at the aquaponic eel bar, rare ingredients swim overhead. european eels excrete nutrients for the plants; the plants filter water for the eels, and the customers beneath are more than certain: their paling in ‘t groen was prepared ethically. the famous dish is a belgian tradition with a history of hunting endangered european eels. here, the meal is presented openly, within a structure that ignores borders and focuses on social awareness. the bar was designed by leopold banchini architects, in collaboration with cafe recylcart and is located at the recyclart gallery in brussels. 

aquaponic eel bar
the aquaponic bar is an open structure, where eels swim overhead
all images by dylan perrenoud, unless otherwise stated



much is still unknown about the european eels, but their birth is believed to take place in darkness, near the sargasso sea. there, they must cross the atlantic, migrate upstream, follow rivers, avoid hunters, and finally pass under european bridges, where they are found fully grown. their lives are as delicate as the aquaponic eel bar suggests. hunters, for centuries, have attempted and failed to breed them in captivity. urbanized landscapes and environmental changes have made the species’ life even more difficult. yes, paling in ‘t groen has always been a meal of mystery and a story of darkness, but here, at the aquaponic bar in recyclart gallery, banchini puts the delicate lives of this species into perspective. 

aquaponic eel bar
voids in the design mirror the mystery of european eels

aquaponic eel bar
a rare perspective is created for customers

aquaponic eel bar
the vertical architecture draws the eye, and encourages customers to look up

aquaponic eel bar
the most solid area of the design is the water tank above

light passes through the tank, casting a silhouette on this unique species
aquaponic eel bar
the eels secrete nutrients for the plantlife

aquaponic eel bar
the aquaponic system keeps the eels and plant life thriving

aquaponic eel bar
the plant life, in turn, cleanses water for the eels

aquaponic eel bar
customers are certain about where their paling in ‘t groen came from
image by yves andre

aquaponic eel bar
the aquaponic eel bar: designed by leopold banchini architects, in collaboration with cafe recylcart

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