Ravenstein Gallery - a trip to the 50s

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This is one of my favorite spots in Brussels, a true lomographer's paradise, especially for those who like 50's architecture. The Ravenstein gallery was in fact built between 1954 and 1958, right on time for the Expo '58, the international exhibition that radically transformed the city. Apart from the Atomium, there's very little left of the actual Expo, but in the city you can still find here and there some fine examples of the architecture and spirit of that time.

This is one of my favorite spots in Brussels, a true lomographer’s paradise, especially for those who like 50’s architecture. The Ravenstein gallery was in fact built between 1954 and 1958, right on time for the Expo ‘58, the international exhibition that radically transformed the city. Apart from the Atomium, there’s very little left of the actual Expo, but in the city you can still find here and there some fine examples of the architecture and spirit of that time.

The Ravenstein gallery links rue Ravenstein and the Cantersteen and is located right in the center of Brussels, very close to some other very photographic sites, like Horta’s central station, the Palais des Congrès (another 50’s landmark, currently being renovated), the music instruments museum (located in an amazing Art Nouveau building) and, of course, la Grand Place.

As for the gallery itself, it was conceived to function as a mall combining both tradition and modernity: the structure is clearly inspired in the typical 19th century covered passages (like the Galleries de la Reine) but the choice of materials and the decoration is undoubtedly 50’s, as one can see in the huge dome and corridor, both built using glass bricks, and the tile covered floors. Also worth mentioning are the ceiling paintings at the main entrance, which depict the Winds and Constellations and, at the other end, a very peculiar circular fountain covered with mosaic.

However, what I particularly like about the place is its very special and somewhat nostalgic atmosphere. Nowadays it is slowly but surely recovering some of its former shine (I wouldn’t dare to say glory) with the arrival of some new shops and cafes and because it’s located just opposite the Bozar, one of the city’s main cultural centers, but it still has this run down dusty feeling that, for an instant, sort of transports you to passed times.

written by jelga on 2008-10-22 in #world #locations

One Comment

  1. dirklancer
    dirklancer ·

    lovely gallery!

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