C.A.B. ART CENTER

Brussels

Belgium

A passionate art lover and seasoned visitor to museums and exhibitions throughout the world, Olivier Dwek chose his ideal museum space a long time ago: the Fondation Beyeler, in the leafy suburb of Basel. Built by Renzo Piano in 1997, the museum enjoys a quality of natural light that enhances the works and offers the experience of immersion in a dematerialised space, conducive to contemplation.

The CAB, a private art centre in the heart of Brussels, also benefits from generous natural light. It enters the exhibition space through two lateral skylights stretching the entire length of this former coal warehouse. The sunlight sculpts the space, caressing the white or pale concrete surfaces.

Playing on the rough-hewn quality of this industrial heritage and fostering a respect for a certain continuity, Olivier Dwek has preserved a number of elements, such as these impressive concrete pilasters. Others have been redesigned in the spirit of the original building. We are reminded of other cultural spaces, such as the Musée d’Orsay, where in 1979 the project by the firm of architects ACT was selected owing to its profound respect for Victor Laloux’s original architecture. Nevertheless, Olivier Dwek chose here to alternate between original elements and contemporary interventions. Thus several elements assert their contemporariness, whilst fulfilling the requirements for high-tech installations that optimise the quality of the displays, the preservation of the works and the quality of the visitors’ experience.

©Serge Anton