MICE - INFRASTRUCTURE
The problem with audio guides is that they're often more cumbersome than anything else. Here, you won't be disappointed! Light, easy-to-use equipment, high-quality sound, and above all, a captivating account, which, from the first few notes, will take you back two centuries, into everyday life at the time. But who is this well-spoken man speaking to us through the headphones? It's none other than the interpreter of Henri De Gorge, the creator of the place. He will explain Henri’s project, how he imagined his "ideal city" etc. Alongside this, you'll be the lucky audience for titillating stories about life and the development of the Grand-Hornu, which was not without plot twists.
Keen to provide miners and their families with a pleasant living environment, Mr De Gorge began by building some 450 houses around the site. These comprised six rooms, included hot water and a garden, and were rented on a weekly basis, for the equivalent of one day's salary! A good bargain for the residents! So much so that a miner's wife would be sure to whisper to you that she had never imagined living in such a palace! A school, library, dispensary, and shops were then added, along with leisure, culture, and relaxation spaces. A real piece of paradise!
With such an emblematic figure, it would have been a shame to turn the site into a simple mining museum. This is not the case! True to its founder, the place is also forward-looking. You'll therefore find new buildings, including the Wallonia-Brussels Federation Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC's) and the Centre for Innovation and Design (CID). Both are the work of the Belgian architect, Pierre Hebbelinck, and target contemporary creations. In addition to visiting the site, you'll therefore also have the opportunity to view a quality international exhibition. A successful conversion for this former coal mine! It should be noted that in 2012, the UNESCO classed Grand-Hornu as a world heritage site. A well-deserved honour!
It's impossible to get bored of this place! You'll discover the collection of works housed within the MAC’s through the exhibitions that punctuate the year. You can therefore visit several times, and admire new works on each occasion. The only permanent features are the three main themes upon which the museum is based: memory, location, and poetry.
At the CID, you'll also view different works each month. It's the ideal place to go and meet designers from all over the world, who are occasionally invited to exhibit their creations, the starting point for a reflection on our relationship with objects. Because the main goal of the CID is to question us. Marie Pok, the director, explains that design is a discipline that concerns all of us. Well, yes, whether it's a chair, a lamp, a car, or a pencil, we come into contact with these objects on a daily basis. But what purpose do they really serve? Why this choice of material? Why did the artist use this shape...? So many questions go through our mind when considering these rather futuristic works. Through these innovative exhibitions, the CID also seeks to change our perspective, take us to the unknown and question what we take for granted.