex prototype designs much simpler to put together. Take stereolithography. This involves using ultraviolet light beams to solidify a layer of liquid plastic; the ‘printer’ then adds layer after layer on top of each other until the model takes shape to the design drawn up on computer. The process is genuinely transforming the way new products are developed. These techniques go to the heart of what Sirris is all about. If one word can sum up everything that the company touches, it is ‘innovation’. The complex nature of the work is such that it is in close contact on a constant basis with universities and leading research centres in Wallonia and beyond, sharing knowledge, working practices and even the workforce in order, the company says “to stay one step ahead of technological evolution”. “With rapidly growing and changing technologies and new technologies coming up, our role becomes more and more important,” says Jos Pinte, the director-general of Sirris. “In order to survive we need top products and top products need top technologists.” It is doing a good job of providing them so far. The presence of such a wallonia and brussels magazine aUTUMN 2012
leading company as Sirris at Gosselies is a coup for Wallonia. From here, the company will be able to help designers with technical advice – from the type of technology they should choose, to the material they should employ, or simply to work out the way they should go about developing their product. The company says it prides itself on finding “concrete solutions to the real challenges facing Belgian entrepreneurs”. Sirris helps out at every step along the way of a company’s technological innovation – from the germ of an idea on the draughtsman’s table to the final product ready to hit the market. Often Sirris is engaged with companies or involved in co-operative research projects for many years. This is no fly-by-night enterprise and its reputation depends on producing results year after year. As its €20 million turnover testifies, Sirris – which under its less catchy previous name of CRIF-WTCM has been going since 1949 – is something of a success story. And, although the technology sounds confusing and complex, the answers its experts provide meet some of the most common of technological challenges facing industry today. Other areas of Sirris’s work are no less fascinating. The field of mechatronics is involved in putting sensors or automatic controls into machines and other products to help them perform faster and more accurately, to control noise and vibrations and to be more compact, more flexible and more environmentally friendly. Sirris has brought its expertise in this area to sectors including the automotive industry, machine building and electronics. So next time you get in a car or plane or use what on the surface might seem like a another simple piece of technology, spare a thought for the experts in the labs at Gosselies, the painstaking research that has gone into the latest innovative developments, and the wonderfully complex world of additive manufacturing. 16
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Revolutionising prototypes It is like a radical vision of the future that would have scarcely seemed possible just a few years ago. Printers whirring into action – not spitting out flat pages of ink but actual threedimensional models. 3D printing – or ‘additive manufacturing’ – is now revolutionising the way new products are modelled and made. The process allows the building of prototypes in a much more efficient way than in days gone by. Traditionally making one-off models of new stuff to a high specification has been very expensive, almost prohibitively so. But 3D printing has changed all that and brought down the costs dramatically. It works much like printing a document in the good old-fashioned sense. Designers send their computer-aided designs to a printer and the machine goes to work. But instead of one layer of ink being deposited on to a page, the 3D printer squeezes out layer upon layer of material – in Sirris’s case usually plastic, metal or ceramic – until something that is solid and three-dimensional emerges. One of the reasons why 3D printing is so efficient is that it uses only the exact amount of material needed. And whereas with traditional prototypemaking methods in factories things have to be made with all sorts of nuts
and screws and different parts bolted or welded together, 3D printed models are often built as one completely moulded item. The results are impressive. Making prototypes in this way not only cuts costs but it is also quicker. Whereas in the past manufacturers had to wait weeks or months for a prototype to be ready, now it is there in a matter of hours. And the beauty of 3D printing is that the prototype can be altered and reprinted quickly and cheaply. As Sirris says, this helps companies “shorten the time-to-market, providing a considerable competitive advantage”. There is evidence that inventors are much more ready to experiment these days because they know they can get a prototype made much more cheaply. Sirris now boasts the most complete machine park in Europe for additive manufacturing, with 14 machines that can provide accurate prototypes in a period of between one and five days. As 3D printing technology gets even more sophisticated and developers work out ways to use more types of material, its uses appear limitless. Already the technology has moved on from just making prototypes to manufacturing the actual products people use, such as tools, food, shoes and watches. And work is under way to invent machines to 3D-print body parts.
