The magical hats of Christopher Coppens


A Belgian artist living in Los Angeles, Christopher Coppens - designer, artist of all trades - from visually offensive (for some) to shocking to funny to smart to sophisticated .... Christopher's work is extremely eclectic and includes many different mediums. Usually very colorful, cringeworthy and sarcastic "in your face" visuals ... I have to admit a weakness for the more sophisticated and toned down poetry of his hats.

Trained initially as a theater director, Coppens started his own label as an accessories designer at the age of 21, a career that would span over 20 years with several outlets, international press following and buyers the world over, and that he would combine and nurture with his first stunts and solo shows as an artist. For more on his incredible journey, click here

But 2012 would mark a very important episode in his career, when, after 21 years of making work on the edge of art and fashion, Coppens decided to close his company to focus exclusively on his work as an artist. At this point his label was sold in 140 shops worldwide, his name was heard among fashion connoisseurs and he had become arguably one of the most celebrated milliners in Japan.

Part of this post via Wikipedia

Heerlijkheid van Marrem - A farm for short-term rental

Heerlijkheid van Marrem Guesthouse in Belgium | Remodelista
Heerlijkheid van Marrem Guesthouse in Belgium | Remodelista

Heerlijkheid van Marrem Guesthouse in Belgium | Remodelista

Heerlijkheid van Marrem Guesthouse in Belgium | Remodelista

Heerlijkheid van Marrem Guesthouse in Belgium | Remodelista

Heerlijkheid van Marrem Guesthouse in Belgium | Remodelista

Heerlijkheid van Marrem Guesthouse in Belgium | Remodelista

Heerlijkheid van Marrem Guesthouse in Belgium | Remodelista

Heerlijkheid van Marrem Guesthouse in Belgium | Remodelista

The small Belgian town of Wevelgem in West Flanders was once devoted to flax cultivation (weavers would soak their crop in the De Leie river running through town). Today, the area, within biking distance of the French border, is known for its old churches, WWI cemeteries, cycling and walking trails, and Heerlijkheid van Marrem, a historic farmstead available to rent.

When owners Natalie and Dominque purchased the farm in 2007, they leaned on their remodeling and interior design experience to renovate the property, which was built in the mid-18th century but has parts that date to the 15th century. First, they tackled the caved-in stable walls in the gatehouse, then the carriage house, the square main farmhouse, and so on, preserving all of the original features and artfully mingling them with spare modern rustic designs. Heerlijkheid van Marrem, Dutch for "The Glory of Marrem" (marrem refers to the marshland in the area), accommodates 20-23 people in four buildings—it's available only to one group at a time and is ideal for families or groups of friends. The couple, who live at the farm with their three young sons, have also added a flock of floppy-eared black and white British Suffolk sheep, some donkeys, and a Belgian draft horse. Come have a look.

This post via Remodelista

Heerlijkheid van Marrem
Marremstraat 1,
8560 Wevelgem

From Military Church to Restaurant : presenting The Jane

Dutch designer Piet Boon has transformed the interior of a former military hospital chapel in Antwerp, Belgium, into a contemporary restaurant featuring a sculptural chandelier.

Piet Boon's Amsterdam studio worked with lighting designers .PSLAB and artists Studio Job on the interior of The Jane restaurant, combining modern elements with the chapel's high ceilings and patterned tile floor.

"The main features we retained in The Jane were the ceiling, of which the peeling paintwork was preserved, and the original pottery floor tiles," the design team told Dezeen.

Described by the designers as "fine dining meets rock 'n roll", the restaurant accommodates its kitchen in the church's former altar.

.PSLAB's large chandelier made from steel and hand-blown crystal glass forms a centrepiece in the restaurant. Thin steel poles extend out in all directions from its central cylinder, with small crystal globes attached to the end of each one.
Black circular tables and pale green armchairs sit beneath the chandelier, while larger seating areas are positioned against the walls.

Studio Job created 500 colourful glass window panels to replace the former stained-glass windows.
Referencing "stories of good and evil, rich and poor, life and death as well as good food and religion", the panels include images of sunflowers, devils and skulls.

A marble-topped bar is installed on an upper-level viewing platform and surrounded by black upholstered bar stools. An illuminated skull light hangs down at the rear of the space.

Bespoke speakers were also installed to "spread sound", reducing noise and echo from the high ceilings. "The acoustics of the restaurant play an important role in speech intelligibility and ambiance," added the designers.

