Built for the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair and planned originally to last only six months, André Waterkeyn‘s Atomium has survived to become one of Belgium’s most popular tourist attraction. Its silvery globes symbolise nine atoms of iron, while the connecting tubes represent the forces that hold together a crystalline molecule of iron that has been magnified 165 billion times.
It was closed for renovation and reopened to the public on February 18th. The original panels of aluminium on the outside have been replaced by stainless steel ones to give the Atomium its original shine.
Some of the spheres can be visited. In the party space sphere, Ingo Maurer designed a ceiling lamp with a suspended plate, 14 feet in diameter, and lighted it with a cobalt halo. Eleven plastic human figures hover around the fixture like astronauts around a spacecraft.
Alicia Framis (whom i knew mainly for her “fashion” collections) has designed the children’s sphere using soft polyurethane balls to represent H2O, the formula for water (she was inspired by the rainy weather in Brussels.) Each of the 8 “rain molecules” is big enough for 3 to 8 kids to sleep in. The H2O molecules are suspended on the ceiling during the day and lowered at night for the kids to step in and use it as a hotel.
In the past, Framis had created other spaces, like Kidea but also Remix Buildings-Bloodsushibank now on show at the Musac, in León, Spain. The architectural structure combines the act of eating sushi with that of donating blood. The aseptic space where blood donations are usually performed is transformed into a trendy and cosy spot. The “hospital room” is enclosed by padded walls and seats are covered with white bandages. In the centre, is a white platform where blood is donated. Standing opposite this platform is a sushi bar, which gives the act of donating blood a delicate, fragile connotation, contrasting with the sandwich people normally receive after giving blood. More images.