In figures ■ Every year, Sirris works with more than 1,800 companies, of which four-fifths are small or medium-sized enterprises. In total, it carries out on average 4,000 different pieces of work with those companies every year. ■ More than 120 experts of technology are employed by Sirris. They work in six locations in Belgium including at Gosselies and the Liège Science Park. Its headquarters are in Brussels. ■ The company has a turnover of €20 million per year. ■ It is involved with businesses in more than 100 European projects and has more than 2,400 member companies.
Innovative industry for more than half a century Sirris was set up in 1949 when Fabrimetal (now called Agoria, the technological industry federation) established CRIF-WTCM. It took until 2007 before this became known as Sirris, a name which, the company says, “symbolises the drive with which we… want to continue fulfilling our mission for the Belgian technological industry”. Seventeen years after the company was set up it put into service its first digitally operated machine –only the second in Belgium. World politics affected the company’s work in 1974. The Oil Crisis prompted it to devote more time to the re-
Sirris’s 3D printing is revolutionising the way new products are made
cycling of polymers (this can produce oil), and less than a decade later it took on a pioneering role in the introduction of computer-aided design systems in the technical drawing departments of the Belgian metal-processing industry – work connected to the additive manufacturing seen in Gosselies today. By 1985 the company was working on its first European projects, in the area of production of work tools and recycling as part of the Brite Programme. The same year it developed a technique which enabled wear-resistant coatings to be put on tools, extending their life by between three and five times. In 1990, with industrial partners, the company bought the first prototyping machine in Belgium. At that time, fewer than 20 such machines existed worldwide and in 1997 it inaugurated a highspeed milling machine, one of the few in Belgium with a speed exceeding 20,000 revolutions a minute.
www.sirris.be wallonia and brussels magazine aUTUMN 2012
Reciprocity Design Liège has a new name – and a new director taking it in new directions By Stephanie Duval
large number of internationally renowned designers are making sure Belgium has an excellent reputation in the world of design. And Brussels and Wallonia offer no small number of interesting opportunities to discover new talent or stay updated on the latest innovations: the capital has Design September, while numerous other cities host smaller events to boost their local creative scene. With a recent name change – to the zippy Reciprocity – and a new art director in Giovanna Massoni, the Design Liège biennial is sure to put the spotlight on this city and its unique role in design. Massoni was born and raised in Milan, but came to live in Brussels 20 years ago. She works as an independent art 18
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and design journalist and consultant, and has collaborated with numerous Belgian organisations and institutions to help them promote local talent. Massoni co-created ‘les belges’ for Wallonie-Bruxelles Design/Mode to form an umbrella label for Belgian design, for example, and she regularly curates expositions on the subject of design. As well as her comprehensive experience in the field, Massoni brings an interesting point of view to the table: that of an outsider. “I am a stranger in Belgium, so I see things from the outside,” she explains. “That is why to me, the biennial should be an opportunity to attract people from different countries: to meet them and experience different cultures.”
When Massoni joined Design Liège, she was faced with the challenge of putting the city on the map for its creativity. “I entered a company with problems. So our aim was first to redefine the identity of this biennial,” she says when asked why Design Liège changed its name. “It’s been there since 2002 but it is relatively unknown on an international level. However, Liège has an interesting geographical situation. It sits at the border of three other cultures – Germany, the Netherlands and Flanders. “Maybe the city and its biennial are secondary on the official map of the design world, but it is very interesting in terms of development of design history. Crossing these borders is important for networking in a way that
Michaël Bihain’s Diaphragm stool
is not empowering for just one area or region, but that is creating more opportunities in the vicinity. There are many more stakeholders and organisers involved. Our aim certainly is to include as many as possible. Also, these are areas that are doing beautiful projects themselves, so it is important for us to have them on board. I like to work on existing systems. We’re not inventing anything new, but we’re creating links between existing platforms, areas and organisations.” The name Reciprocity seems appropriate in this context of interacting regions, but it was chosen for another reason, too, she explains. “I want to change the way in which we speak about design and create a new definition. I am very
interested in the social field, and I think design is developing very successfully in that direction. I’m fed up with the descriptions of design that see it as product design, as an artwork or a nice work to be published somewhere and that’s it. There’s a lot of meaning behind an object, too, but it is not sufficiently explained.” That is why the next Design Liège was construed as a platform to form bonds, make connections, participate in debates and discussions: moments that Massoni found to be missing in other design events. “We put this new message in the new title,” explains Massoni; “on the one hand, Reciprocity has the word ‘city’ in there as a nice reference to Liège, and on the other hand it is a
