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The Plasticarium: plastic is fantastic!

The Plasticarium: plastic is fantastic!

Georges Rouzeau - 2013-02-11

Situated in the heart of Brussels, the Plasticarium is a singular museum that spotlights the pop art years and the adventures of plastic design. Created by Belgian artist and art collector Philippe Decelle, it holds the world’s largest collection of works of art made of plastic.

Close by the historic centre of Brussels in a rather drab quarter there exists a powerful antidote to the doldrums of daily life: Philippe Decelle’s collection of plastic designer objects called the Plasticarium. Housed in a handsome Art Nouveau building, the museum is an explosion of rounded shapes and bright, flashy colours - an ode to the carefree pop years of the Golden Sixties.
Most of the objects and works of art exhibited here date from the pop art period between 1960, when the first piece of plastic furniture was created, to 1973, when the first oil crisis would deal a crippling blow to plastics. The collection takes one from the 1960s ‘plastic universe’ utopia to the beginnings of a political ecology that would reduce the material to waste status. From Tom Wesselmann to Philippe Starck and from Victor Vasarely to Joe Colombo, all of the great designers are represented here.
An engineer by trade but a painter and sculptor by calling, the collector Philippe Decelle belongs to that exclusive club of Belgian eccentrics from James Ensor to Wim Delvoye (the memorable inventor of the Cloaca poop-producing machine) who crop up now and again in the course of that country’s long history. Group tours, by prior arrangement only, are led by Decelle himself; offbeat remarks and deadpan humour included at no extra cost.
The Plasticarium
Place Sainte-Catherine
1000 Brussels
Tel: + 32 (0)2 344 98 21
Flanders and Brussels tourist office
Getting there
From London’s Victoria Coach Station to Brussels via coach (9 hours) starts at £ 9 return on Eurolines: www.eurolines.co.uk/destinations/belgium
Eurostar runs £ 69 return from London St. Pancras, but the direct journey only takes 2 hours and special fares may be available: www.eurostar.com
Where to stay
Hôtel St-Géry
Place Saint-Géry, 29  
1000 Brussels
Tel: +32 (0)2 204 06 20
For more information: Hôtel St-Géry
Every room of this spanking new boutique hotel located opposite the Halles St. Géry has been decorated by a different artist. The hotel is directly connected to the Belmonte Bar where the breakfasts served are, regrettably, very inferior to the establishment’s general standing.
Dining out
Viva M’Boma
17 rue de Flandre
1000 Brussels
Tel: +32 (0)25 12 15 93
Housed in a former butcher shop, ‘Viva Grandmother’ (in Brussels jargon) serves Flemish dishes and specialities made of tripe. A must. Dinner reservations required.

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