Owned by the City of Brussels, this building with a large shop window stands in the centre of Brussels, only a stone’s throw from the Grand Place. It occupies an impressive 6,000 m² of space spread over 5 stories.
Built for the “Nouveaux Établissements Vanderborght Frères”, who traded in household products like carpets, knick-knacks, garden furniture, bedding, etc., the building was designed by architects Govaerts and Van Vaerenbergh, who were used to working together, having previously collaborated on the house of Alice and David van Buren, now the van Buren Museum. The building works, which began in 1932, were completed in 1935. Built in a modernist style, the building did away with ornamental elements, favouring function over appearance.
With remarkable large shop front windows that allow for greater visibility, each story is made up of one large concrete floorplan that can be easily modified thanks to a system of sliding partition walls on tracks. Other stand-out features of this building are its terraces, which served as exhibition spaces for the company’s garden furniture back in the day, but also spots to relax and enjoy a cup of tea. The store went bankrupt in 1980.
The Royal Fine Arts Museums of Belgium once thought of moving their collections into the Vanderborght building, but the project never took off.
The venue today welcomes many exhibitions, mainly centred around contemporary art. Three major events are organised every year:
- Carte de Visite ARTopenKUNST in February: an exhibition dedicated to amateur and professional artists living or working in the City of Brussels. More than 200 artists take over the building for a whole weekend. http://cartedevisite.brussels/
- The Independent in April: a contemporary art fair from New Year has set up shop in Brussels. http://independenthq.com/
- Strokar in May: an exhibition dedicated to street art and photography that gathers artists from Brussels and further afield. http://strokar.be/
Furthermore, other, non-recurrent exhibitions also take place in the Vanderborght building and are open to all at a reasonable price.
Location: Rue de l'Ecuyer, 50, 1000 Brussels