Can you describe what you do? Where you are based, the neighbourhood you live in, your daily routine, the people you work with, the scene you feel the closest to.
We own and run St. Vincents, a lifestyle store with a focus on quality products, quality coffee and quality time together. Seeing as we’re located in the city centre, the neighbourhood tends to be busy, but stepping into our space means it’s time to relax and take your time. We’re open almost every day, so our routine of seeing regular coffee-lovers and meeting new friends who love design keeps us excited to work and grow. We’re explorers, always looking for something new to see, do or taste.
How do you perceive Antwerp? In your view, what kind of city is it? Its people, its cultural landscape, its vibe? How does it compare to other, similarly-sized cities?
In our opinion, Antwerp is a balanced city, combining classic European architecture with modern homes with stores inside, timeless statues and contemporary art. Nothing is far away here and, despite its size, the city always seems to have a pulse. While Antwerp may be a bit more conservative than other European capitals like Amsterdam, London or Berlin, what it lacks in unique style it makes up for in potential. We try to embrace that at St. Vincents, combining the old and the new in tasteful ways.
What would you say is Antwerp’s main appeal for creatives? What gives the city its edge?
Already considered Belgium’s fashion capital, we feel that Antwerp doesn’t have any pre-conceived styles or expectations. Creatives are free to do their thing, without the added pressure of being ‘from Antwerp’, although we do feature some Antwerp-based artists, photographers and designers.
Nothing is far away here, and, despite its size, the city always seems to have a pulse.
How would you say Antwerp contributed to making you who you are today? What role has the city played in shaping your outlook and career?
Antwerp has supported other concept stores in the last few years, and we brought many ideas from other parts of the world into our store. The people of Antwerp have been very intrigued and receptive of our space, and we’re responding to their feedback by adding new rooms, new talent and new ideas.
On a personal level, what would you like to see more of in the city?
Personally, we would love to see more quality places for lunch that offer something different. There are plenty of fast food outlets to grab a bite, but we’d like to see more little boutiques offering quality over quantity. We serve lunch at St. Vincents and are expanding our menu soon to bring new ideas and flavours to our store. Another thing missing from Antwerp are green spaces. We lived in different corners of the world and we feel Antwerp lacks trees, gardens and parks. The area along the Scheldt River has a lot of potential to be a thriving parkland with greenery, cafes and restaurants, but instead it’s a bleak carpark.
To you, what is the best way to spend a weekend in Antwerp? If you had to take out-of-towners to one place that truly symbolises the city, what would it be?
We’re open every weekend, but we love to have drinks at BarBel. We love the vibe and coffee of Butchers Coffee and the food at BUN and Veranda, and whether we have visitors or not, we do the tourist thing and also show them the Middleheim Park, Valerie Traan Gallery and of course the MAS.stvincents.co Photography Joke De Wilde