SONS - shoes or no shoes

shoe-museum in Belgium Kruishoutem / Belgium / 2011

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Shoes or no shoes (SONS) is a shoe-museum, situated on the top of a hill along a country road in the tiny village of Kruishoutem in Belgium, about 70 kilometers (70 miles) from Antwerp and Brussels. The building was actually built in the 1970s by architect Christiaan Vander Plaetse for the artist Emile Veranneman, who had a gallery there. Maecenas Dirk Vanderschueren, owner of Cortina, one of the world’s largest shoe manu-facturers became the new owner of the building. To share his passion for shoes Vanderschueren created a “shoe experience” SONS. Architects Johan Ketele and Lode Uytterschaut revamped the existing structure for the shoe collections. The typical shape of the building was fortified by covering the intire building with a new lead-skin changing the architectural volume into a massive and monumental unity. All disturbing details, such as gutters, drains, lists, ... were eliminated. The constant changing color of the leadskin gives the building an unexpected vitality. The original plan-concept, based on concatenated hexagons, was kept and purified. Inside, Johan Ketele and Lode Uytterschaut created an unpretentious warehouse look using Indus-trial shelving systems and almost no color. SONS consists of three collections. The Ethnographic Collection, amassed by former shoe distributor William (Boy) Habraken, includes 2,700 pairs from 155 countries and is acknowledged by the Guinness World Records as the largest collection of tribal and ethnological shoes. Antwerp-based shoemaker couple Veerle Swenters and Pierre Bogaerts contributed the Modern Collection -- some 1,200 pairs acquired from artists, many of whom customized the shoes, evoking the question: Are they art or shoes? Shoes or no shoes? The Designer Collection, also accumulated by Habraken, showcases unique footwear form 20th-century and contemporary designers including Salvatore Ferragamo, Christian Louboutin and Manolo Blahnik.
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    Shoes or no shoes (SONS) is a shoe-museum, situated on the top of a hill along a country road in the tiny village of Kruishoutem in Belgium, about 70 kilometers (70 miles) from Antwerp and Brussels. The building was actually built in the 1970s by architect Christiaan Vander Plaetse for the artist Emile Veranneman, who had a gallery there. Maecenas Dirk Vanderschueren, owner of Cortina, one of the world’s largest shoe manu-facturers became the new owner of the building. To share his passion for...

    Project details
    • Year 2011
    • Work finished in 2011
    • Client Sons museum
    • Status Completed works
    • Type Museums / Restoration of Works of Art
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