Why

«Money, money, money, must be funny, in the rich man’s world» thus sang ABBA
(ok, more or less). But anyway, during the solden period you will cross the Meir several time, in a “statue-statue” path from the sculpture of Antoon van Dyck to Pieter Paul Rubens (Groenplaats). And, for sure, you will see the Zara building. You will notice their display windows, the brillant entrance, the bouncer dressed with a black jacket and a red tie. But did you ever try to look up, between the shop and the sky? If not, try tomorrow: you will notice a building with unbelievable decorations (and the history of the lighting in four stages).

What

First of all, the construction was built in 1899, following the project of the architect Thielens – who planned also Meir No. 48, the actual BNP Paribas Fortis building- and used as offices by the Continental Gas Association. The facade is in natural white stone and decorated between the ground and the first floor with two dark street lamps. They rest on a basement with a dragon and completed with the “GA”, initial of the owners. But that is not all. The front is completed with four statues that tell the history of .the lighting. The first sculpture, made by Edward Deckers, is a prehistoric man with a torch in his hand. The second, sculpedt by Alphonse Peeters, shows a Roman woman with a oil lamp. On her left, a Medieval man created by Josue Dupon. He holds a lamp with a candle inside. Finally, the modern era: a woman with a gas lamp, by Josue Dupon as well. They stand under a baldachin in the Baroque style. Now you know the story behind the Zara building and yes, from tomorrow, your shopping experience will be superior.

Where
You find the Continental Gas Association building (now Zara) here:
Meir 58, 2000 
Antwerpen

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