Vollebak Vennestraat – Het Labo

Vollebak Vennestraat is a street festival in the multicultural and culinary Vennestraat in Genk, for which designers collective Het Labo vzw developed an original corporate identity, including typical blue vegetable boxes. The goal was to create an ideal framework for the look and feel of a multicultural street party with many local products. Vollebak Vennestraat is nominated for the Henry van de Velde awards in the category Communication.

‘VOLLEBAK’ means literally ‘full box’ and figuratively ‘full swing’.

The City of Genk commissioned Het Labo vow to organise a street festival in the multicultural and culinary Vennestraat (“Street of the senses”). VOLLEBAK VENNESTRAAT takes place during the summer on four consecutive Saturday evenings. Het Labo vzw has devised the integral concept, ranging from corporate identity and advertising to 2D and 3D design and execution. The goal was to create an ideal setting for the look and feel of a multicultural street festival sporting local merchants’ many culinary stalls. Starting point for the identity (namesake, logo and installations) is the blue greengrocery box that is so typical for the Vennestraat.

In 2016, for the third year in a row, Het Labo has built a new array of installations out of the typical blue greengrocery boxes. These include seats, tables, bars and even swings. Some will be stacked to form little eye-catching towers. The boxes, often filled with various herbs that colour and flavour this street, are a reference to the weekly Saturday morning fresh produce market.

For the street installations Het Labo rented boxes from Belorta. After the festival, they were simply brought back into circulation. In this way, they are using as few new materials as possible — creating maximum visibility with few to no waste. Also the herbal plants will not go to waste: after the closing event, they are handed out to people who wanted to tend them.

The identity of VOLLEBAK VENNESTRAAT is reinforced by maximum visibility: the design of placemats, putting up pennants, stickering power boxes, … In the middle of the street there was a communal table of 40 meters with a matching table cloth.

Each year, all the installations in the street are built by Het Labo themselves. They do however strongly value the contact with local merchants and their presence in the street. The many reactions of passers-by and merchants are a strong incentive. They ‘grant’ every business the pleasure of having them over for a coffee break or lunch break.

From a communication point of view (posters, website, …), they like to be inspired by the stories of the street. Each year, another merchant or resident will be at the centre of the campaign. Merchants are being involved well before the start of the event, which yearly gives rise to a bustle of curiosity.

All these elements combined will act as a positive reinforcement of the street’s culinary and multicultural aspects. VOLLEBAK hands VENNESTRAAT a new and positive identity with which to differentiate itself. In the past years, the street has attracted new merchants, leading to a decline in vacant buildings.

The perfect coincidence of namesake (‘VOLLEBAK VENNESTRAAT’) and scenography (the blue boxes) have made this a unique concept. In light of its success, the city of Genk has recently decided to extend the project by another two years.

More info about the Henry van de Velde awards, click here.