Baron Hortastraat has become unrecognisable. The landscape architect Bas Smets has transformed the small, dead-end street between the upper and lower city, between the violins of the Centre for Fine Arts and the drills of the BNP-Paribas building site, into a rolling landscape with trees.
Horta Horizons is an impressive wooden terrace structure on five levels. A space for lunch breaks, chats and cultural events that curves round the street to form a real amphitheatre. The trees – birches for freshness in spring, evergreen pines for winter – establish a link with the Royal Park at the top of the steps.
It’s a stage upon which BOZAR can organise outdoor events. At the same time, the amphitheatre invites commuters, the people of Brussels, tourists, artists and young people to appropriate this space. The installation will remain in place until the summer of 2021.
WHO IS BAS SMETS?
Bas Smets has a background in landscape architecture, civil engineering and architecture. He founded his office in Brussels in 2007 and has since constructed projects in more than 12 countries with his team of 17 architects and landscape architects. Starting from a precise reading of the existing land, his projects reveal a landscape, visible but yet unseen.
His realised projects include the 10-hectare park of Thurn & Taxis in Brussels, the Himara Waterfront in Albania, the landscape along the new motorway between the ports of Antwerp and Zeebruges, the memorial for the victims of the terror attacks in Brussels of 22/3, the Sunken Garden and the Mandrake hotel both located in London.
Alongside the installation there is another impressive mural by FARM PROD, the artists’ collective that previously worked on the Fernand Léger mural that graced this space. This time around, they were inspired by two of our exhibitions, namely Prints in the Age of Brueghel and Bernard van Orley. Brussels and the Renaissance. Look out for Brueghelian hunters, strange Bosch-like creatures and Van Orley’s portrait of Margaret of Austria. The mural also serves as the starting point for a street art trail of 11 murals in the city, all of which were inspired by the 2019 Brueghel year.
WHO OR WHAT IS FARM PROD?
FARM PROD, a collective of various visual artists who collaborate on a mixture of creative projects, was founded in Brussels in 2003. While all the members had received the same arts training, they each developed their own, specific skills over time. The collective is currently made up of painters, graffiti artists, graphic designers, web designers, illustrators, and video artists. For over 15 years, these different energies have organised and participated in Belgian and international social-cultural events.