Learning from... Brussels

Talk, in French, Paul Desmarais Theatre, 19 April 2012 , 7pm

Rotor members Michael Ghyoot and Maarten Gielen investigate the processes and practices of material management in Brussels and its suburbs. The concept of waste played a key role in their research and was informed by hundreds of visits to businesses, work sites, and recycling plants.

The examination of discarded, unfinished products or those considered of inferior quality helps form an opinion on what determines the success of a material on local markets. A slab of natural stone is less desirable due its irregular surface, and a series of plastic moulded objects to be sold in supermarkets is shredded due to colour inconsistency.

What is striking is the strong influence of aesthetics on these decisions. It points to the existence of a kind of consensual good taste, but also, more importantly, to how this taste is intimately linked to the practices and tools of design, distribution and production. This could bring new meaning to formal debates.

The Learning from… series takes its title from Learning From Las Vegas (1972), Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Steven Izenour’s influential publication, which analysed the commercial strips and architectural symbolism of Las Vegas in order to understand urban sprawl. In this spirit, the series brings together experts to explore specific urban conditions and their relevance to the future development of cities.


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