HANDMADE IN WALLONIA · 2018-10-16 · HANDMADE IN WALLONIA THE LOCAL ARTISAN SCENE IS THRIVING...
Embed Size (px)
Transcript of HANDMADE IN WALLONIA · 2018-10-16 · HANDMADE IN WALLONIA THE LOCAL ARTISAN SCENE IS THRIVING...
HANDMADE IN WALLONIATHE LOCAL ARTISAN SCENE IS THRIVING
Become an ambassador for Wallonia
Discover the region’s latest medical innovation
001_001_Cover_Winter_2015.indd 1 3/12/15 17:03
2 wallonia and brussels magazineWINTER 2015/2016
26EditorialCalling everyone who is proud of Wallonia! Expats and Walloons alike - like Milan-based Liège designer Laurence Humier, pictured here - are invited to sign up for the new Wallonia ambassador programme. Launched by the Walloon government and run by AWEX and WBI, it promotes the business and lifestyle advantages of living and working here. Read all about it on page 8.
Many of Wallonia’s successful artisans are already serving as ambassadors abroad, and the thriving arts and crafts community is one of the region’s many success stories. In this issue we look at the renaissance of artisans in Wallonia and Brussels. From jewellers to sculptors, the range of their skills is astounding. We present a selection from each province.
Editor Sarah CrewDeputy editor Sally Tipper
Reporters Leo Cendrowicz, Jon EldridgeOonagh Gannon, Alan Hope, Karen McHugh
Saffi na Rana, Senne StarckxArt director Patricia Brossel
Managing director Hans De Loore
AWEX/WBI and Ackroyd PublicationsPascale Delcomminette – AWEX/WBI
Marie-Catherine DuchêneAWEX, Place Sainctelette 2
1080 Brussels, BelgiumTel: 00.32(0)2.421.85.76
Fax: 00.32(0)2.421.83.93email: [email protected]
HANDMADE IN WALLONIATHE LOCAL ARTISAN SCENE IS THRIVING
Become an ambassador for Wallonia
Discover the region’s latest medical innovation
001_001_Cover_Winter_2015.indd 1 3/12/15 11:21
Jewellery design by artisan Louise Kopij
002_003_Edito_Winter_2015.indd 2 3/12/15 14:43
3wallonia and brussels magazineWINTER 2015/2016
04 BIG PICTURETake a ride to the Train World museum
06 NEWSHeadlines from around the region
08 WALLONIAThe region launches its ambassador programme
12 INNOVATIONDiscover cancer diagnosis specialists VolitionRx
14 INVESTMENTBoosting research in stem cell therapy
17 BUSINESSVPK Packaging opens new site in Hainaut
19 FILEArts and crafts in Brussels and Wallonia
24 PORTRAITMeet businessman Pierre Rion
26 GASTRONOMYTaking the biscuit: Belgian brand Maison Dandoy goes global
29 CULTURECharleroi’s BPS22 re-opens as province’s own art museum
32 PANORAMASinger Alice on the Roof is ready to release her fi rst album
34 AGENDAWinter highlights around Wallonia and Brussels
002_003_Edito_Winter_2015.indd 3 3/12/15 14:43
4 wallonia and brussels magazineWINTER 2015/2016
WORK BIG PICTURE
Ticket to ride
004_005_Bigpicture_Winter_2015.indd 4 3/12/15 14:46
5wallonia and brussels magazineWINTER 2015/2016
Brussels’ newest museum, opened by King Philippe in September, is a hymn to the country’s railways
and all who’ve travelled on them. Starting in the refurbished ticket hall at Schaerbeek station, moving along the modern-day platform to a giant train shed and opening out into an airy split-level gallery, Train World pays tribute to the local engineers who played their part in developing Europe’s railways over almost two
centuries. Old uniforms, personal recollections, station memorabilia and lovingly restored carriages bring to life the history and future of train travel at home and abroad.
004_005_Bigpicture_Winter_2015.indd 5 3/12/15 14:46
6 wallonia and brussels magazineWINTER 2015/2016
Tournai photographer wins peace prize
Tournai photographer Patricia Willocq has been awarded the Alfred Fried prize for 2015 for the world’s best photo on the theme of peace, a prize given each year by the Austrian parliament. The prize was handed over by Kailash Satyarthi, the Indian children’s rights activist who shared the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize with Malala Yousafzai. The winning photo is part of a photo-project called “Look at me, I am beautiful” depicting female victims of sexual violence in Goma in the eastern Congo, a project supported by the HOLD DRC.
Canada and Wallonia drug agreementThe government of Wallonia and R&D cluster Biowin have signed a cooperation agreement with the Quebec Consortium for Medical Discovery, which will allow Canadian university researchers and small and medium-sized enterprises to collabo-rate in drugs research with their coun-terparts in Wallonia. The agreement will strengthen biomedical research in the two regions by allowing partners to align their fields of expertise and their scientific re-sources. Projects accepted for funding can receive up to 7 0,000 for a maximum pe-riod of two years.
Whiskey lovers go for new Biercée rye100% Belgian and made from pure organic Belgian malt: the 3,200 numbered half-litre bottles of the new rye whiskey from Bier-cée Distillery were snapped up in record time on the first distillation in eptember. The distillery has specialised in eaux devie, liqueurs and premium gins since it was founded in 1946. Master distillers Chris-tophe Mulatin and Pierre Gérard have re-spected the company’s traditions while add-ing a modern touch to stay abreast of the times. But customers will have to be patient: the whiskey won’t be available to take home until the end of 2017.
006_007_News_Winter_2015.indd 6 3/12/15 17:16
7wallonia and brussels magazineWINTER 2015/2016
New museum at AtomiumThe Art & Design Atomium Museum (ADAM) opens on the site of the famous monument on 11 December. The museum consists of a permanent collection known as the Plasticarium, a unique collection of more than 2,000 plastic objects, including both works of art and everyday objects, as well as space for temporary exhibitions, workshops, lectures and private events, and a shop and cafe. Temporary exhibitions already booked for 2016 include a private collection of con-temporary art, a photo exhibition as part of Bo ar’s ummer of Photography, and an ex-hibition of Belgian design.
Orthanc gives birth to Osimisi ge niversity ospital has launched its first spin off Osimis, a spin off of the Orthanc soft-
ware developed by the young researcher bastien odogne, which classifies and manages medical images. Orthanc won a pri e in pril from the ree oftware oundation at IT in the . The software saves users the cost of sending s loaded with medical images, many of which may never be looked at, by making all transfers online. Osimis is the first spin off from the iege, and has already attracted the interest of private investors. The plan for Osimis, where odogne is oined by colleagues r d ric ambrechts as O and lain a y, is now to make Orthanc and other software packages available to the largest number possible, in various fields of application.
Sick buildings – call on SamiResidents of Walloon Brabant who are suf-fering from health problems like asthma, al-lergies or chronic headaches can call on the services of ami the service for the analysis of interior environments. The free service can be ordered by any doctor and involves an in-depth analysis of the patient’s home, to determine the cause of their health problem, which could be moulds, bacteria, chemical substances or parasites. “Our aim is to iden-tify the pollutants present in the home’s at-mosphere and provide patients with advice on how to reduce or solve the problem,” said Nathalie Popovic of ami. Three out of four people said they felt better after the consul-tation. ami has visited 00 homes since the service was launched in 2007.
Eco-neighbourhood ready for take-offConstruction can begin on the new Court Village eco-neighbourhood, now that all relevant permits have been obtained from the authorities, the pro ect’s organisers uilis said. On a 10-hectare site, Court Village will include 8,600 square metres of commercial premises and
0 homes. The first phase consists of 1 apartments and , 00 s uare metres of retail space. Two further phases of apartments of various sizes will follow, with the project due for completion in 017. The site is close to Ottignies station, Wallonia’s main railway unction, and is 10 minutes from ouvain la Neuve, close to main roads 11, N , N and 1 , as well as the future ourt aint tienne station.
