The firm Violet Frères, based in Thuir in the Pyrénées-Orientales department of France, was responsible for commissioning Parisian architect Anatole Laquerrière to draw up plans for these rustic-style industrial buildings. The resulting Byrrh buildings would produce and sell the unique beverage of that name which was created in 1866 and whose trademark the company registered in 1873. Byrrh owes its origin to brothers Pallade and Simon Violet, travelling drapers who came up with the idea of a medicinal product based on wine and a mixture of various ingredients such as coffee, cocoa, elderflower, camomile and cinchona. Initially sold in pharmacies, the beverage soon became a popular aperitif. Nowadays, the complex consists of two main buildings linked by a courtyard with a triangular glass roof. The smallest building housed the administrative offices, while the largest was home to a warehouse with metal structural trusses applying the Cremona method. The preserved original façades feature a glorious interplay of polychrome and textural contrasts. Acquired by the City of Brussels Public Welfare Centre (CPAS/OCMW) to turn it into a hub for urban commerce, the recently restored complex has reopened its doors as Be-Here, becoming something of an eco-village. Its vast hall brings together many initiatives from the circular economy and the world of sustainable food and, over the months it has been open, has become a place for traders and local residents to meet and interact. (Listed 22/05/1997)
Guided tours: Sat. & Sun. at 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 14:00, 15:00, 16:00 and 17:00 (in French); 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 14:30, 15:30, 16:30 and 17:30 (in Dutch). In cooperation with Once in Brussels.
Sat. & Sun., 10:00 to 18:00
Rue Dieudonné Lefèvre/Dieudonné Lefèvrestraat 4, Brussels-Laeken/Laken
Guided tours and by reservation only