The company Shell was established in 1907 from the merger of the Shell Transport and Trading Company and the Royal Dutch Petroleum Company. The former, founded in 1833 by Marcus Samuel, exported antiquities and oriental shells, hence its name. It quickly expanded its expertise to industrial machinery and then oil, commissioning the first oil tanker in the world in 1890. The latter company was created in The Hague in 1890 to operate an oil concession in Sumatra.

In 1931, the oil company expressed a desire to establish offices in the heart of Brussels and set up shop in the block situated between Rue Ravenstein/Ravensteinstraat and Cantersteen. Shell commissioned a Brussels head office that illustrated its importance in the global market. It is one of the grand building complexes constructed during the same period by the firm in several European capitals. The architect Alexis Dumont, in collaboration with Marcel van Goethem, took up the challenge and designed a concrete-structured complex comprising offices as well as shops and car parks. The entrance hall, designed by Philippe Dumont in 1959, is adorned with an imposing sculpted shell by Olivier Strebelle. The large auditorium, which can hold 270 people, was used for film screenings as well as conferences. The building, today home to the offices of a number of different companies, is part of a property portfolio owned by Befimmo (more than 900.000 m⊃2;), a company specialised in the leasing of high-quality office buildings, mainly in Brussels but also in other Belgian cities and in Luxembourg.  Kantersteen 47 – 1000 Brussels

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