Charleroi links up with Copenhagenyanair has added a new candinavian city to its list of destinations, with a 0 minute flight
to openhagen. yanair inaugurated the route six years after it started flying from harleroi to Oslo ygge in Norway and tockholm kavsta in weden. To mark the occasion, Brussels
outh harleroi irport organised a number of candinavia flavoured activities in the air-port. “Whether you’re travelling for business, tourism or to get away from it all, Oslo, tock-holm and openhagen have a great deal to offer,” airport O ean ac ues lo uet said. “These cities’ cultural and historic heritage is fascinating, and they are delightful places to explore and admire their uni ue architecture.”
006_007_News_Winter_2015.indd 7 3/12/15 17:16
8 wallonia and brussels magazineWINTER 2015/2016
Are you familiar with Wallonia’s brand identity, wallonia.be, with its distinctive logo and
tagline ‘Feel inspired’? It’s not just a visual expression: there is a wealth of activity behind wallonia.be, encom-passing everything the region has to offer, from its natural beauty and its high-ranking universities and insti-tutes to its signifi cant export business.
One of the brand’s main aims is to demonstrate Wallonia’s openness to the world, reaching out beyond its borders to promote the development of the region with an emphasis on its competitive strengths and its outstanding features in terms of economy, culture and tourism. It’s no surprise, then, that the fi ve dots making up the letter W of the logo represent the fi ve continents, with Wallonia at the intersection. To help connect the dots to Wallonia and fulfi l the brand’s mission, AWEX, Wallonia’s Export-Investment Agency, is building a network of wallonia.be brand ambassadors.
Anyone who has knowledge and experience of Wallonia can apply to become an ambassador. You may be an expat living in Wallonia, an international enterprise operating in the region, a Walloon living abroad or a non-Walloon living abroad who is familiar with the region. Jacques Jadoul, ICT manager at AWEX, reports on progress so far: “The
Spread the wordWallonia’s team of brand ambassadors are promoting the region worldwide
BY OONAGH GANNON
The kindness, openness, sense of humour and humanity of the Walloons, together with the natural beauty of the region, have brought Wallonia closer to my heartVASSIL KOLAROV, ABOVE
008_011_ambassador_Winter_2015final.indd 8 3/12/15 16:41
9wallonia and brussels magazineWINTER 2015/2016
programme is well under way across the continents, with some encouraging results, and we hope to multiply the effects with more recruits. With an intake of 38,000 foreign students in Wallonia’s universities each year, we believe university graduates have huge potential to increase the network.”
Ambassadors share a common goal, which is to promote the strengths and the differentiating aspects of Wallonia symbolised through the four pillars of the brand: sense of sharing, accessibility, technical know-how and quality of life. Their mission is to promote Wallonia and its assets through their professional or private contacts and bring the brand to life through social media or the blog on the wallonia.be platform. The blog also enables them to share their experience of Wallonia and success stories and promote their own activities.
“Being a brand ambassador has a win-win effect,” Jadoul explains. “The region benefits from wide visibility while ambassadors can gain from the region’s reputation and the bonus of expanding their own network. While there is no financial cost or gain for either party, AWEX offers incentives to ambassadors such as rewarding their blog contributions with promotional materials and invitations to cultural or touristic events.”
Brand ambassadors in action
From Lima to Budapest, three ambassadors give us a glimpse of their activities in promoting the region.
Wallonia and Peru
Belgian-born Guy Olivier Vanackeren has lived in Peru for more than 20 years. Decorated with the Order of the Crown and with many Belgian strings to his bow, he is a permanent showcase for Wallonia and Brussels. He runs a travel agency in Lima, is the founder and managing director of Belgo Club, an association for Belgians living in Peru, and is president of the
Chamber of Commerce and Culture for Belgium and Luxembourg until 2019. An active ambassador of wallonia.be, he recently took part in Festival Belga, held in Lima to mark the 50th anniversary of Belgian Technical Cooperation with Peru and comprising a host of stands representing Belgian interests such as AWEX, wallonia.be, the Belgian
Guy Olivier Vanackeren, founder of Peru’s Belgo Club, at the Festival Belga in Lima
008_011_ambassador_Winter_2015final.indd 9 3/12/15 16:41
10 wallonia and brussels magazineWINTER 2015/2016
Embassy and the Belgian Chamber of Commerce. “Historically, Wallonia has strong economic ties with Peru,” Vanackeren says, “and in a country that is currently experiencing economic downturn after a decade of sound economic growth, now is the time for it to open its doors to foreign investors and leverage the huge potential that a region such as Wallonia has to offer. Festival Belga saw a stream of visitors and significant interest during and after the event in importing Belgian products with a strong emphasis on beer, exporting local farm produce, studying in Belgium, tourism and even conditions for getting married in Belgium.” Read Guy Vanackeren’s blog at wallonia.be
Design Without Borders
Originally from Liège, Laurence Humier has lived in Italy for 13 years and is known on the international design scene for her many contributions to innovation. he first made her mark as a Belgian designer back in 2010 when her creation Meeting Chairs was selected for the permanent collection at the New York Museum of Modern Art, where it remains today, as well as at the Vitra Design Museum in Germany, where it has been on show since 2014. Humier’s taste for industrial design has resulted in some highly innovative projects including an e-book, Cooking Material, through which she explores the link between edible and non-edible materials, and
Alchemist Matter, an educational kit for children based on the same theme. A true 21st-century entrepreneur, she largely finances her projects through crowdfunding, and under the banner ‘Design without Borders’ she takes them on tour. She has given conferences and conducted workshops for adults and children across Europe and the US, including in Barcelona, Rome, Paris and New York. Her most recent workshops took place at Expo2015 in Milan and the RECIPROCITY 2015 Design Triennial in Liège. Humier was among the prominent personalities to receive a Chevalier du Mérite Wallon at this year’s Festival of Wallonia, a distinction that
Liège designer Laurence Humier is proud to put the spotlight on her home region
008_011_ambassador_Winter_2015final.indd 10 3/12/15 16:41
11wallonia and brussels magazineWINTER 2015/2016
recognises exceptional contribution to the region. Commenting on her achievement, Humier said, “I am extremely proud to have contributed to putting the spotlight on our region, which alongside the economic opportunities has more and more to offer in terms of design and creativity.” Follow Laurence Humier on Twitter at @humier
From Budapest to Mons
Pascal Biras from Nîmes in France has lived in Budapest, Hungary, since 2010. A French teacher at the AKG Alternative Secondary School for Economics, he believes in breaking the mould of using clichés such as the Eiffel Tower and Paris in the classroom by introducing students to a wider scope of French-speaking communities such as Wallonia, of which he is particularly fond. Part of
his French course comprises a weekly workshop in creative writing, which leads to the publication of a short novel in French and Hungarian. This year, he based the workshop on Mons 2015, opening his students’ eyes to the city’s geography and its status as European Capital of Culture. The resulting novel, PS:et toi?, is a compilation of letters making up a fiction that takes place in the streets of ons. fter completion, he flew his students to Mons to get a taste of the real thing. “The kids came back with lots to tell and even left copies of their novel in Wallonia as a testimony of their trip. Summarising the experience, they described Mons as a beautiful city – albeit smaller than they had imagined when writing the novel – friendly and highly recommended for a weekend.” Find out more about PS:et toi? at www.facebook.com/PSettoiAKG and read Pascal Biras’ blog at wallonia.be
Pascal Biras from France lives in Hungary, where he teaches his students about Wallonia
Ambassadors share a common goal: to promote the strengths and the differentiating aspects of Wallonia
008_011_ambassador_Winter_2015final.indd 11 3/12/15 16:41
12 wallonia and brussels magazineWINTER 2015/2016
C olorectal cancers are the third most common in the world. Of the 20 countries with the high-
est incidence, 13 are in Europe, and Belgium is one of them. If caught at an early stage, the five year survival rate for these cancers is high, in the region of
0 percent. owever, they are typically detected as late-stage cancers after the onset of symptoms, when the survival rate has dropped to as low as 7 percent in some countries.
