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The Time of the boutiques : From booth to eBay
The Time of the boutiques
From booth to eBay
Véronique Moerman + Christine de Schaetzen, April 6, 2009
Le Temps des Boutiques/Boutique Concept_Bxl
Le Temps des Boutiques/Boutique Concept_Bxl
 
The Time of the boutiques is, in a way, an extension of the very successful The kitchen, a way of life, exhibition organized by the Fondation pour l’Architecture in 2006. The reconstituted kitchens of that show allowed visitors to relive the design and evolution of that most important room in the house, the kitchen, from 1900 to today. Now, visitors are going to be immersed in the experience of window shopping, reliving this unique thrill through the ages. The timeline and themes cover a period of two hundred years, beginning in the 1800s with boutiques built in the First Empire style, through to eBay, the virtual boutique of today. This represents the first full scale retrospective in Belgium dedicated to boutiques, in which the interplay of architecture and design reveal the various influences of Belgium and France, England, Italy, and the United States. The exhibition is conceived around the life-sized reconstruction of historical shop windows from the past and present, inside of which will be original documents and artifacts, such as furniture, plans, models, drawings, watercolors and gouaches from all the great architects and designers of the Belgian and international scene. Many of these pieces come from the rich holdings of the Archives d’Architecture Moderne (AAM), one of the premiere such archives in Europe.

Armani 5th Avenue_Fuksas Studio
Armani 5th Avenue_Fuksas Studio
 
The exhibition explores the idea of the boutique as a place of both material presentation and symbolic representation using architecture to express meaning economically, socially, aesthetically, sociologically, artistically… The exhibition relates these diverse themes by starting with the advent of the shop window, the vitrine, under Napoleon, and tracing them through to the photography of Atget, inspiration to the Surrealists; moving on to the movement of Art dans la rue, which conceived of the shop window as a way to embellish the city street; then to modernism with its introduction of polished steel and chrome and aluminium, all part of the art of lighting and display; to the fifties, dominated by the search for la vue totale; and up until the most contemporary vitrines, which bear the signatures of the most respected names in design from New York, Paris, London, Tokyo, Seoul,…           

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