FRAGMENTS_ Les grands ensembles de paris

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Inspired by Laurent Kronental’s photo series Souvenir d’un Futur, Lies and I decided to see those Grands Ensembles in Paris for ourselves during last summer’s road trip through France.  These enormous housing projects were built between the 1970s and 1980s and were meant to be a solution to the housing crisis, urban migration and the inflow of foreign immigrants, while also meet modern needs.  The resulting buildings must have looked pretty futuristic back then, but nowadays they feel rather like the captivating movie decor of a Modernist utopian city.   We visited three of these Grands Ensembles in the outskirts of Paris during our trip (one of which I didn’t photograph because it felt inappropriate, but you might have already seen Bofill’s Les espaces d’Abraxas in the hunger games movies anyway) and today I’m sharing two, the circular Les Arénes de Picasso in Noisy-Le Grand, designed by Manuel Núñez Yanowsky and the Le Viaduc (1980) and Les Arcades du Lac (1975) in Montigny-le-Bretonneux, designed by Ricardo Bofill and dressed in rosy hues.  If you want to see more of our roadtrip, have a look here on the blog or here on instagram, and keep an eye out for my last post about our vacation if you’re enjoying these posts filled with stunning architecture!

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WORK_ Model House by Gijs Van Vaerenbergh

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Last week I visited Gijs Van Vaerenbergh’s exhibition “Sections” at Valerie Traan, where I came across Model House, a piece they initially made for the Atelier à Habiter exhibition at Z33 in 2013, and models of their installations Labyrinth and Reading between the lines.  I realized I never shared the photos I took of Model House on the blog, so I wanted to do so now and at the same time encourage you to go see Sections for yourself at Valerie Traan.    If you’d like to know more about Model House, which depicts a typical Flemish “fermette” that’s in the process of being demolished from the bottom up, you should have a look at Gijs Van Vaerenbergh’s artist talk here.  (Only in Dutch though.) 

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COLLECTION_ gifts

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With the holidays coming up, I’m sure many of you are still stressing about what gifts to buy.  I’ve collected some of my favorite gifts, all available to order online so you won’t even have to run out the door to get them!  How’s that for relieving your holiday stress!  Once you’ve ordered these beauties, all there’s left to do is wrap them with a pretty paper… Lucky for you, I’ve got some inspiration for that here as well.  Now, get into the holiday mood with these christmas themed blogpost from my archive and go enjoy the holidays!

  1. “Micro-factories: move aside mr. Ford” by John and Masa Kleinhample from Klein agency talks about creative companies that combine traditional crafts with digital communication.  Get it here.
  2.  Rivet necklace in silver by anna + nina, buy it here.
  3.  Scented candle in spiced pumpkin by pommesfrites.  Order it here.
  4.  Handmade macrame wall hanging by Bermudadream, find it here.
  5.  The limited edition “Box of wonders” containing the “Wonders are collectible” book by Animaux Spéciaux’ Jeroen Lemaitre (who you might remember from this blogpost) and an original artwork by the man himself.  Purchase the giftbox here or the book here.
  6.  Kikkerland whiskey glasses and chaise longue whiskey stones to keep your drink cool without the watering disadvantages of normal ice cubes.  Get the glasses here and the stones here.
  7.  Soap hanger from Meraki in bamboo charcoal, sesame scrub or mangosteen, available here.
  8.  Cordon coffee roasts its coffee right here in Antwerp and delivers it at your or your loved one’s doorstep, while supporting my friends’ film project Echangeur at the same time.  Sounds like a win-win!  Get your caffeine fix here.
  9. “Wonderplants” shares the interiors of 20 plant lovers.  Find it here.

Bewaren

Bewaren

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WHERE TO GO IN HASSELT

city guide hasselt - via au pays des merveilles

As some of you might know, I didn’t always live in Antwerp (or Lisbon,  or Leuven…), but I grew up in a small town in the east of Belgium.  The nearest “big city” was Hasselt, which back then consisted mostly out of high street stores.  At the age of 16, we didn’t expect much more from our shopping trips, but times change.  And so did Hasselt!  Every time I return I’m surprised by all the new shops and bars, so I figured it was about time I shared my favorite places in this incredibly cosy city.  As usual, you’ll find a map at the bottom of this city guide for Hasselt, where you’ll find even more tips from very reliable sources, and this post will be updated as I discover new places.