way to suggest our intention: to create a relation and exchange something.” Contrary to many design manifestations, Reciprocity does not put one curator or star designer to the forefront. Instead it strives to create as much diversity within its group of organisers, speakers and visitors as possible. “We want to create a multiple view: a combination of many different points of view and backgrounds,” says Massoni. “It’s not about me and my view of things, after all. And in the end I think it worked out very well. All the curators I invited are expressing their personal point of view in a very meaningful and critical way, while the totality is still coherent.” Evidently, the four main exhibitions of the event are also fairly different in wallonia and brussels magazine AUTUMN 2012
their take on design, and the field on which they focus. Memorabilia started as an open call for entries: artists and designers were asked to create an object that evokes memories. “It was a very broad brief: it could be something from the day before, or something that their grandmother used to do or a memory of someone’s home town,” describes Massoni. “It’s a way to address the emotional aspect of design, and an emotional meaning renders design durable.” The organisation received a whopping 400 proposals – clearly having struck a chord with designers from more than 30 countries. An international selection committee chose 60 designs, which will be on show at the biennial in a scenography by Kaspar Hamacher and Matylda Krzykowski.
Passive Amplifier for Iphone by en&is
Another exposition addresses an even more sensitive issue in the design world: that of the juxtaposition of craft and industry. For this, Massoni invited Gabriele Pezzini, former design director and current consultant for Hermès. “He has very strong ideas and is very independent in that he doesn’t follow trends,” explains Massoni. “He has created a very provocative exposition that explores the separation between crafts and industry, by showcasing the making process of very different design companies.” By putting the industrial production of Edra side by side with Hermès’ artisan creation, then switching the roles and showing how craftsmanship plays an important role in industrial production, and how large machines can produce the infamous Hermès carré scarves, Pezzini aims to refresh the ideas of visitors who have preconceived notions about both means of production.
Alain-Gilles Nomad’s portable solar lamps
Part of the KKD project targeting the creativity of children
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I want to change the way we speak about design giovanna massoni
The Welcome to Saint-Gilles exposition took more than one academic year to complete and will showcase the research done by eight schools in Liège, Tournai, Brussels, Aachen, Maastricht and Hasselt. “Social design is taught at all these schools,” explains Massoni. “We asked them to work together to analyse a problematic neighbourhood in Liège, meet its inhabitants and propose micro-solutions.”
A still from Germain Ozer’s film project
By creating a creative community that uses innovation to address its own problems, Massoni wants to go beyond what people call ‘urban design’ and go as far as to create social cohesion between inhabitants. The neighbourhood in question is a student and school area that turns into a ghost town during summer, creating security concerns and disrupting regular daily life. “We are going to show the first projects, but the aim of this exposition is to convince people to continue their efforts. We are organising a private pre-viewing for a few ministers, too. Involving public administration is vital to make these concepts come to life.” The fourth exhibition takes design to even younger people, targeting kids and their unlimited imagination. “During a workshop at the beginning of the year, we met children at the glass museum of the historic Grand Curtius. We cocreated new containers for water with these kids aged nine to twelve, led by designer Michaël Bihain and journalist Emma Firmin. It was a nice experience: we didn’t expect children to think of such clever designs, but they did,” says
Massoni. She intends to make this into a continuing effort to teach design at primary school: “Not to turn them all into designers, but because it is such a great methodology to form children.”
Reciprocity invites… Wallonie-Bruxelles Design/Mode will showcase the talent that has participated in their international exhibitions during 2012 at Salon Maison & Objet in Paris, and at Salone Internazionale del Mobile and
As well as the four main expositions and the many side projects and events, Reciprocity invites its visitors to attend conferences related to the exhibitions and to participate in the debates. “We don’t just want to invite and meet new international visitors, we want to discuss with locals as well,” says Massoni. “We’ve set the debates and talks up as round tables, so that companies won’t treat them as a platform to promote themselves, but as a chance to really discuss these important issues.” One of the debates will centre on public and collaborative design, another will be linked to Memorabilia and will discuss memory from a philosophical and scientific point of view. Furthermore, visitors will be welcomed to the Meeting Point: a casual space where impromptu discussions and conversations will take place.
