On 25 April 2017 the Shopping Towns Europe 1945-75 exhibition opened in the Flanders Architecture Institute (VAi) in Antwerp, Belgium. This exhibition was co-curated by Janina Gosseye and Tom Avermaete.

Featuring six key European shopping centres and a detailed chronological overview of shopping centre development, this exhibition explored the role that shopping centres played in urban (re)development in post-war Europe, and examined how their architecture was designed to introduce new conceptions of collectivity into the Europeans’ everyday lives.

The exhibition was designed by Janina Gosseye and encouraged visitors to – quite literally – ‘shop’ for information: every image in the exhibition could be taken home in a ‘shopping bag’ that was to be folded from the three large posters hanging on clothing racks in the centre of the exhibition space. These posters introduced the three central themes of the exhibition: (1) Harnessing the consumption juggernaut: Shopping centres building the dream of the new European city, (2) A consumerist common ground: Shopping centres and the emergence of a new collectivity, and (3) Consumer-‘stitches’: Shopping facilities for urban redevelopment.

Shopping Towns Europe closed on 11 June 2017.

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Photographs by Karin Borghouts

The exhibition drew significant interest from the media. It was reviewed by both De Tijd and de Standaard, two of Belgium’s largest newspapers, and on 15 May 2017, Tom Avermaete was invited to discuss the exhibition on the radio show ‘Pompidou’ on the national radio-station Klara. Listen to the radio-interview here:

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