Recently opened is the Mons International Congress Xperience (MICX), designed by New York-based architect and designer, Daniel Libeskind for the historic town of Mons in Belgium. The opening launched the town’s year as the official Cultural Capital of Europe 2015.
Conceived as a new architectural landmark for Mons, the new convention centre is a key element in a plan for economic revitalisation, and provides a connection between old and new. From the viewing platform at the top, visitors can see the town’s 17th-century Belfry tower (a UNESCO Heritage Site), a new train station designed by Santiago Calatrava, and the La Haine river.
The futuristic looking MICX is an expression of contrasting geometric forms. Within its 12,500 sq m, it houses a grand entrance hall, three auditoria with seating capacities of 500, 200 and 100 respectively, a multi-purpose event hall, conference rooms, offices, a restaurant, underground parking, and a public roof terrace.
Seating in the auditoria is provided by specialist firm, Poltrona Frau Contract, using the Tangram system that Libeskind designed for them in 2011. The Tangram chair has a wooden structure and non-deformable fireproof polyurethane padding. The folding mechanism works purely by gravity without the need for springs.
Daniel Libeskind’s practice is involved in designing and realising a diverse array of urban, cultural and commercial projects internationally. While the original studio was founded in Berlin, in February 2003 it moved its headquarters to New York City when Libeskind was selected as master planner for the World Trade Center redevelopment. The studio also has European partner offices in Milan and Zürich.
By Gail Taylor