Old transport ticket validators turned into key cabinets


A workspace for disabled people has upcycled those orange ticket machines that once dotted the Brussels mobility landscape

Open Sesame

While it seems like eons ago, it’s only been three years since those orange ticket validators disappeared from Brussels buses, trams and metro stations. And they didn’t wind up in a landfill: They have all been repurposed.

So should you have need of a key cabinet, have we got good news for you. Staff at L’Ouvroir, a work space for people with disabilities, is upcycling the brightly coloured hunks of metal into key storage units.

When the 3,700 validators were taken out of commission, Brussels transport service MIVB asked local designer Pierre-Emmanuel Vandeputte to come up with another use for them. He settled on key cabinets and called them Sesame.

“Once hidden from the eyes of all those who passed by it daily,” he explains on his website, “the interior of the ticket validator reveals itself today, just as the cave opened for Ali Baba.”

We are especially proud of the ecological and social dimensions of this project

- MIVB CEO Brieuc de Meeûs

He also very much liked the idea of keys being stored inside a box that used to give people access to transport. MIVB liked that, too, and so contracted L’Ouvroir to repurpose all the validators.

L’Ouvroir workers ripped out all of the electronics inside the boxes and fitted them out with places to hang keys. On the other side – the door to the cabinet – are elastic bands to  hold photos or notes in place.

“We are especially proud of the ecological and social dimensions of this project,” said MIVB CEO Brieuc de Meeûs, “thanks to excellent co-operation between all the partners.”

The cabinets will be available to purchase from 13 November at MIVB’s online shop, its outlet at Rogier station and the L’Ouvroir work space. They cost €84 each.

Photos courtesy MIVB