The Magnificent Lustre Atomium: A Symbol of Belgium’s Innovation and Ambition


Belgium’s Atomium is a widely recognized landmark and a hugely popular tourist attraction. Located in Brussels, the Atomium was built for the 1958 World Expo and has since become an icon of modernist architecture. It is also an important symbol of the country’s innovation and ambition. In recent years, a new addition to the Atomium has further increased its appeal: the Lustre Atomium, a stunning work of art that has attracted visitors from around the world.

The History of the Atomium

The Atomium was built in 1958 as a symbol of progress and technological advancement. Designed by engineer André Waterkeyn and architects André and Jean Polak, it was meant to represent an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. The Atomium consists of nine spheres, each measuring 18 meters in diameter, connected by tubes containing escalators and other facilities. It stands 102 meters tall, making it one of the tallest buildings in Brussels.

The Atomium was originally intended as a temporary structure, built for the 1958 World Expo. However, its popularity led to its preservation and it soon became a permanent feature of the Brussels skyline. Throughout the years, it has undergone several renovations and restorations to ensure its continued safety and upkeep.

The Lustre Atomium

The Lustre Atomium is a recent addition to the Atomium, having been installed in 2016. It is a stunning work of art by Belgian artist Pierre-Philippe Hofmann, who was commissioned by Atomium’s management to create the piece.

The Lustre Atomium is made up of 2970 stainless steel spheres, each measuring 25 mm in diameter. These spheres are suspended from the ceiling in five separate layers, creating an impressive and intricate installation. The installation is illuminated from different angles, casting reflections and shadows that create a mesmerizing effect.

The Lustre Atomium is not only a work of art, but it also serves a functional purpose. The installation was designed to improve the acoustics of the upper sphere of the Atomium. It was intended to create a sense of intimacy and create a more immersive experience for visitors.

The Significance of the Lustre Atomium

The Lustre Atomium symbolizes Belgium’s continued commitment to innovation and creativity. It is a testament to the country’s willingness to embrace new ideas and to invest in the cultural and artistic pursuits of its citizens.

The Lustre Atomium is also a fine example of the merging of technology and art. The piece seamlessly integrates modern materials and techniques with traditional artistic sensibilities, creating a work that is both visually stunning and functional.

Furthermore, the Lustre Atomium is a reminder of the enduring appeal of the Atomium as a whole. Despite being over 60 years old, the Atomium continues to attract visitors from around the world. Its innovative design and enduring popularity are a testament to the country’s cultural significance and the pride its citizens take in their heritage.

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