k Back

Exhibition “At the coalface. Design in a post-carbon age”

25/09/2022 h 08/01/2023 F Add to the calendar 2022-09-25 2023-01-08 Europe/London Exhibition “At the coalface. Design in a post-carbon age”

40 years after Grand-Hornu Images was founded as a center for innovation and design, and ten years after its inclusion on the Unesco list, Au Charbon! is Le Grand-Hornu’s very first exhibition on coal, a fuel source that brought about irreversible change during the Industrial Revolution. A living archive of the region's mining economy, the Grand-Hornu site is an urban project, a unique example in Europe of functional town planning, built around the presence of coal in the ground. Its mining history has forged an economic, cultural and political legacy across several generations of people who have lived in the area or come from afar, among them former miners and newcomers, migrants and descendants. Coal remains the world's second largest energy source after oil and its primary source of electricity. Its combustion is responsible for much of the world's CO2 emissions. A carbon-rich combustible sedimentary rock formed by the partial degradation of vegetation, coal is the source material here for a symbolic overview of design: from its industrial origins to the transition to post-carbon energy sources. A shape-shifting element, it is an overexploited natural resource that poses countless problems, some of which will be dealt with in the projects we present. In them, designers, architects and visual artists make use of coal to create scenarios that speak of worker migration, artefacts in which coal becomes a precious material, expressions that generate a sense empathy with the toil of mining work, tools that recreate the formation of coal, items triggering new rituals, and materials obtained from alternative mining futures. The pieces we have brought together provide both a damning insight and reasons for hope: design as a means of deconstructing the humankind/nature hierarchies of the modern era, putting us back into the humus, as a part of nature itself. At the coalface! is a conversation that spans many disciplines, combining memories and techniques of the past with the need for solutions to the emergency we face today. It sees coal become a resource for generating multi-voiced and sustainable narratives.

© Mercedes Klausner

Practical information

Centre for Innovation and Design at Grand-Hornu (CID), Rue Sainte-Louise, 82 7301 Hornu Centre for Innovation and Design at Grand-Hornu (CID)

40 years after Grand-Hornu Images was founded as a center for innovation and design, and ten years after its inclusion on the Unesco list, Au Charbon! is Le Grand-Hornu’s very first exhibition on coal, a fuel source that brought about irreversible change during the Industrial Revolution.
A living archive of the region’s mining economy, the Grand-Hornu site is an urban project, a unique example in Europe of functional town planning, built around the presence of coal in the ground. Its mining history has forged an economic, cultural and political legacy across several generations of people who have lived in the area or come from afar, among them former miners and newcomers, migrants and descendants.
Coal remains the world’s second largest energy source after oil and its primary source of electricity. Its combustion is responsible for much of the world’s CO2 emissions. A carbon-rich combustible sedimentary rock formed by the partial degradation of vegetation, coal is the source material here for a symbolic overview of design: from its industrial origins to the transition to post-carbon energy sources.
A shape-shifting element, it is an overexploited natural resource that poses countless problems, some of which will be dealt with in the projects we present. In them, designers, architects and visual artists make use of coal to create scenarios that speak of worker migration, artefacts in which coal becomes a precious material, expressions that generate a sense empathy with the toil of mining work, tools that recreate the formation of coal, items triggering new rituals, and materials obtained from alternative mining futures.
The pieces we have brought together provide both a damning insight and reasons for hope: design as a means of deconstructing the humankind/nature hierarchies of the modern era, putting us back into the humus, as a part of nature itself.
At the coalface! is a conversation that spans many disciplines, combining memories and techniques of the past with the need for solutions to the emergency we face today. It sees coal become a resource for generating multi-voiced and sustainable narratives.

© Mercedes Klausner

Practical information

Centre for Innovation and Design at Grand-Hornu (CID)

The CID – centre for innovation and design at Grand-Hornu aims to promote contemporary design through a programme of exhibitions and mediation activities, highlighting innovation, experimental research, the emergence of new themes and horizons for research in design, architecture and graphic art. By presenting the diversity of these creative domains, the CID raises the public’s awareness of a culture of design and architecture. It questions, studies and explains this culture through a dialogue with creators, researchers and also the public.

The CID aims to reflect our current society, by programming and producing three to five exhibitions each year, On the one hand, they echo individual practices and research through monograph exhibitions dedicated to Belgian or international designers, and on the other, thematic exhibitions develop a narrative thread that invites us to dream up and invent utopias. An entire mediation programme is organised around the exhibitions to enable these discoveries to be shared with the public, specialist or otherwise, attaching great importance to the adaptation of our visits and visitors).

LPeople with specific needs

We welcome people with reduced mobility. An electric car is available and you can park easily. For the visually impaired, a visit is possible upon reservation.

2 B

Practical information

Centre for Innovation and Design at Grand-Hornu (CID)

Rue Sainte-Louise, 82
7301 Hornu

  • Museums to live with family!label marmaille
  • Wallonie Destination Qualitélabel Wallonie destination qualité
  • Accessible to people with special needslabel velo
  • Discounts for vulnerable peoplelabel velo

Other events in the same theme