The administration of the Belgian capital has announced a call for tenders for the development and valueing of potato chips. Now the city defends its national street food, rethinking chips kiosks as attractions.


In the simplistic game of national dishes, moules and frites undoubtedly win the medal for the top symbolic specialty of Belgian gastronomic tradition: a hearty dish offered in generous quantities, which combines mussels boiled in wine and chips, ubiquitous on the tables of traditional Belgian restaurants. These are also sold as street food in characteristic "friteries," which are humble kiosks popular in the main cities. Brussels has built a myth on the frites topped with mayonnaise and served in a portable paper cone (the equally typical "cornet de frites") - however paternity of this specialty is disputed with France, with continuous claims coming from both sides of the border.

So, in recent months, the administration of the Belgian capital, in the figure of the Councillor for economic development Marien Lemesre, has announced a call for tenders for the development and valueing of the national street food, and those kiosks - "frietkots" is the Flemish term - which in fact have become identifying urban elements, but without particular aesthetic value. Precisely on the possibility of rethinking these spaces as attractions, the call for bids intends to gather designers and architecture studios to redesign the kiosks, and make them deserving of their fame also from an urbanistic point of view. The competition between creative minds should lead to finding an ideal model that can be easily replicable, and immediately recognizable, to make street fryers an iconic element "like red telephone booths are for London", in the words of the Councillor.

And there is already a winner: the project of the Moto company of architects Morris Vandenberghe and Thomas Hick from Ghent, who was selected among 50 other projects presented in the competition. Their prototype offers common elements - the countertop and walls in white tiles reminiscent of the old city shops, reflective aluminum cladding for the outside and the canopy, solar panels on the roof––yet still preserving the identity of each kiosk (owners can affix a personalized sign, which will be reflected on the mirrored surfaces), so as not to impact the sensitiveness of regular customers. In the coming months the restyling will cover the first 8 frietkots in Brussels involved in the project, including the famous one located in front of the Atomium, among the most visited attractions in the city.