Endoscopic procedures such as colonoscopy provide a high rate of early detection, but these are invasive and expensive, and in many countries are not offered in the first instance. The preferred techniques in countries with screening programmes involve stool tests, but depending where you go in in Europe, only 20 to 52 percent of adults targeted have been willing to take them.
The Namur based operations facility of epigenetics company VolitionRx Limited is well positioned to make a big impact on improving the early detection of colorectal cancers as early as 2016, with its development of diagnostic blood tests. panel of blood tests developed by the company is being tested in a large-scale independent clinical trial of 4,800 sub ects in enmark, who have already undergone a colonoscopy. Preliminary results released in September 2015 show that the blood tests have detected 81 percent of colorectal cancers at a specificity of 7 percent, e ually well for both early- and late-stage cancers. In
It’s in the bloodA small Namur-based company is set to revolutionise the way cancers are diagnosed
BY SAFFINA RANA
012_013_volition_Winter_2015.indd 12 3/12/15 16:44
13wallonia and brussels magazineWINTER 2015/2016
addition, the tests detected 63 percent of potentially pre-cancerous adenomas (or polyps) including, most importantly, 67 percent of high risk adenomas, the most likely to become cancerous.
The tests distinguish healthy patients from those with cancers, and the type of cancer that the patient has, by capturing and measuring cancer signals. The N in every human cell is wound around a complex of proteins in a structure resembling beads on a string. Each individual bead is called a nucleosome. When a cell dies, the body breaks the N string up into individual nucleosomes which are then released into the blood to be naturally recycled. Cancers are characterised by an uncontrolled and rapid cell turnover. s the body can’t recycle such large amounts of cell debris, the nucleosome level rises in a cancer patient’s blood, making it a good marker for cancer detection. ach test, or assay, captures an intact nucleosome and identifies a specific feature that acts as a biomarker for a particular cancer or disease. ombining individual assays into a multiple panel of tests increases the accuracy. Only a single drop of blood is needed for the tests.
In essence, the technology has the ability to detect all sorts of other hard-to-diagnose cancers and conditions. VolitionRx has been granted European, US and worldwide patents to protect its proprietary technology, known as Nucleosomics, and tests, trademarked as Nu assays.
The work on colorectal cancers is close to commercialisation, and one of the assays has already been CE marked, certifying that it complies with
legislation on diagnostic device requirements. “We are in the process of finding the best combination of assays to define a panel that will diagnose colorectal cancer,” explains Belgian
olition O Gaetan ichel. “The final panel will consist of between four and six assays. The strategy is to get a
mark for all the individual assays and for the final panel test in 01 . We envisage it will be ready to launch in Europe after the second quarter of 2016.”
The company was set up in Namur in 2010 with the help of a Walloon government assistance grant worth €1.05 million. “We started with two people, one lab bench and one office at the niversity of Namur,” says ichel, a Namur graduate with a doctorate in biochemistry. “Thanks to the Walloon government grant, we were able to set up our technology and validate it,” he says.
To accelerate work on the detection of other cancers, the parent company
olition x NY T N , was listed on the New York stock exchange in 01 . It currently has a market value of about $70 million.
The move has fuelled another , 00 sub ect study at the niversity
of Bonn in Germany, to evaluate assays for the early detection of the 27 most prevalent cancers and the differences in nucleosome structures between cancers. Other ongoing studies include a 1 ,000 patient prospective screening study for colorectal cancer in enmark and smaller separate clinical studies in Belgium, Germany, the , the and Singapore on diagnostic tests for lung, ovarian, pancreatic and prostate cancers and endometriosis.
The company is planning further investment. “We need to hire more people, and structure the organisation to take on the new developments,” says
ichel. “We are talking to the Wallonia government and it is going to help us meet some of these challenges.” He is excited by the prospects. “The tests will be much easier and much friendlier than those currently available, especially for colorectal cancer, where people are so averse to taking the test. The aim is especially to target the large numbers of these non-compliant people to get the test done as soon as possible, because with cancer, the earlier you detect it, the more effectively you can remove it.”
We started with two people, one lab bench and one office GAETAN MICHEL
012_013_volition_Winter_2015.indd 13 3/12/15 16:44
14 wallonia and brussels magazineWINTER 2015/2016
Stem cell therapy, the heart of re-generative medicine, has long been a promising but difficult discipline.
To give in this field a boost and to help companies reach the final commer-cialisation phase the Walloon govern-ment is investing heavily in a platform with specialised production facilities.
Stem cell research has long been surrounded by controversy. That’s mainly due to the fact that until recently, the only way scientists could work with stem cells was by using tissue from embryos, a process that’s banned in most countries. But that problem was overcome by Shinya Yamanaka, a Japanese cell biologist who won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2012, when he discovered a non-controversial technique to make pluripotent stem cells cells that can propagate indefinitely and also give rise to every other cell type in the body. Yamanaka showed how adult somatic or normal tissue cells could be transformed into these pluripotent stem cells, without the need to touch a human embryo.
Thanks to his work, pluripotent stem cells represent a single source of tissue material that can be used to replace cells lost to damage or disease.
Cell therapy has been applied for years. The best known is probably the transplantation of bone marrow in leukaemia and myeloma patients, in which healthy stem cells are drawn from the bone marrow of the patient’s spine or a donor’s hip bone and in ected into the blood stream. nother therapy, much less used, is the transplantation of umbilical cord blood.
But there’s a difference between this classical’ form of cell therapy and real regenerative medicine. In a bone marrow transplant, the stem cells are not treated or reprogrammed before they’re put back in the patient’s body. The dream of regenerative medicine goes much wider. Its goal is to replace, regenerate and even augment human organs and tissues through stem cell engineering. This holds the promise of engineering damaged tissues and
The hard cellWalloon government funding is helping two companies make regenerative medicine a widespread reality
BY SENNE STARCKX
The future and the addressed markets of regenerative medicine will be critical for the pharmaceutical sectorDR PASCALE HERMANT
014_016_cell therapy_winter_2015.indd 14 3/12/15 16:45
15wallonia and brussels magazineWINTER 2015/2016
organs by stimulating the body’s own repair mechanism to functionally heal previously irreparable tissues or organs.
urrently, the vast ma ority of conventional treatments for chronic and life threatening diseases are palliative. Others delay disease progression and the onset of complications. ery few therapies in use today are capable of curing or significantly changing the course of disease. or diseases like diabetes, neurodegenerative disorders, stroke and cardiovascular disease, more effective treatments are needed. Regenerative medicine is uniquely capable of altering the fundamental mechanisms of disease.
It’s not so well known, but regenerative medicine is already a commercial reality. urrently, 7 approved and marketed products are available worldwide however, many are approved only in specific regions and countries. eanwhile, 71 clinical trials are under way. The lliance of Regenerative Medicine estimates that in
2012, cell therapy products generated more than $900 million, with 160,000 patients receiving treatments.
egenerative medicine is a field in which small but highly innovative companies can really force breakthroughs and bring cell therapy to another level. Wallonia has, mainly due to the presence of the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) and the
ree niversity of Brussels B , become a home base for several such companies. The regional government acknowledges this. That’s why it has increased its investment in the sector, by creating a new infrastructure called the Cellular Therapy Platform, or PWT . The aim of the platform, which opened in pril and is managed by Wallonia’s Biowin cluster the health competitiveness cluster which is part of the region’s arshall Plan is to give a boost to companies that have already progressed to the final clinical phase or even the commercialisation stage of their cell therapy products. The platform is supported by public
funding from Sambrinvest and the Walloon government as well as private finance.
The PWT is based at Gosselies Biopark near Charleroi, and brings together the facilities of two companies: Bone Therapeutics and Promethera Biociences. “Thanks to the platform we can oin forces with partners in the field and share common resources,” says Promethera spokesperson Dr Pascale
ermant. “This will boost marketscale production of our stem cell-based therapies.”
