The International Press Centre is based in the so-called “Blok/Bloc C” of Résidence Palace, an unworthy name for a building of such majestic standing. You do not need a press pass, however, to drop in and admire this authentic art deco gem. Résidence Palace was built between 1923 and 1927 to a design by the Swiss architect Michel Polak. It was conceived as a grand, luxurious apartment building that would provide its residents with a swimming pool, theatre, shops, maids, and butlers.
These days though, it accommodates all kinds of press agencies, who love being only a stone’s throw from the epicentre of European policymaking. The building is a veritable city inside the city; a maze of little offices and halls that host an endless string of indeterminable receptions and meetings. The remnants of the past (stained glass, mosaics, etc.) can still be admired. Unfortunately, the building cannot be fully appreciated because of all the construction sites that surround it. Right next door, you can see the building excavation where the new headquarters of the European Council will soon be laid. In any case, to the right of the patio with a fountain in building C, you will find a café-restaurant in the former banquet hall, with its parquet floor, mouldings, high windows, and original colours from the 1920s. Unfortunately, the hall has been divided with partitions. You can grab a decent bite to eat here between reading the latest scoops. A Stella, a glass of wine, or a coffee are also possible. A lounge area is provided for that purpose, with neo-art deco parquet, person-high panelling, red chairs, and floor lamps that are reminiscent of the decor in the dancing dwarf scenes in Twin Peaks. Though the reality of international newspapers and tête-à-têtes here is rather more prosaic.
Résidence Palace ***
Wetstraat 155 rue de la Loi, Etterbeek, 02-235.21.04, email@example.com, www.presscenter.org
ma/lu/Mo > vr/ve/Fr 9 > 18.00