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FRAGMENTS_ the french west coast

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Our road trip from last summer brought us to the french west coast after we visited the impressive villa cavrois.  We barely made any plans for this trip (we literally decided one day ahead that we’d drive through France), but Etretat was on the top of our list right from the start. With its stunning cliffs (including several natural arches) it is a however one of the most popular destinations at the french west coast for tourists.  We had no desire to spend our night among the crowd, so we headed to a camping that still had a spot for our tent in the nearby village of Yport.  Boy, was that a good choice!  The campsite (and thus our tent) turned out to have a breathtaking view over Yport and its beach.  We spent our days here reading, indulging in crêpes and baguettes and exploring the beach and the typical French village, before we headed to Paris.  However, that’s for another post.  For now, I hope you enjoy these photos of our stay.  More photos of our trip can be found here on the blog or here on instagram.  Are you inspired yet to take a trip to the french west coast yourself?

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WORK_ Terra

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“Terra” was one of the winning entries of the SPACES competition for the Interior Biennale of Kortrijk 2016.  TRANS aimed to gather people around food and thus designed a simple rectangular bar made out of concrete and wood, where mushrooms take the center stage.  I was asked by TRANS to photograph their bar and was quite impressed with their work and they way the public interacted with it.  Passersby seemed to be drawn to the field of mushrooms and stopping to smell them was no exceptional behavior.

Speaking of work, I’ve recently decided to take a little break from working in architecture and focus on my photography, interior projects and the blog instead.  I’m really excited about this new turn (and a little nervous I’ll admit) and I can’t wait to see how this evolves… Stay tuned!

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COLLECTION_ all of the lights

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As most of you might have already caught on instagram or facebook, I’ve recently had to move out of my studio due to some unforeseen circumstances.  However, I’ve found a lovely apartment, in a much quieter neighborhood, with a separate bedroom (one that doesn’t double as an entryway!) and with a lot more space to decorate.  This time I don’t need to invest in as many new pieces as after my last move, and I’m quite enjoying the fact that my pieces of furniture have more space to shine now.  However, one thing that I do miss is some mood lighting.  As it turns out, I only own three of these IKEA Ranarp lamps, which is not enough to provide an entire apartment of some cosy light.  So far, I’ve been rethinking a DIY that was meant for my previous home (more on that one later, for sure!) and I’ve collected my favorite table lamps and wall lamps (and I couldn’t resist to squeeze in two gorgeous pendant lamps as well…) from my pinterest. Obviously I can’t buy all of these, so I still have some thinking to do.  Which one is your favorite?

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FRAGMENTS_ villa cavrois

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This summer, my friend Lies and I opted for a budget holiday, driving with our tent through the North of France, exploring both architecture and nature, while ending with a bit more luxury in Paris (hello hotel panache!), where we would meet up with our friend Eline.  The first stop on this roadtrip was Villa Cavrois, an impressive modernist mansion  located in Croix, just over the Belgian border.  This “modern château” was designed in 1929 by Robert Mallet-Stevens for the wealthy Paul Cavrois (a textile industrial), his wife Lucie and their seven children.  The architect also designed the entire interior of this 2800 m² mansion, and opted for luxurious materials such as marble and precious wood, while never losing sight of functionality.  However, after being occupied by the German army during world war II and an unsuccesful architectural intervention, Villa Cavrois was abandonned and vandalized.  Luckily the French state realized the value of this building and bought the property in 2001, with the goal of restoring it to its former glory.  13 years (!) of research and 23 million euro (!) later, Villa Cavrois is restored back into its original state of 1932 and open to the public. 

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WHERE TO GO IN COLOGNE

where to go in cologne

Last summer I spent a couple days in Cologne all by myself.  You’ve already seen fragments of that trip on the blog and my instagram, but today I wanted to share my favorite spots in this lovely German city.  I collected tips from friends and other bloggers beforehand, so in the map at the bottom of this post you’ll find a lot more places than I possibly could try in those three days but would love to explore during another visit to Cologne!

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FRAGMENTS_ botanical garden in Cologne

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It’s no secret that I’m rather fond of botanical gardens, so it shouldn’t surprise you that when I planned to visit Cologne, the first thing I looked up was if the city had a botanical garden.  Wandering through the lush gardens, exploring its stunning greenhouses and reading while enjoying these exotic vies turned out to be a perfect way to spend my afternoon.   What can I say, I just never get tired of botanical gardens!  So here are a few fragments of Cologne’s most peaceful hideaway, hopefully this dose of greenery brightens your Sunday!

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