Can you describe what you do?
I’m the founder of City Furniture, an online design gallery specialising in 20th Century furniture, art and design. My warehouse is located in Borgerhout and I have a gallery in the centre of Antwerp which I share with Sophie from Cover and Couch. The building is a mezzanine: Sophie has her atelier upstairs and I have my showroom downstairs. I used to have two shops on Kloosterstraat, but unfortunately this area became rather expensive and so I decided to move to the new up-and-coming Leien district instead. As I’m only an on-appointment gallery, I get to spend most of my time on the road and in my photography studio, where I photograph my items. As this is more than a full time job, I like to spend my free time with friends or family.
How do you perceive Antwerp?
Antwerp has its own charms, from the harbour to its open spaces. But honestly, I like every cities for what they have to offer – Ghent, Brussels, Ostend – all places with remarkably distinct and unique characters.
What would you say is Antwerp’s main appeal for creatives?
In Antwerp, there’s a space for all creative endeavours: sport, arts, dance, music… It’s always possible to try out new things. I see a lot of new talent and young people taking initiatives, which keeps this city more than alive.
How would you say Antwerp contributed to making you who you are today?
Antwerp has always been my home town: I was born and raised in Deurne, and lived there my whole youth. My grandfather had a lighting shop and factory next to the airport of Deurne. Amongst his products, he sold his own self-made lightings. I still collect the pieces he made all those years ago. Unconsciously, he was a big inspiration for my work today. As a teenager, I started to go out and discover Antwerp in a different way. I would walk around the city: the Vrijdagmarkt, Kloosterstraat… Places where furniture-dealers come together. I also worked in alternative restaurants and met a lot of avant garde and innovative folk like Michael Marcy and Marc Meulemans – I was stimulated by their creativity and knowledge.
On a personal level, what would you like to see more in the city?
Getting rid of all these PVC windows that are placed in beautiful old buildings, it hurts my eyes! Also, definitely more parking spaces, and a thoughtful new road infrastructure.
To you, what is the best way to spend a weekend in Antwerp? How would you guide tourists around?
As I have lived here my whole life, I have a lot of favourite places. I don’t even really bother with Antwerp’s big market places anymore, but instead prefer to go to spots where I feel a personal connection, or can share an anecdote about.
I have too many anecdotes to recount, as I’ve seen many crazy but also inspiring things: from parties and concerts to skater stories. Friends who have shared their daily happenings and tales with me.