The mission of UCL spin-off Promethera is to discover, develop and commercialise cell therapies to treat liver diseases, using stem cells harvested in healthy human livers. Two cell therapy products are under development, epa tem and tem. These cells could be used to treat a wide variety of liver diseases, by bringing healthy functional cells into the body - thus avoiding radical surgery like liver transplantation. epa tem has recently
014_016_cell therapy_winter_2015.indd 15 3/12/15 16:45
16 wallonia and brussels magazineWINTER 2015/2016
Bone Therapeutics uses differentiated bone creating cells known as osteoblasts that can be applied in a minimally invasive manner with a needle. urrently, standard treatments still involve ma or surgical interventions and long recovery periods. The company has two therapies that are still being evaluated and therefore not yet commercially available: P OB and OB. The first takes bone marrow cells from a patient that are programmed’ in the lab to become bone-creating tissue and inserts them inside the same patient. P OB is currently being evaluated in two decisive phase-3 studies and one phase study. OB is made of bone marrow cells from healthy adult donors and is currently sub ect to three phase studies.
The company, which employs 90 people and raised 7 million in an initial public flotation in 01 , is convinced that the future for regenerative medicine, as well as its own future, is bright. “Our ambition is to become a leader in cell therapy applications in the field of bone problems,” says Bastianelli. “In this respect we aim to leverage our cell differentiation platform to address additional indications in this field in the future.”
The overall aim of the Cellular Therapy Platform is to scale up production of the cell therapy products of both Bone Therapeutics and Promethera Biosciences to commercial uantities. Bastianelli “The PWT is within the heart of a unique and innovative high-tech cluster, which is very well placed to meet the needs of an increasing number of cell therapy companies popping up in the Walloon region.”
WWW.BONETHERAPEUTICS.COM Bone Therapeutics
completed a phase-1/2 clinical study in urea cycle disorders and rigler Na ar syndrome. It has already received orphan drug designation from the
uropean edicines gency and the ood and rug dministration for
Promethera’s products are not yet commercially available; HepaStem is currently the sub ect of a phase test. Besides that, the company aims to extend its pipeline to larger markets such as acute-on chronic liver failure and liver fibrosis. “We believe the future and the addressed markets of regenerative medicine will be critical for the pharmaceutical sector,” says Dr
ermant. “ any diseases have unmet medical needs, making cell therapy a treatment of choice for several of them.”
Promethera employs 32 people and has collected more than €60 million from private and public investors over the years. What’s the secret of its success “We are developing an off the shelf product based on allogenic liver cells
cells from other, healthy people. The production, logistics and product delivery are therefore much simpler in comparison to other business models, which usually work with stem cells from the patient themselves, requiring individualised engineering for each patient.”
The other company involved in the PWT , Bone Therapeutics, specialises in the development of cell treatments of fractures. “In the repair domain we focus on indications such as non-union fractures, delayed-union fractures and interventions such as spinal fusion and revision of spinal fusion,” says CEO
nrico Bastianelli. “In the prevention domain we focus on indications such as osteonecrosis, a painful disorder of the hip, and severe osteoporosis.”
Our ambition is to become a leader in cell therapy applications in the field of bone problemsENRICO BASTIANELLI, CEO
014_016_cell therapy_winter_2015.indd 16 3/12/15 16:45
17wallonia and brussels magazineWINTER 2015/2016
Under wrapsVPK Packaging launches unique €6.5m subsidiary in Courcelles
BY JON ELDRIDGE
VPK Packaging Group is investing €6.5 million to launch opera-tions in Courcelles, near Char-
leroi. The new subsidiary will operate under the dedicated brand Cartonner-ies de Wallonie from the international group’s first site in Wallonia. It will focus on the production and distribution of high-quality corrugated packaging.
The group says the new subsidiary will introduce a new “stock and serve”
principle that will allow it to combine “ultra-fast delivery times with a unique flexibility in desired volumes”. The feature is unique to its Belgian sites.
Combined with high-end digital printing and converting equipment, Cartonneries de Wallonie will be able to offer its clients particular flexibility in terms of minimum desired quantities. “New businesses often need smaller volumes of packaging. Yet we can also
guarantee continuity and service for larger volumes thanks to the back-up of a large, integrated group. For us, this goes hand in hand with the philosophy of staying close to your customers. This is an important asset,” said VPK spokesperson Liesbeth Roelandt.
VPK believes the site at Courcelles is an excellent operating base, offering direct access to major highways and being near a range of industrial activities.
017_018_vpk_winter_2015.indd 17 3/12/15 16:47
18 wallonia and brussels magazineWINTER 2015/2016
its existing sites and set up a greenfield pro ect near the town of Br eg. “It has allowed us to take up a leading position in the sheet-feeding business,” says Roelandt. Earlier this year, the group also opened its first site in Ireland. “We are continuously looking to perpetuate our leading market position by further improving our geographical coverage as well as the quality of our services.”
Established in 1935, VPK Packaging Group has expanded from small beginnings to operating more than 35 plants in 12 countries. The group’s growth strategy is built on fully integrated production processes, a solid financial structure and a strong focus on establishing long-term relationships with its customers
VPK’s product range includes tailor-made solutions for corrugated board and solid board packaging, tubes, cores and edge protectors. All these products are fully recyclable. The group has also been active in paper production since its beginning, and its paper is made exclusively from recycled fibres.
“Our long-term goal is to continue on our path of sustainable growth. And you can only achieve this by being open to opportunities and partnerships,” says Roelandt
The group says it is supportive of local entrepreneurship, which creates an inspiring environment for staff and fertile ground for innovation. “Together these contribute to satisfying the toughest demands of our customers. Indeed, staying close to our customers is a key characteristic of P . It’s what has led to our success over the past eighty years, and will continue to drive us forwards into the future.”
“Our group has a successful history of local entrepreneurship. The start-up in Wallonia is fully in line with our proven corporate strategy. We’re looking forward to expanding our local market presence as well as enlarging our services towards existing customers,” said CEO Pierre Macharis.
The group estimates that once production is up and running, the site will bring 30 new jobs to the area. These operational, technical, logistical and commercial positions will be filled locally.
“Wallonia offers interesting business opportunities,” says Roelandt. “The economic fabric consists of both large corporations and smaller and medium-si ed companies. If you want to make your business profitable, you need to customise product offer and services and adapt them to the local markets. Combined with logistical advantages, it makes fertile ground for investments.”
The investment in Wallonia follows significant investments in the expansion of VPK’s activities in southwest Poland last year. The group extended one of
Our long-term goal is to continue on our path of sustainable growthLIESBETH ROELANDT
017_018_vpk_winter_2015.indd 18 3/12/15 16:47
19wallonia and brussels magazineWINTER 2015/2016
Creative thinkingMeet the artisans who are reviving arts and crafts in the region
BY KAREN MCHUGH AND SARAH CREW
They are the unsung heroes of the local economy. Inspired by their creativity, drive and
passion, these artists benefit everyone in the community. Wallonia has long had a history of traditional skills, and in recent years there has been a remarkable renaissance of hand-crafted and locally made products. This awakening interest in provenance
and authenticity challenges consumers to think more about what they buy. Another motivation for acquiring high-quality crafts is the stories behind individual pieces. All these artisans love their craft and the privileged reputation they have with their clients, who are increasingly coming from abroad. The future of traditional crafts in Wallonia is looking healthy.
Eric ParmentierWith Angelina Jolie among his celebrity clients and an order book full for the next two years, pocket knife craftsman Eric Parmentier has no need to advertise.
s one of the finest artisans in his field, he uses only quality materials – mother
019_023_artisans_Winter_2015.indd 19 3/12/15 16:51
20 wallonia and brussels magazineWINTER 2015/2016
of pearl, steel, mammoth ivory – to create exclusive and elegant objects that feature his own patented opening and closing mechanism. “They are not at all aggressive,” he says. “They appeal to those with an adventurous spirit.”