the Triennial in Milan Design Vlaanderen presents an exposition that made its debut in Helsinki in September for its World Design Capital 2012 festivities, and which will see different designers interpret nostalgia and heimat Design innovation/Wallonie Design invites you to take a peek inside design, presenting a series of 10 films showing the design process of different creators, juxtaposed to the actual final object
www.designliege.be wallonia and brussels magazine AUTUMN 2012
HOME AND ABROAD
Shane Blackdragon Kiwi Shane Blackdragon runs a New Zealand and Italian fish and seafood restaurant in Brussels, close to Bois de la Cambre, with his Italian wife www.alombredubois.be
Where are you from and how did you end up in Brussels? My family is from the far north of New Zealand and my mother is of Maori descent. I spent my youth in Auckland and later moved back north to the Bay of Islands where I started cooking 20 years ago. This is where my passion for the sea and seafood grew. I met my wife, who is Italian, while cooking in Piemonte, and moved to Paris where she was based. We then moved to the family home in Uccle after my wife fell pregnant. How do you fuse Italian, Australian and New Zealand cuisine? I try to combine what I have learnt in Italy, such as seafood risotto or Italian-style lobster and homemade filled pasta with mushrooms, with my knowledge from New Zealand and Australia. So you can find meats and venison from the Antipodes – New Zealand lamb, kangaroo, ostrich or crocodile – with sauces like mint and basil pesto and traditional pavlova with mascarpone and marsala mousse. And, of course, you can choose Italian Piemontese, Australian or New Zealand wines. Do you have any difficulty sourcing ingredients? I have some very good contacts in Italy so whatever we can’t get here we order directly there, such as special cheese or tasty olive oil for focaccia. There are some things that are a little trickier like venison and green-lipped mussels, so I rely on outside suppliers and family contacts in New Zealand. Do Belgians appreciate the Antipodean touch? We have found that the people around Brussels are very happily surprised when they come to eat here: they enjoy the exotic meats and our seafood chowder and fresh seafood and, when available, fresh oysters. If you have visitors from abroad, what are your favourite places to visit in Brussels and Wallonia? My favourite places to visit are the Sablon, with its awesome weekend antique market and the Notre-Dame church that just takes the breath away. We also like Bois de la Cambre and the Forêt de Soignes for walks with the family. I enjoy living here; Brussels is a beautiful city and the mixture of cultures and people is amazing.
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Brussels is a beautiful city and the mixture of cultures and people is amazing shane blackdragon
Stéphane Rondoz Stéphane Rondoz is a Walloon chef cooking up a seafood storm in a beachside chalet in Poole, on England’s south coast www.parkstonebay.com/cafe
British cuisine has improved enormously over the past 10 years stéphane rondoz
Where are you from and how did you end up in the south of England? I am from Verviers, although I was born in Malmedy, both in Liège province. My sister lives in Poole and I started visiting her about 25 years ago. I did the big move 12 years ago when I realised that I was crossing the English Channel more than once a month. How do you incorporate Belgium and Wallonia’s cuisine into the menu? The south of England is really amazing from a cuisine point of view. In fact it’s easy to add some influences, as the English love Belgium and its food. I do a mix of traditional English dishes with a French touch and some real Belgian dishes. On the menu you can find crispy haddock fishcakes, a smoked, peppery mackerel niçoise salad and a casserole of Scottish mussels cooked Belgian style. Among the lunchtime sandwich choices there are dagoberts and dessert includes chocolate moelleux as well as lots of English favourites. Do you regularly return to Belgium and what do you miss about Wallonia? I don’t go back often, maybe twice a year. But I still miss some close friends, the way we serve Belgian beer, the huge choice of chocolate, small local pubs and, of course, the Ardennes. Are there any local ingredients you bring back from Wallonia? A few kilos of sirop de Liège as that of course is impossible to find in the UK. I use it in our recipe for boulets de Liège and to accompany some cheeses. I cannot get any Walloon varieties here, but there are some excellent English cheeses. Belgians are frequently critical of British cuisine. Do you agree or do you consider it underrated? British cuisine has improved enormously over the past 10 years. Gastro pubs, for example, are really good value. Many run by owner chefs are top quality, but some are still tourist traps. They may look like a local restaurant but do not offer homemade cooking. It’s easy to spot when you are local but not when you are over from the continent for the weekend. And unfortunately they can give the country a bad reputation.
