Sunday, March 25, 2012

ISB's International Festival

The International School of Brussels celebrated its 36th Annual International Festival yesterday. ISB's diverse community, which my family is proud to be a part of, goes all out on this special day! Fifty-seven countries were represented and approximately 30 booths provided mouth-watering food, delicious drinks, unique products, and entertainment (USA hosted line dancing!). The sunny day was kicked off with Scottish pipers and The Brussels Caledonian Corneymusers leading the Parade of Nations. Festival-goers were also treated to music, face painting, craft projects, a used book sale, raffles, and Frederico the Clown. I enjoyed working the USA booth, sampling food from around the world (including Swedish rökt renhjärta washed down with lingonberry vodka) and, of course, all the beautiful colors of this fantastic event!

One of the three festival areas

Kilted bagpipe players

Hand-painted wooden eggs from Poland

Spanish paella is my favorite food to photograph (& eat)!

Team USA!

2012 Olympic cupcakes at the UK booth

Turkish trivets

Traditional Korean dresses

Delicious drinks from Brazil

I left the Ouzo to the more daring festival-goers!

Colorful French macaroons

Norwegian treats and my friend, Bente, in her national costume

Beautiful Japanese kimonos

Friday, March 16, 2012

Maison Particulière

Maison Particulière art center is a unique nonprofit organization housed in a beautiful private residence in one my favorite neighborhoods, Châtelain. The goal when founders/art collectors Amaury and Myriam de Solages opened their doors one year ago was for "the house to be warm and convivial to welcome our guests and members in a calm and serene environment". Our group was welcomed into the 3-story townhouse by the center's director and offered coffee before we were met by Amaury and Myriam. They explained that the center's dedicated to the art of living, with works of art to view and share. Nothing is for sale but discovery, appreciation and emotion are all free for the asking. We then followed our own path exploring artwork of four art collectors, one artist, and one literary guest who were invited to present an exhibit based on a given theme of reflection. The theme through March 24th is "Lightness?" but themes and exhibits change three times a year. Speaking of, the natural light that enters through the enormous windows makes Maison Particulière a perfect showcase for contemporary art, antiquities, ceramics, archaeological pieces and primitive art. I'd say the de Solages' mission for guests "to experience the emotion of art with passion, sensitivity, and beauty" is being achieved!

Welcome room where we met Amaury and Myriam de Solages

Untitled by Anselm Reyle

One of many sitting areas with Gert & Uwe Tobias' Ohne Titel on the wall

Colorful flower arrangement

Thierry Mouillé's Tablo solo (glass); Pablo Reinoso's AP 2005 TH 11 05 Chaise (chairs); Eric Wesley's The Great Outdoors (wall art)

Raphaël de Villers' Actéon

Jacob Hashimoto's The vocabulary of attraction

Elegant piano in Maison Particulière's petit salon

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Tracking Down Color

Searching for color (other than gray) this time of year is beginning to feel like an impossible mission. I'm tempted to hibernate these last 12 days of winter but back in August I promised to "search out the array of colors this great city has to offer" and I'd much rather eat chocolate than my words! It was a stretch (case in point, the kitten postcard I found on the ground) but the spring flowers should be here soon and all will be well in my world...

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Cook & Book

I think it's obvious why Cook & Book in Brussels was recently named one of The 20 Most Beautiful Bookstores in the World. It's beyond a bookstore, beyond a great place to eat and beyond colorful! Cook & Book is comprised of two bookstores or blocs: Bloc A houses Comics, Youth, Travel, Fine Arts and Music while Bloc B features Lifestyle, Literature, Kitchen and English. The concept is cleverly designed libraries with their own unique dining experience. That's nine choices: from travel books around an American Airstream trailer cafe to a great meal at La Cucina with a vintage Fiat 500 parked alongside cookbooks, to the Greenhouse Cafe surrounded by garden and lifestyle books to hundreds of books hanging from the ceiling in the sleek literature section. All this and so much more. Interior architects Delacroix & Friant spared nothing when it came to creating an innovative and fanciful place to eat, read and mingle!