Emilienne et Paula Each of Caroline Crunelle’s colourful handmade bags is an exclusive creation. After years of doing patchwork as a hobby, the mother-of-four from Mons launched her business after encouragement from family and friends. “I’m passionate about fabric and I love working with such a diversity of materials. Each bag is unique.” Crunelle sells her “chic, yet practical bags” via fairs, private sales and online.
Pascal JeanjeanThe bibliophile and master paper-maker designs and makes personalised paper for companies and institutions such the Louvre in Paris. “Orders are so diverse that I like to meet the client first,” he says. “The reflection, vision and conception required is similar to that of a chef inventing a dish. It requires personality,” says the craftsman, considered one the best handmade paper-makers in the world.
Et Si… Jeweller Géraldine Raulier describes herself as an artisan because she doesn’t feel like she works every day. “What I particularly love is creating an object out of raw material,” she says. In her case this is fairtrade silver and gold. “Alongside my collection, I make pendants engraved with names and messages for special occasions.” Raulier’s work is available from select boutiques and her workshop in Solre-sur-Sambre. She is also developing her brand abroad.
Malakine In Malakine, Catherine Malvaux aims to create a jewellery line that stands out from the tradition of everyday wearable jewels. “My sources of inspiration are nature, animals. Each piece tells a joyful and colourful story.” Currently with a presence in Belgium and St Tropez, Malakine intends to expand to Paris and London in the near future, and tends toward individual styling. “We privilege a private clientele, with the idea of creating tailor-made jewels.”
Atelier Van Tesch Magali Tesch set up her atelier in 2007, making high-end jewellery that can be worn every day. Inspired by the architecture of Bruges, she remains faithful to traditional techniques; everything is handmade. “I dream of seeing my jewellery in the windows of big jewellery shops; of working in Paris and London,” she says. To launch her designs abroad, Tesch takes on the UK market at the Spring Fair in Birmingham next February.
Maison Bernard DepoorterFor Bernard Depoorter, fashion is a vocation. He was inspired in childhood by a collection of designer dresses discovered in his attic, and by his stylish mother: “a lady who liked wearing beautiful clothes.” He specialises in haute couture, with a dramatic yet timeless style, and has been worn by Princess athilde on an official trip abroad. He is now also developing his ready-to-wear line.
Tamawa The Bakelite ball’s shape was what attracted Hubert Verstraeten to it as a source material for jewellery and design. “It’s a universal form, it belongs to every kind of culture,” he says. Made from the hard plastic used for snooker balls, each sphere is manufactured in Belgium and then incorporated into designs for his jewellery – rings and necklaces, but also watches, coat-stands and peppermills.
Lilù Lilù operate from their atelier, from which they sell their handbags on Rue du Bailli. “We offer tailor-made options to clients – they can pick a design for a bag and we make it in the leather they choose.” They’re not after world domination; rather, their ideal evolution is “to keep creation in our workshops: one or two more points of sales and to keep the direct contact with our clientele.”
NiyonaBased in the centre of Brussels in Rue Dansaert, Niyona styles itself as a concept store as well as creator of leather goods. “We had a desire to return to the source, towards local expertise and production,” says owner Jonathan Wieme. They also offer workshops, courses and repairs at the premises. And the meaning behind
ello ames, their flagship store Named simply for their son.
FILE ART AND CRAFT
019_023_artisans_Winter_2015.indd 20 3/12/15 16:51
wallonia and brussels magazineWINTER 2015/2016
Maison Bernard Depoorter
019_023_artisans_Winter_2015.indd 21 3/12/15 16:51
22 wallonia and brussels magazineWINTER 2015/2016
FILE ART AND CRAFT
A � eur d’Ame As a florist, Isabelle Marloye was inspired by seeing how clients expressed their emotions in selecting flowers. After studying as a herbalist in Canada, she discovered floral elixirs and has since developed a therapeutic business in Namur that explores the link between flowers and well-being. As well as personal coaching and workshops, she shows corporate clients how “creating a natural perfume is a fun way of boosting self-confidence.”
Mosaic StudioFrom his Dinant workshop, Marq Rawls crafts original handmade mosaics for interiors and exteriors. Combining Roman and Byzantine tradition with contemporary designs, he creates unique panels, walls and fl oors in crystal glass for clients in France, Russia, Poland, the Baltic states and South Korea. “We are not in the business of quantity but quality and durability,” he says, “as well as the beauty and exceptional nature of our projects.”
Lady MoonMonthie Mulquin, aka Moon, swapped life as a teacher for that of a stylist. As well as her own range of 100% Made in Belgium clothing for women, men and children, she runs creative workshops and collaborates with other artists in the region. “It’s important for me to have a label that is also a lifestyle concept; made-to-measure clothes in limited series and bright and subdued colours.”
Françoise LesageThe Ardennes-based ceramic artist draws on her background as an engraver to mix techniques, whether it be for designing lamps, working with porcelain, creating decorative children’s furniture or making original fl oor tiles for architect designed homes. The latter dominates her schedule. “I don’t have time to go looking for business,” she says, “so professional fairs such as Maison & Objets in Paris are really important.”
La Boîte à PapaWhen Stéphanie Mathu was inspired to give her husband a surprise present after the birth of their daughter, the seed of a business idea was planted. The couple launched an online business compiling original gift boxes for births - for all members of the family - and any celebratory event. A shop now adjoins their village home from where her mother, sister and two other dressmakers make all the textile elements. “We’re a real family business,” she says.
Albert Hardiquestniting anti ue lovers with a specifi c
piece of furniture, painting or object is the motivation for Albert Hardiquest, based in Vielsalm and Brussels. Depending on the object’s age and condition, his team of specialists renovate from start to fi nish. “I would like to develop a professional network to share different techniques with other businesses,” he says. He is inspired “by imagining the previous life of an object”.
Philippe Ongena Stone sculptor Philippe Ongena’s creations range from the decorative to the practical, comprising barbeques and garden tables as well as sculptures and fountains. “The inspiration for me is the movement of the water on the stone,” he says. His works appear in gardens and parks across the country. Now approaching retirement, Ongena will continue his trade but plans to spend more time on creative pieces.
Louise KopijFor Louise Kopij, starting her own jewellery atelier was a creative path towards freedom and knowledge: “I love working with my hands, translating the images that come into my head,” she says. Among her signature styles is the use of feathers in her designs. With two points of sale already in New York, Kopij will also be presenting her work at the national popup store this winter in Hong Kong.
PauquetThe son of a jeweller, Olivier Pauquet showed an early interest in his father’s trade and studied as a gemologist, culminating in a coveted Lauréat du Travail. “I am heir to careful craftsmanship, but I’m also constantly seeking new ideas,” he says. Pearls are Pauquet’s forte, and his collection includes necklaces, rings and pendants, with a preference for opals. All are on display at his shop in Liège.
019_023_artisans_Winter_2015.indd 22 3/12/15 16:51
23wallonia and brussels magazineWINTER 2015/2016
Atelier Van Tesch
Philippe Ongena Olivier Pauquet
019_023_artisans_Winter_2015.indd 23 3/12/15 16:51
24 wallonia and brussels magazineWINTER 2015/2016
Pierre RionPierre Rion, 56, is a well-known name in Wallonia’s business world. Born in Char-leroi and holder of a master’s degree in electronic and computer engineering from the University of Liège, he has hopped from opportunity to opportunity to end up on the board of directors of some 15 companies based in Wallonia. As a reputable business angel, his engagement in helping SMEs to grow has played a major role in boosting the local economy. This year he has been recognised by the regional government with the distinction of Officier du rite Wallon. t the same time, the government has made use of Rion’s expertise in the digital economy by appoint-ing him to preside over the regional governmental advisory committee for digital development.
One of my greatest drivers is my energy, alongside my thirst for diversity
024_025_portrait_winter_2015.indd 24 3/12/15 16:52
25wallonia and brussels magazineWINTER 2015/2016
Where did you start out?
