n December 2015, ADAM, the Art and Design Atomium Museum, opened in Brussels, Belgium, a stone’s throw away from the spectacular Atomium monument. And it’s here, Plasticarium found its natural habitat.
And what's Plasticarium? It’s one of the most incredible collections of plastic artefacts in the world, it ranges from everyday objects to smart designer pieces. Philippe Decelle is the person who built this collection through the years. He tells how, in 1987, he found a chair by designer Joe Colombo laying in the rubbish; this is what kick-started Plasticarium. It essentially keeps record of an art form, which was first worshiped and then forgotten by a fickle society.
First of all, the appeal of this exhibition lies in the role plastic played in mass production and consumer society. This material is versatile, colourful, hardwearing and affordable: between 1960 and 1973 (year of the oil crisis) to manipulate plastics was almost a need for designers and artists. This results in a legacy of lightweight pieces with the occasional eccentric shape and vibrant just like the boom, which started them. Scorned and then rehabilitated with the help of chemical innovations, plastic or even better, plastics are once again key players in our homes and our lives.
You’ll be familiar with some of the over 2000 pieces by top designers: Verner Panton, Eero Aarnio, or among current designers Philippe Starck. This is such a rich collection that some pieces have even been loaned to the MoMA in New York, the Tate Modern in London and the Beaubourg in Paris.
Therefore, if Brussels has to be explored for its amazing artistic and cultural heritage, then Plasticarium is a gem not to be missed.
Trade Mart Brussels, Belgiëplein 1
1020 Brussels, Belgium