Can you describe what you do?
I’m co-founder of Soulmade, a virtual reality production company. We make 360º movies for commercial purposes, one example being a video for Doctors Without Borders. I mostly work with other creatives, people from the audiovisual industry such as cinematographers and screenwriters, designers and game developers – all of them passionate about what they do.
How do you perceive Antwerp?
It’s, first and foremost, a very diverse city. With Soulmade we’ve done several projects here. At TAKEOFFANTWERP we presented our company and our movies because we knew there are a lot of great thinkers with entrepreneurial spirit in Antwerp.
What would you say is Antwerp’s main appeal for creatives?
There is just so much happening in the city. A lot of startups, new initiatives and companies such as KBC, helping these new creatives. In a way, you could see Antwerp as a gathering place for people with ideas. As a young entrepreneur and creative, I was able to meet like-minded people and share my ideas, just because there is such a stimulating environment.
How would you say Antwerp contributed to making you who you are today?
First of all, I went to a lot of events that focused on entrepreneurship, which were often organised by young creatives such as myself. This, combined with the promised support coming from big companies and government institutions, really motivated me to set off and start my own company. But I was equally inspired by all the other young companies and organizations in Antwerp. Just seeing their art, their shows or whatever it is they specialise in, was a sign for me to pursue the same.
On a personal level, what would you like to see more in the city?
I would like to see even more public spaces available for creatives to meet and. A lot of the networking happens in bars at the moment, but I think it would be more stimulating to have more co-working spaces. It’s essential that these spaces are open to anyone, people who are just starting out might not have the means to join. It also opens up possibilities for more and bigger events.
There are a lot of great thinkers with entrepreneurial spirits in Antwerp.
To you, what is the best way to spend a weekend in Antwerp? How would you guide tourists around?
I would give them a drink, for starters, then take them out. Antwerp shines at its brightest during the night after all. Eilandje would be a nice neighbourhood to explore some bars and restaurants. It’s cosy, lots of cool people and rather safe to walk around these days. Just generally, I would look up some events and see what is happening in the city. That is the strength of Antwerp, creative events, all around the city, that bring lots of people together.
I’ve always liked the classic story about the origin of the name “Antwerp”. In Dutch it loosely translates to throwing a hand. According to folklore, a young hero chopped off the hand of the giant that was terrorising the city and threw it into the river. Hence, hand throwing.soulmade.media Interview Kevin Lau Photography Joke De Wilde