I started working in 1973 at the early age of 14, and paid my way through university. Fresh out of university, it was during my military service, which at the time was still compulsory, with the Gendarmerie that I created my first company, Dedrion, which specialised in PCs and PC networks. The company did well, winning contracts with Japanese banks and the likes of IBM. After selling Dedrion I joined the Flemish company Prodata, which specialised in electronic point-of-sale systems and ticketing, and it was here that I saw my first opportunity to grow a company through a merger.
IRIS, known only at the time for optical character recognition, was experiencing financial difficulties, and on my recommendation merged with one of Prodata’s divisions. The merger was a success and Prodata appointed me as CEO. Shortly after, I joined forces with Pierre De Meulenaere, one of the co-founders of IRIS, to carry out a management buyout, buying IRIS from Prodata and creating what is known today as the IRIS Group. After expanding the company’s remit and turning it around financially, we were ready to put it on the stock market in 1999. I left the IRIS Group in 2001 but remained on its board of directors for the following 10 years. As I gradually divested my shares, I prepared to spread my wings as a business angel.
You have a wide portfolio as a business angel. What drives this variety?
I consider myself lucky to have had the opportunity to be involved in some
of Wallonia’s high profile business developments that have flourished into successful enterprises. That’s why I feel the need to go out and help other entrepreneurs both as an investor and as a consultant. One of my greatest drivers is my energy, alongside my thirst for diversity. It’s therefore no mystery that you see my name on the board of directors or as a shareholder of such a broad spectrum of businesses: Pairi Daiza, Banque CPH, PR consultants akkanto, Belrobotics, to name but a few.
My core interest in electronics is also very prominent in the businesses I am or have been involved in, notably DCinex, the European leader in digital equipment for movie theatres, EVS Broadcast Equipment and IDDI, specialists in data for clinical trials. My most recent appointment as an external mandate is with the SA IPM Group, owners of the French-language newspapers La Libre and La Dernière Heure.
I am also driven by my passion for flying as a trained pilot, being involved in the business of business travel is important to me. As a result, I have founded an aviation company that flies Wallonia’s SME owners all over Europe. And my scope stretches to the export business: I am the vice president of the Agence pour le ommerce xt rieur, whose mission is to oversee all of Belgium’s foreign trade operations.
What are your ambitions for Wallonia’s digital future?
The regional government has pledged to invest in giving the region and the economy a digital makeover. After numerous discussions with key players
and consultants in the field, we’ve put forward 50 recommendations aimed at transforming the region’s infrastructure in terms of intelligence and connectivity. The recommendations are based on making digital expertise available to companies to increase their digital intensity and accelerate growth, making them more competitive and using digital innovation as a driver for better standards in education, greater efficiency in public services and enhanced well-being of citizens. I intend to create a dialogue with the government to ensure that the majority of these recommendations are put into practice.
What do you do in your spare time?
Apart from enjoying time with my family, one of my greatest passions is winemaking. Back in 1993, I co-founded the Domaine de Mellemont, one of Wallonia’s major vineyards. I am keen to bring back wine growing in Wallonia and to promote the many wines we can already boast in the region. I was recently elected president of Wallonia’s association of wine growers and plan to use my contacts and influence in seeing that regional wines are served during regional and federal cabinet meetings and at official events.
What are the main ingredients of your success?
I believe in making the most of each day, which for me means early to bed and early to rise. Thanks to my Catholic upbringing, I’ve always adhered to a certain sense of duty and – maybe my not-so-Catholic side – I rarely take no for an answer.
024_025_portrait_winter_2015.indd 25 3/12/15 16:52
26 wallonia and brussels magazineWINTER 2015/2016
Smart cookiesClever rebranding and a return to its roots have helped Maison Dandoy reclaim its place in the biscuit market
BY LEO CENDROWICZ
026_028_dandoy_Winter_2015.indd 26 3/12/15 16:54
27wallonia and brussels magazineWINTER 2015/2016
There is something both reassuringly familiar and strangely quirky about Maison
Dandoy, the 186-year-old bakery that is coolly reinventing itself. Their boutiques in Brussels, Waterloo and Tokyo are arranged with the slick precision of Apple stores. Yet the warm, exquisite flavours of their speculoos biscuits, lemon cakes, gingerbread and other delicacies are enough to transport sweet-toothed visitors back to their childhood kitchen.
This is part of a scheme that has successfully reinvigorated the illustrious biscuit- and cake-maker as it approaches its third century. After years in which it risked drifting into stuffiness and obscurity, aison andoy is now firmly back in Brussels as one of the city’s – and the country’s – many delicious food purveyors.
Much of the credit for the update lies with one of the scions of the Dandoy family, Alexandre Helson. “We relaunched in 2012, and it was really a big, big move for us. Our aim was to transform a local family business into a global family brand,” he says.
elson is officially andoy’s business development manager, reporting to his father, CEO Bernard. However, it is Alexandre, just 29, who is the driving creative force behind Dandoy’s marketing.
e glides around the new offices and production plant in Woluwe-Saint-Lambert as he explains the heritage and the baking process. As well as revamping its brand, Dandoy uprooted in 2014 from its former home near Rue Dansaert in central Brussels. This is where they had been for 40 years, in an old print works with apartments, where Helson himself was born. Before that, Dandoy was based in Rue au Beurre, the address near the Grand’ Place that still features on the packaging.
The new factory has much more space, with easy-to-maintain plastic and metal surfaces. Ingredients are stored in large tubs. The main trinity is flour, sugar and butter, all from Belgium. Others include powdered ginger, cinnamon, vanilla, cloves, pistachios and chocolate. Marzipan is made on site, mixing powdered almonds with sugar.
In the centre of the kitchen is Dandoy’s chef alem, a man with a finely manicured beard who has been there for 24 years. But he’s far from the longest-serving member of staff: that would be Daniel, a production supervisor who started when he was just 15 and has been there for 43 years.
elson is laid back as he tours the floor. He points to the new biscuit making machines, which are very similar to those from over a century ago, only with
electric power and resin drum moulds. And the traditional carved wooden moulds are still used for large speculoos biscuits, some of which are over a metre long. Some of the newer moulds are specifically commissioned for clients like Delvaux and ING. “Saint-Nicolas is the biggest day of the year for Dandoy,” Helson says, noting that they produce a tonne of speculoos a day during that period.
With lines including the Earl Grey, the Florentine, langue de chat (cat tongue), feuilles de palmier (palm leaves) and pain à la grecque (literally Greek bread, or bread pudding with cinnamon) Dandoy makes 50 products. One of the oldest and most famous, the biscotte – or rusk – was so popular that it was the only product Dandoy was allowed to make during the rationing era of the 1930s and World War Two.
But while their products are as delicious as they were when they first emerged from Jean-Baptiste Dandoy’s oven in 1829, the image of the brand has seemed stale in recent years. The previous packaging had classical gold lettering over a maroon label, but there were many confusing exceptions, with different types of packaging. None of this did much to win new customers, who knew little about the bakery’s illustrious background. “It was too old before. It felt it was aimed just at old grandmothers. It needed to feel more alive,” Helson says.
Helson, whose master’s thesis was on his family’s firm, felt it failed to connect with younger generations, and he enlisted a design agency to help revive it. “I knew we had to put in place a marketing strategy, but didn’t realise how big it would be,” he says. The resulting strategy overhauled the entire look of the bakery, from its packaging and its boutiques to its branding and slogans. It is respectful of the past, while showing an endearing cheekiness, retaining Maison Dandoy’s
Our aim was to transform a local family business into a global family brandALEXANDRE HELSON
026_028_dandoy_Winter_2015.indd 27 3/12/15 16:54
28 wallonia and brussels magazineWINTER 2015/2016
legacy while updating it. “We looked at brands like Ladurée and Hermés to learn about consistency, Helson says. For us, the golden dot is our signature.
Dandoy’s central product is the speculoos, Belgium’s most traditional biscuit, but one Helson wanted to claim for his own. He argued that Maison Dandoy’s long history of baking the delicacy meant it could identify with speculoos as much as Dijon’s Maille could with French mustard.
