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Mons: it's the European Capital of Culture – but locals just want Ikea


Mons it s the European Capital of Culture but locals just want Ikea Art and design The Guardian

Mons it s the European Capital of Culture but locals just want Ikea Art and design The Guardian

Mons it s the European Capital of Culture but locals just want Ikea Art and design The Guardian

Only one of the new buildings is ready, its centrepiece artwork had to be dismantled after bits fell off – and people are more excited about getting their first Ikea. Is the Belgian city the final nail in the coffin for European Capitals of Culture?

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/...

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The collapse of the neon nest heralds a rocky start for a year of cultural celebration that has so far been defined by a notable absence of the promised projects. The flamboyant bow-tie wearing Di Rupo was first elected mayor of Mons in 2000, since when he set his sights on bidding for Capital of Culture status to reverse the fortunes of the depressed former mining town. Having lured the likes of Google, Microsoft and IBM to form something of a Silicon Hill on the edge of Mons, he initiated a lavish series of grands projets to revitalise the city centre for 2015 – most of which have yet to materialise.

A €155m new station, designed by Santiago Calatrava as a swooping sci-fi bird, is so far no more than a concrete foundation slab. It replaces a much-loved 1950s station by a local architect, and it’s now optimistically scheduled to open in 2018, having escalated to four times its original budget. There will eventually be five new museums too, from a war memorial centre to an art library in a restored convent, but all are still very much building sites and won’t open until April at the earliest.

“They call Mons ‘The First and the Last’,” says the Capital of Culture’s curator, Yves Vassuer, “because it’s the place where the first and last British soldiers were killed in the first world war.” It could also be the subtitle for its cultural year: the first city to bid and the last one to be ready.

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