by

An exhibition that immerses visitors in Esch’s past, “Rout Lëns: Our heritage, the foundations of the future"

With the Rout Lëns project, designed to revitalise a brownfield site in Esch-sur-Alzette, IKO Real Estate, a key player in real estate and urban development, was keen to breathe new life into the site’s steelmaking past with an immersive artistic and digital experience at the Schlassgoart gallery.

Preserving the memory of the Lentille Terres-Rouges site has always been one of the main priorities for the teams involved in the Rout Lëns project. This commitment ran through the urban planning process, with the creation of the backbone of the neighbourhood called “Allée de la Culture Industrielle”, linking all of the site’s historic buildings to one another.

But we needed more than that, and after several months, it soon became clear that we needed to put on a free exhibition for the public, telling the story of the site and all of its memories.

The exhibition would have 2 sides to it; the physical dimension, thanks to Philippe Roguet’s philosophy, and a virtual dimension, using augmented reality.

A photography exhibition

Commissioned by IKO Real Estate, designer and professional photographer Philippe Roguet has been patiently working with his camera since 2020 to capture the passage of time and thus immortalize the image of Luxembourg’s heritage.This heritage formed the foundations of Esch in the past. From tomorrow, it will form the foundations of our future.

Philippe Roguet’s photographs focus on the urban landscape, establishing a connection with the restrain and imagination of his graphic style: the voids define the space while the shapes define the intervals underpinning the subject. His precision is almost typographical.

Philippe Roguet’s images do more than merely document what is left of the past. His photographs are meticulously reflected on and thought out. It seems as though they are almost constructed. He manages to bring out every detail, which become part of a whole that could be used as a film set.

Finding the logic and the meaning of the architecture, imagining what the people who worked in these vast industrial buildings would have experienced, immortalising these settings from a bygone era in images… This is Philippe Roguet’s fundamental approach, imbuing the future site with a soul.

As you will have realised, this is an immersive photographic exhibition that plunges us in the fascinating work of this artist and photographer.

A virtual memory exhibition

This exhibition is also the result of a meeting between IKO Real Estate and Virtual Rangers, a Luxembourg-based company that creates virtual and immersive experiences and has also worked, among others, for the National Mining Museum in Rumelange.

IKO AR, an augmented reality app was created to bring this history and the heritage buildings of the “Lentille Terres-Rouges” site to life. Once you have downloaded the app to a smartphone or a tablet, you can explore the buildings and find out what they were used for, before 1977, when the steel industry was booming. This work is based on Virtual Rangers’ expertise when it comes to augmented reality, but also extensive work on the history of the buildings based on industrial archaeology.

An immersive experience

The power of the exhibition creeps up on you. First of all, the viewer is projected into the experience of a classic photography exhibition. But when they use the app on their smartphone, the buildings projected on the walls start to move and come to life.

The exhibition “Rout Lëns: Our heritage, the foundations of the future” will bring the past to life for visitors, as well as projecting them into the future Rout Lëns neighbourhood. It runs from 5 November to 19 November 2021.

The location of the exhibition was not chosen at random, as the Schlassgoart Gallery and the “Lentille Terres-Rouges” share the same past, having both belonged to ArcelorMittal. We have come full circle.

A vernissage to take you back in time

The “Lentille Terres-Rouges” steelmaking site was closed down in 1977.

It was at precisely this time that hip-hop culture, its music and its codes, including urban art and graffiti, became a true phenomenon in every corner of the world.

Inspired by this golden age of recent art history, a vinyl DJ set and a live painting performance will immerse guests into a block party, as if history had stood still, before the Rout Lëns project breathes new life into the neighbourhood tomorrow

About Rout Lëns

Located in the south-west of Esch, between the town centre, the railway line and the French border, Luxembourg’s new neighbourhood is taking shape.

Proud of its rich industrial past, Rout Lëns transcends its history to become a sustainable, innovative and exemplary new place to live.

On a buildable area of about 163,200m², the conditions are perfect for a friendly, sociable place to live, with the ideal social and generational mix, and a welcoming community.

Including:

  • 81% of the surface area dedicated to standard and affordable housing as well as student accommodation and a retirement home;
  • 8% will be taken up by community facilities, a school, public services;
  • 6% will be dedicated to shops and services;
  • 5% will be used for offices and shared work spaces.

Rout Lëns is transforming an industrial powerhouse into an extraordinary urban living space, packed with modern, innovative features for future generations.

The history of Esch-sur-Alzette continues with Rout Lëns, a sustainable and exemplary new neighbourhood, in which all the generations can flourish in harmony.

About IKO

For more than 30 years, IKO has been involved in real estate as an urban planner, developer and investor. Originally specialising in business real estate, the company added residential and then commercial real estate to its portfolio, and today develops neighbourhoods that harmoniously combine housing, shops, offices and green spaces.

Already a pioneer in all sorts of projects, IKO Real Estate is keen to stay ahead of the game by offering its support to initiatives that are fundamentally changing the way we live. Its goal is to help people reclaim urban spaces, in particular by putting well-being and nature at the heart of every project, and by making the most of new technologies to improve our day-to-day lives.