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Say cheese The third part of our series on the region’s culinary heritage explores the maturing of Wallonia’s cheese industry BY Sarah Crew
Herve is the leading brand, made to a traditional recipe that has been made in local farms for centuries. Its inimitable character derives from the micro-climate of the region that yields rich milk and a precise method of production. In the factory the milk is now always pasteurised. After being separated, reblended and heated, rennet is added. This coagulates the milk and the separates the curds from the whey. The vats are then mixed and sliced before being poured into perforated moulds where they remain for 24 hours.
he art of cheese-making is flourishing across the country. From artisan affairs in rural farms to ambitious factory operations, Wallonia is now making some of the best cheeses in the country.
of choice is now likely to be an equally regional beer. With the Wallonia tourist office continuing to promote local food and drink until the end of next year, now is a good time to taste the full range of Wallonia’s cheese platter.
When dairy farmers faced a sour economy and falling milk prices, many found a renewed purpose as makers of handcrafted cheese. Drawing on a tradition that originates from the Middle Ages, there are now some 250 cheeses and the number is growing. There are now as many varieties gracing the cheeseboards of the country’s top gastronomic restaurants as there are choices for filling your daily sandwich. And among the full range of cream, blue, goat’s and soft cheeses, at least 125 are organic.
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On removal, the squares are placed in a salted bath before the delicate stage of ripening in ageing cellars begins. There are three: one for Herve cheeses, the other two for hard and bloomy rinds. Each is carefully regulated for humidity and ambient temperature. Traditionally, it is eaten with coffee and Liège syrup, a relic of the days when farm cheeses had a more bitter flavour, but today an Abbey beer is a more suitable accompaniment. New lines are continually being developed, such as Herve ripened with beer. wWw.herve-societe.be
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One common factor is the use of regional products such as beer, fruit, herbs and mustard in the ripening process – and the accompanying drink
The standard-bearer among Wallonia’s dairy products is Herve, made in the lush pastures of the Herve plateau. The distinctive pungent-flavoured square cheese is Belgium’s only Product of Designated Origin, a coveted European label that confirms regional authenticity. The majority is made by the familyrun Herve Société in the village of the same name. It also makes cheeses for the local Val Dieu Abbey and a range of speciality products.
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www.bioferme.be www.groschene.be www.chimay.com www.produitsfermiers.be www.lebailli.be www.orval.be www.fromagebio.be www.apaqw.be
Photo credits: Bottom right: OPT Emmanuel Mathez All other photos: Herve Société
Liège Taking advantage of the extensive grazing grassland in the province is La Fromagerie des Ardennes. It includes the reputed Bioferme range and Doré de Lathuy, an organic, soft cheese made from non-pasteurised cow’s milk that has a subtle nutty flavour. The same dairy also produces Maquée de Werbomont, a popular cream cheese, in addition to natural and organic fromage frais and Cru des Fagnes, a Brie-like soft cheese that has picked up numerous awards for its unctuous texture.
Namur In the gentle valleys of the Condroz region lies the Route du Fromage, an annual event that wends its way around dairies every September. Fromagerie du Gros Chêne is one, an artisan cheese cooperative. Although it produces some 30 types of cheese (using cow, goat and ewe’s milk) its star product is Calendroz, a soft-rind cheese with moulded crust. Although inspired by the French Camembert, it differs in technique as well as taste due to Wallonia milk, according to Gros Chêne’s master cheesemaker Daniel Cloots, who has 35 years of experience. He believes the region’s artisan producers benefit from the lack of cheese-making tradition. “What is
typical is that we can create our own cheeses and are not restricted by producing a local product, as is the case in France.” Another artisan cooperative on the cheese trail is La Fermière de Méan. Its organic range includes Li Vî Cinsy, an award-winning hard-rind cheese that undergoes a long maturing period to achieve its powerful fruity flavour. The farm’s goat’s cheeses and Charmoix (tartiflette) are also popular. Two other cheeses of note are the semi-hard Le Molignard (natural, nettle, garlic and herbs and paprika flavours) by Ferme Fromagerie de Chertin, and Petit Gabriel by Ferme de Jambjoule, which is soft, creamy, mould-crusted, salted by hand and ripened for 10 days in the cellar.
