World renowned for his surrealist designs and experiential installations, architect extraordinaire Charles Kaisin (@CharlesKaisin) lends his masterful eye to Maasmechelen Village, a member of The Bicester Village Shopping Collection, in a vibrant takeover that celebrates the best of Belgium. Here he gives us a glimpse into the inspiration behind the installation.
Where do you go in Belgium to get inspired?
I enjoy discovering artisans, such as the Delvaux leather studio or Pierre Marcolini. I enjoy getting lost in Antwerp and Bruges during the winter when the river is frozen. It’s like a Bruegel painting. I love to discover the abbeys in Wallonia such as Chimay, together with their cheese making. A long walk in the Ardennes forest never disappoints!
What other designers or artists do you admire?
I love the work of surrealist artists such as Magritte, as well as the new generation of contemporary artists that includes Harold Ancart, who unites abstract and figurative art.
"I enjoy getting lost in Antwerp and Bruges during the winter when the river is frozen. It’s like a Bruegel painting"
What was the inspiration behind your work in Maasmechelen Village?
My desire to dress the entire Village with a total look was inspired by the theme, `Proud to be Belgian’. I was also inspired by different iconic Belgian symbols such as the Atomium, which meant that the circular design quickly became an obvious form to use. My print, especially designed for the Village, features the three colours of the Belgium flag, and this will cover the facades and the streets of the Village.
And what about your reimagining of the Manneken Pis statue for Maasmechelen Village?
The Manneken Pis is a much-visited and rather enigmatic statuette in Belgium. We have created a six-metre 3D-printed sculpture which gives a different interpretation and reinforces the ‘child’ nature of the original piece. It’s also a metaphor to say that the younger generation is tomorrow’s future.
Discover the installation at Maasmechelen Village until 30 September and enjoy an extraordinary experience full of surprising pop-ups, delicious cuisine and, above all, exceptional art.
Visit ProudToBeBelgian.com for more information about the takeover and how to visit when you travel to Belgium.