Center of Attention

  • Photo by Georges De Kinder

Daniel Libeskind, the renowned New York–based architect who won the commission for the rebuilding of the World Trade Center, has created the Mons International Congress Xperience (MICX)—a striking new convention center in Mons, Belgium. The 134,550-square-foot building opened in January (just in time to cater to guests who were in town to celebrate the city’s election as a European Capital of Culture for 2015) and brings a fresh, contemporary aesthetic to the historical city known for its 15th-century Gothic architecture. The MICX’s modern facade is built from champagne-colored anodized aluminum and untreated robinia wood, constructed in a spiraling, angular style for which Libeskind is known, with a 36-foot-tall prow cantilevering over the adjacent Avenue Thomas Edison. Inside, a sculptural concrete staircase with inlaid Belgian bluestone steps connects the building’s three stories and leads guests to a grand entrance hall ideal for temporary exhibitions and ceremonies. The commanding center also houses three auditoriums, a 4,000-square-foot event space, 16 meeting rooms, a 5,000-square-foot terrace with views of the nearby 17th-century belfry tower (a UNESCO World Heritage site), and more.

The interior is liberally furnished with Libeskind’s futuristic Tangram chairs, displaying a design that the Polish-born architect created in collaboration with the Italian furniture maker Poltrona Frau in 2011. MICX is the first public space to incorporate the graphic chair, utilizing a total of 800 of them in bright orange leather that sharply contrasts with the otherwise tame palette of gray, white, and dark brown. The customizable Tangram chair, which is ideal for home theaters, is still offered to the public through Poltrona Frau and is available in 96 different hues of leather or velvet. (micx.be)

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