Hainaut In a southern corner of the province lies Chimay, famous first for its Trappist beer and secondly for its abbey cheese. One of the most revered is Vieux Chimay, a firm and fruity, orange-hued cheese, whose tangy flavour perfectly accompanies a beer of the same providence. Also grazing the rich pastures of the Chimay region are beef and dairy herds at Ferme du Mouligneau. The latter provide but-
ter, yoghurt and cheese, including the prized soft-rind Oscar, of which there is also a péket-refined variety. Underlining the importance of quality and rich milk is the Ferme du Bailli, which has introduced special feed for its cows, helping to create cheeses naturally fortified in Omega 3. The semihard Bailli exists in numerous guises, including white wine, herbs, cumin and a lower-fat variety.
Luxembourg The Fromagerie d’Orval operates from the famous Trappist abbey of the same name, making cheese from full-fat pasteurised milk supplied by neighbouring Gaume farms. Using an 1816 recipe from Trappist monks living and working at the Abbey of Port-du-Salut in France, the Orval dairy produces a rich firm cheese that is washed by hand to produce a natural rind and aromatic taste. Bordering the Liège province is the Fromagerie Biologique de Vielsalm. Its Ardenner cheese is made from pasteurised organic milk and comes in young or aged varieties as well as basil and garlic and ginger and green pepper. wallonia and brussels magazine AUTUMN 2012
Under the skin
wallonia and brussels magazine autumn 2012
on’t be alarmed: this is a creation by Dinh Van FX, a young special effects company from Liège. It was set up this year by Lionel Lê, 35, who branched out from working alone and now works with wig-makers, mouldmakers and other make-up artists to create eye-catching effects for, among others, the hit US series Being Human (pictured here), for which he worked alongside Quebec company Lifemaker. Using silicone, urethane, fibreglass and latex, the team can produce lifelike and fantastic scars, ageing effects, weapons, prosthetic limbs and teeth. “First, I studied art and comics at SaintLuc in Liège,” Lê explains. “We worked in different places, in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Denmark and Canada. We worked recently on the US series Bullet in the Face and on the sequel to the film The Chronicles of Riddick.” Lê describes one of his favourite projects: “I really enjoy working on old age make-up or monster make-up. For a Turkish production, I’m working on old age make-up: we follow the actress through her entire life. She was twenty-five years old and we’ll see her at thirty-five, forty-five, fifty-five and seventy-five. It’s a very exciting and very difficult project, because we have to be able to recognise her at each age. The most difficult thing is to make audiences believe it’s real and not a mask, so we needed to study the actress’s morphology and facial expressions.” Lê’s work can also be seen on stage in Copenhagen early next year, in a performance of Shrek the Musical. In the meantime, he’s busy making a name for himself and his company in the heart of Europe, working with stage and screen companies in need of spectacular make-up. www.dinhvanfx.com wallonia and brussels magazine autumn 2012
Designing together A Brussels-based innovator wants us to break the rules By Stephanie Duval
ake no mistake: design is much more than just the nicelooking objects on show at design fairs. In fact, Alok Nandi argues there is currently “a confusion between design and decoration”, and it’s a misconception he would like us all to break free from, so we can grasp the possibilities of ‘design thinking’. To help society realise this potential, Nandi launched the coCreationcamp platform last year, and since then has presented a series of get-togethers, seminars and workshops all over Europe. This autumn, coCreationcamp was invited by Creative Wallonia to be a part of the Semaine de la Créativité which will take place in November. He explains what the platform is all about. What is the goal of coCreationcamp? Our goal is to identify how we can work together to generate new ideas and new ways of making things. One of the challenges in this is that each of us has our own paradigm and framing, and our aim is to try and break some of these frameworks.