But the resulting slogans were deliberately playful, as Helson felt the tone needed to reflect aison andoy’s warm, generous and human character. “Dandoy is about people, about Brussels, about smiles. For us, biscuits should be for everyone,” he says. This offset the subtle high-end branding of the products as the most sumptuous of biscuits – the quirkiness would undercut any pricing concerns. “It has humour. It’s not pretentious, not bling bling. Is it luxury? Who cares! Maison Dandoy is fun. It’s about pleasure.”
The rebranding also brought back the original Dandoy logo, a windmill. “The logo reflects the N of the brand,” Helson says, adding that even he is unsure of its origins, but assumes it has something to do with the traditional flour mills.
Another homecoming was the original company name, Maison Dandoy, harking back to its humble origins and unique family history in the heart of Brussels. “We looked back to our heritage when we changed our branding from Dandoy to Maison Dandoy,” says Helson. “We date back to 1829, after all. We’re a year older than Belgium itself.”
The results were emphatic: sales rose 20 percent after the 2012 rebrand, to €5.6 million. But Helson is far from done in repositioning Dandoy.
One aim, in line with the theme of oddball sophistication, is associating Dandoy with art and culture. It has already been a supplier for Belgian
fashion designer Ann Demeulemeester, and ultra-hip Parisian store Collette is also asking to stock its products.
And there are special links with luxury leather goods maker Delvaux, which was also founded in 1829 and had a factory in the same Dansaert neighbourhood. Delvaux made a single special bag for Dandoy, covered in gold dots, when they celebrated their 185th birthday together in 2014: it was won by a lucky buyer of the Dandoy 185 package that hid a golden ticket.
There are other ventures, too. Dandoy’s latest boutique on Place Stéphanie in Brussels is testing a €5 coffee and biscuit pack, as the bakery dips its toes into the takeaway coffee market. Meanwhile, Helson is pondering exports, and how to sell to retailers. “Dandoy is not suited to be stacked on shelves,” he says. “We have our identity, and want people to encounter our products in the right way.”
026_028_dandoy_Winter_2015.indd 28 3/12/15 16:54
29wallonia and brussels magazineWINTER 2015/2016
Art attackCharleroi’s cultural revolution continues as contemporary art space BPS22 re-opens after renovation
BY SARAH CREW
After 18 months of renovation, Charleroi’s visual art beacon has re-opened as the Art Museum of
the Province of Hainaut. Promoted to museum status with responsibility for the province’s 6,000-work collection, BPS22 is now one of the largest art museums in Wallonia and Brussels, as well as one of the most audacious.
striking industrial edifice in the upper quarter of the city, it was built to house the fine arts pavilion of the 1 11 commercial and industrial exhibition. Testament to Charleroi’s 19th-century economic wealth, it was inspired by religious architecture and the cathedral-like building subsequently became a
site for industrial workshops under the name Batîment Provincial Solvay, at 22 Boulevard Solvay. After falling into neglect during the 1990s, it was converted to exhibit contemporary art in 2000, and abbreviated to BPS22.
Under director Pierre-Olivier Rollin it has forged a reputation for bold exhibitions. From the singular universe of Charleroi-born sculptor Johan Muyle to punk culture in Europe and contemporary art in the world of football, the unifying theme continues to be local and popular culture. Rollin has also been committed to transforming the industrial hangar into a site that meets modern museum standards.
He is relieved and not without pride that the building has finally been elevated to museum status. “It’s now a tool and an efficient one,” he says. “The renovation has been a real success and not simply an architectural gesture. We are very happy with it.” ollin confronts the reality that Charleroi epitomises the region’s ongoing recovery from the post-industrial downturn. “We don’t have enormous budgets and we need to have a different point of view, so we always try and show something that cannot be seen elsewhere in Belgium.”
BPS22’s 2,500m2 space is a place where art can be experienced on a large and a small scale, while the integrity and
Kelley SS Future Primitive, BPS22
029_031_BPSS22_winter_2015_OK.indd 29 4/12/15 12:08
30 wallonia and brussels magazineWINTER 2015/2016
Yinka Shonibare, Scramble for Africa, and Marcel Berlanger, Arlequin
singularity of the architectural heritage has been preserved. The raw space of the 1,200m2 Grand Hall lends itself to experimental art, while the new 800m2 white box is a modernist area that better suits museum exhibits. Combined with more intimate spaces, including a small projection room, the hybrid building provides a totally modern museum environment both for visitors and the works it displays.
Led by Archiscénographie Roland, the renovation was completed on time and within its €4 million budget (excluding VAT and fees). Finance was forthcoming from the Brussels and Wallonia Federation, the Walloon region, Hainaut province and the city of Charleroi. The grand re-opening in September fell under the patronage of Mons 2015 European Capital of Culture. “This was a great opportunity as it gave the inauguration great energy,” says ollin.
At the core of BPS22’s artistic and educational heritage and mission is a commitment to shine a light on the world. Rollin describes this objective as
“having one’s feet on the ground with eyes looking up to the stars”. is view is that encouraging contemporary culture in its widest sense is necessary to meet the challenges of a future society. This means other artistic disciplines will be invited to use the museum, but always with a link to visual arts. The contemporary art vocation is expanded. Rollin: “We will also diversify to show classical and modern art as we now have the province’s collections that date from the 1 th century.” The collection was started in the 1980s and consists of more than 6,000 works. It covers artists with a connection to the region or the Surrealist movement, such as Constantin Meunier, Pol Bury, Marcel Broodthaers, Anna Boch and Wim Delvoye. In addition, there are trusted international names who explore the relationship between art and power, among them Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman and Banks Violette, plus an archive of documents on punk art.
The opening exhibition, The World Turned Upside Down, pursues the dialogue between contemporary art and
We always try and show something that cannot be seen elsewhere in Belgium
029_031_BPSS22_winter_2015_OK.indd 30 4/12/15 12:09
31wallonia and brussels magazineWINTER 2015/2016
popular culture. The title is drawn from a 17th-century British protest ballad, adopted by historian Christopher Hill for a study of the origins of revolutionary ideas that would overthrow the monarchy or the old established world. Each of the 40 artists contributes to this exchange, drawing on folklore, ancestral traditions and artisan techniques.
During a festival, the usual rules of society are turned upside down. So familiar local folklore events are among the subjects that greet visitors when they enter the new white box. Marcel Berlanger’s triptych on Binche carnival is one work commissioned for the exhibition. The three large paintings are a series of carnival images which, as the viewer draws closer, reveal an insight into the Belgian artist’s process and technique. German artist Carsten Höller’s decorative carousel is nostalgically familiar yet eerie in its silent slow movement. In Scramble for Africa by British-born Nigerian Yinka Shonibare, 14 headless mannequins dressed in vibrantly coloured African batik fabric sit around a wooden table.
A map of Africa in 1855 is drawn on the table, the date of the Berlin conference when colonial powers carved up the continent.
In the vast industrial space, which retains its original flooring and stripped walls, large-scale installations dominate. Pascale Marthine Tayou’s Home Sweet Home is a sculptural and sensory nest of bird cages dotted with upside-down statuettes of frican figures produced for the tourist market. The Cameroon artist who lives in Belgium questions notions of home and identity. Statues wrapped in danger-warning red-and-white plastic are another eye-catching exhibit by South African Kendell Geers. The long-time BPS22 collaborator has placed his asexual figures on shelves, facing inwards in a symbolic, mysterious stance.
The exhibition showcases the full potential of the site. In the lofty and light filled Grand all, the contextual works can be viewed from varying perspectives and yet combine seamlessly with the new areas. Rollin, who curated the inaugural show, is delighted with the
results and the public’s reaction. “There is an abundance of works and subject matter. It’s fun and it takes you into a festival atmosphere with the idea of a carnival.”
