Belgium’s Flower Carpet Festival
The Flower Carpet Festival is a popular event that takes place in Grand-Place Brussels every other year. Since 1971 over 600,000 Begonias flowers are arranged in an intense pattern filling the city square with a powerful and graphic carpet made entirely out of flowers. Taking months of planning to produce (with only 48 hours of install time) the event brings together landscape architects, technicians and hundreds of voluntary participants weave the flowers in place for the five day event!
Every other summer, on the weekend of August 15th, the Flower Carpet offers a chance to stroll across the Grand-Place, a jewel of Gothic architecture, to inhale the fragrant scent of the begonias and admire its details. This extraordinary spectacle is made complete by a visit to the balcony of the Town Hall, which offers a wide-angle view of the work. A musical theme is especially composed for each edition. A concert is given on the Grand-Place every evening and accompanies a magnificent sound-and-light show.
The creative process:
Every two years, the non-profit association Tapis de Fleurs brings together a committee of professionals (illustrators, graphic designers, landscape architects) who come up with scale projects, with each edition illustrating a different theme (the commemoration of major events, a country, a continent, the coat of arms of a city, etc.). Once the theme has taken shape in the form of a model and symbols, the number of flowers is calculated and the combinations of colours are established. The hundreds of thousands of cut flowers necessary for the composition can then be reserved, very long in advance. Several days before the inauguration, a full-size drawing is executed on sheets of micro-perforated plastic that are laid down atop the cobblestones of the Grand-Place. The works can then begin.
More than 100 volunteer gardeners put together this giant floral puzzle in less than four hours. The day before the opening, the spaces between the floral motifs are filled in using rolls of sod. The flowers are so closely-packed (300 per square metre, i.e. around 600,000 flowers in all!) that they can´t be blown away, and indeed they create their own microclimate! If there´s a heat wave, the sod is watered to prevent it from wilting. If the weather is too wet, the grass can grow by 4 to 5 centimetres in 3 days. The flowers remain fresh and preserve their splendour during the four days.