Who is Alok Nandi? Born and raised in DRC and based in Brussels, Alok Nandi is no stranger to the creative innovation scene. He is the founder of Creativity*Conversation, the so-called Pecha Kucha nights that take place in cities all over Europe, including Brussels. The idea of these events is to have speakers give a presentation of 400 seconds that is short, to the point and inspiring. www.aloknandi.com 28
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l’air du temps gaetan miclotte
Could you give an example of an actual coCreationcamp? I’ll use the example of food making. What I tested is the fact that by setting certain constraints for making food, people are obliged to step outside their comfort zone. Specifically, we organised a session with 35 people who had to make dinner together in a certain time frame, using only the ingredients and tools we made available. The question we asked them was: ‘How are we going to make something that looks nice on a plate and tastes great?’ It puts pressure on people, because they know they have to talk to each other, try and understand and use tools they have never used in order to deliver. People have to work from experiential knowledge. So it’s not intellectualisation but concrete stuff. Afterwards, we try to understand if this kind of design journey can be helpful in other practices: in terms of designing furniture or services and so on. Putting people outside their comfort zone and breaking some assumptions will lead to new ways of doing and connecting. For example, if you’re given the ingredients for a salad, you’ll be tempted to make a salad like you are used to, using olive oil and so on. But if someone says, ‘We’re going to use a mixer,’ we completely disturb that
idea. Then we make a kind of pesto: we break the notion of what a salad is in the perception of the person who will be eating it. It will be a liquid salad. What do we do with it? How can we make sure that it can be presented on a plate? Who participates in these events, and how are they chosen? The projects are basically on invitation. We try to include people from very different backgrounds with varied expertise. Then we make the events as participatory as possible, which is why we aim for smaller groups, so no one gets lost in the group’s dynamic. There is talking, sharing, discussing and general critical thinking – so we choose people who have interesting ideas that can shake up existing frameworks. But sometimes we do attract the attention of people who email us to ask to be a
part of it. Then we look at what they could bring to the conversation. Why is co-creation so important today? There’s a certain inertia, a certain ‘stiffness’ in society, systems and people that we have to break. Traffic jams are a symptom of that, for example. How can we solve that? We need to intervene. And then there’s been a lot of talking and discussing climate change: we know it’s a big issue, but nothing has changed. That is why action research is so important: prototypes of things that might actually change things. Cocreation is aiming to share examples with others. It’s a difficult journey, perceived as abstract, but the goal is not to do research that only reaches other researchers, but to hand the ideas to a lot of people, many of whom are perhaps critical or pessimistic.
coCreationcamp Creative Wallonia November 14, Liège
There’s a certain inertia in society that we have to break
“We are going to invite two Michelinstarred chefs and combine their expertise. Together, they will invent new dishes – it will be an interesting chemistry of cuisine, creating dishes that wouldn’t have existed if these two chefs hadn’t had a dialogue.” www.cocreationcamp.com wallonia and brussels magazine AUTUMN 2012
The new cultural season dazzles with eclectic festivals, innovative art and music of various stripes
life story by Lars Norén, and multimedia project Constellation 1961. WHAT? FESTIVAL DES LIBERTÉS WHEN? OCTOBER 18-27 WHERE? THEATRE NATIONAL & KVS, BRUSSELS
CHARLEROI BIS-ARTS Banish half-term boredom at Charleroi’s annual autumn festival of international street theatre and arts. Darkening nights cannot dampen the high spirits of cabaret, clowns and children’s entertainers performing in big tops and city venues. The programme extends to acts from Australia, Alaska, France and Morocco as well as home-grown talents.
FESTIVALS FESTIVAL DU RIRE
WHAT? FESTIVAL DU RIRE WHEN? OCTOBER 14-21 WHERE? LIÈGE
Francophone comedy takes centre stage in this week-long international festival with a televised gala and street activities among the highlights. Local comedians among the 45 artists include Bruno Coppens, Jérôme de Warzée, Shirley & Dino, La Framboise Frivole, Olivier Leborgne (pictured) and Nicolas Canteloup.
