The scent of fresh blooms filled the Grand-Place in Brussels on Thursday, as the city’s Flower Carpet was unrolled across the square. Made of over 500,000 flowers, the Flower Carpet, which has appeared in Brussels every two years since 1971, brought to life a design created by the Mexican state of Guanajuato. The carpet, comprised of begonias, dahlias, grass and tree bark (as well as a few disco balls that appeared to be chopped in half), was imagined by Mexican graphic designer Ana Rosa Aguilar Aguado alongside Mark Schautteet, the Brussels Flower Carpet's permanent designer.
Visitors have to snag a glimpse of the carpet quickly: it only runs for four days before the flowers spoil and the pattern is taken away. This year’s design was built overnight by volunteers, who had less than eight hours to assemble the massive floral construction (which spans 19,375 square feet across the plaza). Hundreds of tourists and locals lined up to view the carpet from the adjacent Town Hall, a medieval building that was the first part of the Grand-Place. Nearby hotels, including the iconic Hotel Amigo, even sold out for the weekend.
The Flower Carpet has a different theme each time. Two years ago, the design celebrated Belgium’s relationship with Japan. This year’s theme, titled “Guanajuato, the cultural pride of Mexico,” pays homage to a region in Mexico that has a long history of building transitory outdoor carpets, often with colored sawdust.
The Grand-Place is also celebrating 20 years as a UNESCO World Heritage site and has created a second flower carpet exhibition at the Place de la Bourse, where international flower artists are building carpets depicting UNESCO sites around the world.