Monday, August 25, 2008

Brussels Flower Carpet 2008

Tapis de fleurs (detail) [from 8/2008] originally uploaded by Sainz.

Brussels' bi-annual Flower Carpet or Tapis de Fleurs took place last weekend with an official inauguration on August 14th. That celebration included a new and original music and light show [i.e., 'un spectacle son et lumiere'] directed by Grégoire Dune - live on the 14th, and rebroadcast on the 15th, 16th, and 17th at 10:00 PM, then rebroadcast at 10:00, 10:30 and 11:00 PM.

Solutia associates in our Louvain-La-Neuve location hoped to visit on behalf of The Carpetology Blog. Jacques Blomme said "I understand that this was absolutely superb but once again, almost impossible to get close unless you were ready to queue for hours. The terraces around were also totally crowded." However, Jacques forwarded me several links and resources to help bring this most recent creation to life for you. Merci, Jacques!

Something to remember for visitors who stay close to the Grand' Place: you can view the tapis de fleurs from the balcony of the Town Hall, every day, from 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM, and in 2008, you could also enjoy a special exhibit of prestigious floral themed carpets: "In precious threads, rare designs and colours, these masterpieces expand one’s knowledge and satisfy the curiosity of those who come to see the famous flower carpet. They are graciously deployed here by the internationally famous Maison Sadraee."

For you see, the 2008 Tapis de Fleurs motif featured floral and plant patterns. According to the official site of the Brussels' Flowercarpet, it was inspired by 18th century French patterns to create the world's largest Savonnerie carpet.

Image courtesy of Brussels' Flowercarpet.
The name 'Savonnerie' comes from the knotted-pile carpet factory established on the site of a former soap [i.e., savon] factory in 1627 by Pierre DuPont and Simon Lourdet, experts in carpets "in the manner of Turkey," with the royal granting of an 18 year monopoly from Louis XIII.

Per Brussels' Flowercarpet, "the designs of French carpets rapidly adopted a style where floral and plant patterns, mixed with royal and, inevitably, Christian symbols."

For example, did you know that the three petals of the fleur-de-lis represents the Holy Trinity? And the eight-pointed cross of the Templars symbolizes "the cosmic balance, the resurrection and the New Testament."

Wikipedia's entry on Savonnerie states that "the Savonnerie style soon settled into more purely French designs, densely-massed flowers in bouquets against deep blue, black or deep brown grounds, within multiple borders" which you can see here from the two images of the carpet.

According to a volunteer involved in the project, the smaller elements of the 2008 overall design made the project more difficult as described in Belgians walk on flowers. The article also details the flowers used - begonias in a myriad of colors and purple dahlias - in addition to grass, tree bark and soil.

Image courtesy of Brussels' Flowercarpet.

Some additional perspectives:

+ Arnaud posted a photo of the Brussels Flower Carpet 2008 on his Xarj Blog and Podcast. Imagine 700,000 begonias to create this ephemeral carpet masterpiece!

+ Brimming With Begonias, Thousands Of Flowers Carpet The Grand Place includes a magnificent slide show of nine photos of the 2008 tapis de fleurs.

+ YouTube features several videos on the 2008 tapis de fleurs de Bruxelles. This one [subscribers click on this link to view video of the Tapis de fleurs/Brussels Flower Carpet 2008] from abelisaurus2 gives you a taste of day and night time effects.

What a carpet chef-d'oeuvre!

If you weren't able to make it to Brussels, you have another opportunity to experience a flower carpet. This time in the United States and to be more precise at the Biltmore in North Carolina!

Inspired by the Brussels Flower Carpet and Frederick Law Olmstead, the Biltmore unveils new flower carpet on South Terrace and it takes place, for the first time ever, from August 29th through September 14th, 2008.

According to The Biltmore Estate Flower Carpet: A Living Tapestry, the Flower Carpet display is inspired by an ornate wrought iron grate inside The Biltmore House. The scale is smaller than that of the Tapis de Fleurs de Bruxelles with only 144,000 live plants used - coleus, pink and red begonias, ageratum and marigolds - for an 80 by 180 foot [i.e., 14,400 square feet] section of the South Terrace.

Nonetheless, it can only delight and inspire!

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