WHAT? CHARLEROI BIS-ARTS WHEN? OCTOBER 26-NOVEMBER 3 WHERE? PALAIS DES BEAUX-ARTS & L’EDEN
CLAUDE AÏELLO ET LES DESIGNERS Italian-born ceramic artist Aïello is the third generation of his family to make pottery. He is also part of the revitalisation of Vallauris, the Provence town made famous by Picasso. He and a group of designers have created a series of original and utilitarian objects that are transformed into conceptual and designer art. Grand-Hornu, the Unesco former mining site, offers a rare opportunity to view the works which have propelled ceramic art in an entirely new direction. WHAT? CLAUDE AÏELLO ET LES DESIGNERS WHEN? UNTIL DECEMBER 16 WHERE? GRAND-HORNU IMAGES
FESTIVAL DES LIBERTÉS The annual freedom festival returns with a timely interrogation of the global crisis, with arts, debates and an international documentary competition of 30 films that touch on human rights. Musical entertainment is guaranteed with a series of world music concerts: Balkan and gypsy beats from Taraf de Haïdouks & Kocani Orkestar, hip-hop by De La Soul, rap from influential Americans Public Enemy and electro-swing-jazz by Caravan Palace (pictured) and Ogres de Barback. Theatre takes the form of a German drama, 20 November, based on a real-
wallonia and brussels magazine autumn 2012
DAVE ANDERSON, CHARLEROI
Dave Anderson, one of the shooting stars of the American photo scene, casts his unsentimental eye over the people of Charleroi. The works at Wallonia’s temple to photography are the result of his wanderings around the once-prosperous industrial city, which is patiently awaiting the end of the urban regeneration programme that is set to transform the city. Anderson’s portraits go beyond the clichés and hard facts to convey real lives; the joy, humour and inextinguishable spirit that defines the Caroloregion.
Charleroi’s flagship contemporary art space kicks off the season with three artists originating from Morocco: Charif Benhelima (pictured), Mohamed El Baz and Mounir Fatmi. Part of DABA Maroc (a BrusselsWallonia Federation artistic programme), the exhibition of photographs, videos and installations explores cultural identity via the notion of curiosity and freedom of expression. WHAT? INTRANQUILITÉS WHEN? UNTIL DECEMBER 16 WHERE? B.P.S.22, CHARLEROI
WHAT? DAVE ANDERSON, CHARLEROI WHEN? UNTIL JANUARY 20 WHERE? PHOTOGRAPHY MUSEUM, CHARLEROI
willem de leeuw photography
MUSIC CONSERVAMUS GALA CONCERT A gorgeous 19th-century music school-cumconcert hall right in Brussels’ Sablon area, the Royal Conservatory would be one of country’s finest cultural hotspots if it wasn’t, literally, falling to pieces: pigeons have taken up residence in the roof, the heating system stopped working aeons ago and one practice room has a huge hole in the floor where a grand piano once fell through. This concert is organised by Conservamus, a non-profit association that pushes for the necessary renovations to be done before it is too late. Soprano Marie-Noëlle de Callataÿ will be joined by the Odysseia Ensemble (pictured) and the Amôn Quartet in music by Mozart, Schubert and Debussy. WHAT? CONSERVAMUS GALA CONCERT WHEN? OCTOBER 24 WHERE? BRUSSELS CONSERVATORY
Infinite Bach ALEXANDER GURNING
ALEXANDER GURNING Bach allegedly composed his Goldberg Variations, a cycle of 30 miniatures framed by the same artless and haunting theme, as a cure for a patron who suffered from insomnia. It is hard, however, to think of music that is less soporific, especially since Glenn Gould delivered his two earthshattering and now mythical recordings. Alexander Gurning, a Belgian pianist with mixed origins and an equally eclectic musical background, follows in his footsteps.
JS Bach could never have predicted that his music would one day be played by a halfPolish, half-Indonesian pianist living in Brussels. But the chances are he would have loved Alexander Gurning’s searching, swinging and utterly ravishing take on his Goldberg Variations. Gurning, 39, recorded the piece last year to great acclaim. He describes it as a “universe” of which he never tires. “Normally, when you approach a new work, you start out wanting to explore it, to learn all about it. Here, it’s the other way round: you first want to play it, and as you do you discover more and more to it. The angle widens the further you immerse yourself into the piece. It becomes almost infinite. There’s always something new to see or hear. It is incredible.” A former Brussels Conservatory student who went on to hone his skills in Moscow, Gurning has more strings to his bow: he is also the pianist in the soulful Ensemble Soledad, a Belgian outfit that plays tango with a contemporary twist and will be heard in Ottignies and Brussels as part of the Skoda Jazz festival. A fan has hailed their “rare intensity” that combines “intelligence, know-how and sex appeal”. Her name? Martha Argerich.
WHAT? ALEXANDER GURNING WHEN? OCTOBER 14 WHERE? LIÈGE SALLE PHILHARMONIQUE
www.opl.be wallonia and brussels magazine autumn 2012