Food - Expo Brussels 1935

Food at the Exhibition Expo Brussels 1935
© E. Sergysels
Architect(s) : Charles Verhelle

Designed by the architect Charles Verhelle, the Food Palace was one of the largest buildings at the Exhibition. It covered an area of 5,000 m2 and was located at the corner of Boulevard du Centenaire and Avenue Coloniale, opposite the gardens of the
Pavillon de la France.

The facades, treated in sober lines, were entirely polychromed. In front of the one facing the Avenue Coloniale, a tower about thirty metres high was decorated at its base with two powerful symbolic figures by the sculptors Jacobs and Wolf.

In addition, two bas-reliefs, the work of statuaries Vriens and Delnest, representing the products of the land and the sea, adorned the main entrance.

Along the façade overlooking the Boulevard du Centenaire ran a spacious terrace from which consumers enjoyed an incomparable view of the water stairs and the gardens.

Four large sections occupied this Palace: the Belgian Brewery on the left; the miscellaneous exhibitors' section immediately behind and below; the confectionery community on the right and, behind this, the sugar industry.

Each of these sections was divided into several parts:
The Brewery contained a large taproom where the best beers in the country were tasted and whose walls were adorned with famous mottos and songs celebrating the national beers.

To the left, separated from the consumers by large, brightly lit windows, a model cellar showed the public how beer should be tapped and how a good cellar should be laid out and organised.

The visitor could follow the entire path of the drink from the barrel to the glass.

Each of our breweries, in an order determined by the drawing of lots, provided 6 hectolitres of beer in turn.

A second part of the Brewery Community included a room decorated with dioramas and brewing equipment. A small brewing room allowed the public to watch the brewing process.

Finally, the various appliances used in this industry, as well as stands reserved for hop growers and various related industries completed the presentation.

In the part of the Palais devoted to the various exhibitors, they were grouped by type of production, thus allowing the visitor to have an overall view of this or that food industry. There were stands for mineral water, dairy products, cider, coffee, groceries, wines, liqueurs and spirits, charcuterie, milling, etc.

In the main entrance hall, which serves as the VIP lounge, there are two magnificent decorative panels by the painters L. Devos and J. Van Noten. Further on, in a large pit with ceramic walls, the machines used to transform sugar, cocoa, etc., into finished products such as chocolates, pralines, drops, barley sugar, etc., were operating before the public's eyes.

This vast room of nearly 2,000 m2 was lit by vast glass windows overlooking the Boulevard du Centenaire and the Avenue Coloniale. An elegant tea room adorned the chocolate, biscuit and confectionery section.

On the Avenue Coloniale side, a room with walls covered in precious wood and decorated with an enormous luminous sphere served as a setting for the sugar industry and refinery section.
On 7 May 1935, the Palais de l'Alimentation was inaugurated in the presence of Mr. Van Isacker, Minister of Economic Affairs, the Exhibition's directors and the section's organisers.

Mr. Martougin, president of the group, opened the series of speeches by thanking the personalities present and by paying a special tribute to Mr. Max.
The first experience of a Belgian section in separate pavilions, he said, wanted by Count van der Burch, was conclusive. Today, each industry exhibits in an appropriate atmosphere. And for the public, which used to be subjected to a veritable Tantalus ordeal, the showcases have been eliminated. Not only can they see the products being made, but they can also touch them, taste them, buy them...
Mr. Van Isacker was pleased with the loyal support given to the Government by the food industries in the fight against rising prices.
He warmly congratulated the organisers on their participation and wished them every success.
Mr. Max closed the series of speeches. After having paid tribute to Mr. Martougin's eminent qualities as an organizer, he praised the excellence of our products and ended with these words, which were applauded at length: "Let us, as good Belgians, set an example of patriotism of the stomach".

© Le Livre d'Or de l'Exposition Universelle de Bruxelles 1935