It also deliberately reinforces the international positioning of BPS22. The museum’s future programming reflects this international stance while promoting local creativity. “We will continue to develop a maximum of international pro ects,” says ollin. Next year, BPS22 will turn to its own collection to stage a major retrospective of the work of the late Belgian artist Marthe Wéry and in 2017, a solo show of skateboards by the Frenchman Raphaël Zarka. The latter promises to be another playful experience with a sculpture park and place for youngsters to skate. A skate park may not have been on the architect’s specifications, but it’s likely to be one of many surprise elements in the future of BPS22 as a dynamic player in the region’s cultural and social fabric.
Johan Muyle, Q(c)hi mangerà, vivrà
Pascale Marthine Tayou, Home Sweet Home
029_031_BPSS22_winter_2015_OK.indd 31 4/12/15 12:09
32 wallonia and brussels magazineWINTER 2015/2016
032_033_Panorama_Winter_2015.indd 32 3/12/15 16:56
33wallonia and brussels magazineWINTER 2015/2016
The Adventures of AliceWith the air of an ingénue and
the voice of an angel, singer-songwriter Alice on the Roof is
living up to her name. Since the 21-year-old from Mons released her debut electro-pop single, Easy Come, Easy Go, in spring 2015, her career has skyrocketed. After dominating radio waves all summer, she is currently touring Belgium and Europe ahead of her first album release in January. Despite her youth, Alice Dutoit has always been serious about her music.
After studying piano at the local conservatory, she spent a year at school in the US, where she sang in a choir. On returning home she signed up for The Voice Belgium, reaching the semi finals with Suarez band member Marc Pinilla as her coach. Fellow Montois Pinilla signed her up to his record company and a worldwide contract with Sony and Pias Belgium followed. For her first album, lice sent her songs to British producer and mixer Tim Bran, who boasts London Grammar and La Roux among his recent international successes. Playing on her fragile voice and sensual, melancholic lyrics, the resulting album, Higher, promises more of her bittersweet journey from adolescence to adulthood.
032_033_Panorama_Winter_2015.indd 33 3/12/15 16:56
34 wallonia and brussels magazineWINTER 2015/2016
SEASONAL EVENTSCHRISTMAS MARKETSA winter staple not to be missed, the Christmas market heralds the start of the festive season. Drawing tourists from all around Europe, Plaisirs d’Hiver in Brussels has expanded this year, taking in the new pedestrian zone which is to be illuminated by a thousand lights. The ice rink will be at Place de le Monnaie, with the Grand’ Place playing host to its biggest ever tree and the always-impressive sound and light show. Other markets of note across the region include those of Liège and Namur, and for something really different, head to the Grottes de Wonck near the border with Holland – an artisanal market held in a labyrinth of caves, on the second weekend of December. WHAT? CHRISTMAS MARKETS
WHEN? THROUGHOUT DECEMBER
WHERE? ACROSS BRUSSELS &
NEW YEAR’S EVEIt can be tricky to find the best vantage point and not end up with a tall building in front of you, but the fireworks display in Brussels is worth the effort. This year’s spectacle takes place at Place de Brouckère, which, with the whole area car-free for the first time, should benefit from a relaxed and festive atmosphere. You can also ring in the New Year at the various fireworks displays taking place across Wallonia, including in Tournai and Liège. WHAT? NEW YEAR’S EVE FIREWORKS
WHEN? 31 DECEMBER
WHERE? ACROSS BRUSSELS &
BINCHE CARNIVAL Recognised by Unesco as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, the annual carnival at Binche draws thousands of visitors every year. Festivities begin on Sunday but Shrove Tuesday is the main event, as people come to watch almost 1,000 Gilles parade through town with their elaborate feathered headpieces, throwing oranges into the crowd. For three days the town is gripped with carnival fever, with preparations beginning months in advance. WHAT? CARNIVAL
WHEN? 7-9 FEBRUARY
EUROPALIA: THE ABSENCE OF A PERMANENT IAs part of the Europalia festival, Le Grand Hornu in Hainaut will host the work of young Belgian artist Gauthier Oushoorn. Centred on his residence in Turkey, the exhibition will explore religious architecture in Islamic countries through the media of video, sculpture and photography. If this exhibition piques your interest, you can continue into Brussels for the rest of Europalia at Bozar. WHAT? THE ABSENCE OF A PERMANENT I
WHEN? UNTIL 21 FEBRUARY
WHERE? GRAND HORNU
2050: A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE FUTUREBased on the prospective history book A Brief History of the Future, this contemporary art exhibition – shared with the Louvre in Paris – focuses on the nine ‘hearts’ of the world in terms of evolution and revolution: looking at certain cities and how they have propelled us into the future. While exploring the major issues of our time such as over-consumption and inequality, it also looks at the role played by utopianism in influencing changes in our future. A must for those who like to ponder time and its implications. WHAT? 2050: A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE
WHEN? UNTIL 24 JANUARY
WHERE? ROYAL MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS,
TRANSARDENTESOne of the biggest electronic music events in Belgium, Transardentes is the ‘little brother’ of its summer counterpart, Les Ardentes. The one-day festival hosts acts from all across Europe, with notable former headliners including Rudimental, Lost Frequencies and Laurent Garnier. Be there for your first musical fix of the new year. WHAT? LES TRANSARDENTES
WHEN? 23 JANUARY
WHERE? HALLES DES FOIRES, LIEGE
034_035_Agenda_Winter_2015.indd 34 3/12/15 16:58
35wallonia and brussels magazineWINTER 2015/2016
THE REAL GILLEGautier Dewinter is the head of the Association pour la Défense du Folklore in Binche, and has also been a Gille since the age of six, dressing up and taking part in the town’s traditional Carnival celebrations each year. “It stays in the memory; it came from my father from generation to generation,” he says.
“Being a Gille is something unique, I’m extremely proud. It represents a culture, a tradition, and Belgium.” The night before Mardi Gras he doesn’t sleep much and gets very nervous, eventually getting up around 3.30 to get ready for the parade. The Gille’s wife, mother or daughter dresses him in his costume. The parade begins an hour later with family, then at around 9.00 the tourists arrive. In the six weeks that precede Carnival, there are preparations for all the Gilles. “The hat is not comfortable at all,” he says. “We practise so that on the day, we’re prepared.”
Typically a Gille will continue participating while they have the strength to support the heavy costume, usually until around the age of 70. “Physically it’s very difficult when you get old. I’ll continue while I have the fitness.”
Dewinter says it’s a magical atmosphere being among the families and spectators, especially since the Gilles are all friends. And it’s not just for that day – they talk about carnival all year. “Once it’s finished, we start work on the next.” The Gilles spend a lot of time together, organising dinners and activities so they see each other and stay connected. “All the families live for that – it’s extraordinary, unique in the world. That’s why it’s recognised by Unesco. It’s something magic. It’s my job. It’s my life; it’s my whole life.”
ANIMA Now in its 35th edition, Anima will celebrate animation films over 10 days in Brussels this spring. With short films and features as well as workshops, exhibitions and talks from filmmakers, there’s a full programme to be enjoyed. This year there will be a special focus on animation from Japan and the UK, and certain films will be also shown in cities in Wallonia. WHAT? ANIMA FESTIVAL
WHEN? 5-14 FEBRUARY
WHERE? FLAGEY, BRUSSELS
BE FILM FESTIVALFor those in Brussels over the festive period, the Be Film Festival is a good alternative to spending Christmas on the couch and an opportunity to see the stars of Belgian cinema. Five days of features includes sneak peeks at next year’s movies and a chance to see the Belgian films you may have missed throughout the year. This year’s programme includes Le Tout Nouveau Testament (pictured) as well as short productions. WHAT? BE FILM FESTIVAL
WHEN? 26-31 DECEMBER
WHERE? BOZAR & CINEMATEK,
034_035_Agenda_Winter_2015.indd 35 3/12/15 16:58
Highly skilled AVAILABLEWORKFORCE
an exceptional QUALITYOF LIFE
in 14 years1250 CONSUMERSr e a c h a b l e
WITHIN ONE DAY400 M
Very high density of UNIVERSITIES and higher education establishments
of businessturnover comesfrom EXPORTS70%
036_036_BackCover_Winter_2015.indd 1 3/12/15 16:59