This post via

And for more information about this incredible location and the people who made it happen,
click here

Hotel Julien - Antwerp

For me at this moment Hotel Julien is the most beautiful hotel in Antwerp. If you get the chance to sleep in this city, you have to take this option in serious consideration.

Atmosphere & design: The design of the hotel is extraordinary. I am a big fan of the combination of the light wood and marble in their bathrooms, I love to sit in their living room in front of the fireplace, I want to hang out in their spa forever, I adore the fresh flowers throughout the hotel and I like to spend evenings in their bar sipping great cocktails (open for non-hotel guests too!).

Location: Their location is perfect. It lies a few doorsteps away from the Antwerp cathedral, good restaurants and the shopping area. You are in the most central part of Antwerp city.

Insiders tip: They have a beautiful private spa in their cellar that you can book (also as a non-hotel guest). Combine it with a treatment (REN products!) and feel like new when you come outside. Don’t forget to have a look at their rooftop terrace to have the best views of the cathedral.

Price category: Rooms are between 180 and 260 euros per night.

Korte Nieuwstraat 24, 
(+32) 03 229 06 00
Copyright pictures: Marie Monsieur

A hidden seafood gem in Antwerp

What: A hidden seafood gem in Antwerp. The owner of the restaurant, Philippe, was already known for his oyster stall ‘Oesterkraam’ at the Saturday market in Antwerp. Now you can also taste fresh seafood in his restaurant.
Food: The place to be for seafood lovers. Oysters, king crab, lobster, plateau fruits de mer, bouillabaisse and various sorts of fish. They have it all!
Atmosphere & design: The restaurant is situated in a cosy garage, which used to be their storage room for fish. Think: wooden tables and cute lamps in fishing nets. Since Vrijdag Visdag is not situated in the city center the place is only known by locals.
Insiders tip: Make your reservation in advance! Vrijdag Visdag is always fully booked. If you have a hard time selecting your dish you can ask Philippe for recommendations.
Price category: Reasonable prices. Main courses start from 25 euros. (Detailed menu and price list on their website)

Vrijdag Visdag
Lange Elzenstraat 75
2018 Antwerpen
T: 0495 10 80 08

Official website:
This post via

Ann Van Hoey at Tortus Copenhagen

Belgian potter Ann Van Hoey will be presenting some of her latest work for a solo show at the Tortus boutique @ Tortus Copenhagen March 20 - April 26 /2015. Ann will be present for the opening of March 20 from 4 till 8 pm.

This is only one of many shows Ann is having this year ... if you would like to know what Ann is up to ... please subscribe to her newsletter @

Badstuestræde 17
1209 København K

This is Belgian Jazz!

Nothing new but as I stumbled upon these few older gems, I just wanted to share my current musical mood and reminiscence. Marc Moulin (1942-2008) was a Belgian musician and journalist who was a member of the avant-guarde rock band Aksak Maboul in 1977 and formed the pop group Telex in 1978. Moulin was one of Belgium's jazz legends, making jazz-influenced records for over 30 years. Sadly, he left us too soon in September 2008.

This is Belgium - the guide book

If you are planning on visiting Belgium, instead of reaching for the same old redondant guides ... try the fresh and edgy "This is Belgium".  You will experience a hip and insider look a Belgium's best kept secrets and areas of charm  and 'plein d'esprit' only the few of us know about ...

"A 164-page guidebook with the best Belgian-only Art, Food, Photography, Music, Travel and Neighbourhood tips from the magazine’s team of editors.  Part useful guide, part passionate love letter, This is Belgium captures one of the world’s true superpowers at its best, boldest and bravest."

HERTOG JAN - A new kind of simple restaurant

"At the end of 2010 Joachim and Gert took the next step in the execution of their philosophy by buying their own farm in Zedelgem, close to the city of Bruges. This allowed them to grow a wide variety of vegetables, fruits and flowers for use in many of Chef Gert De Mangeleer’s signature dishes. The long-term vision was to transfer the entire restaurant to the same location and integrate it with the historical farm and its surroundings. The garden, which can be experienced while dining, is the departure point for the guests’ journey of discovery and changes, like the dishes, with the seasons. The new location was opened in July 2014, our photo album displays part of the evolution of the last four years.

The 180-year-old barn has been completely renovated and refurbished to host the beating heart of the new Hertog Jan – the kitchen. The new addition hosts the actual restaurant with a view over the surrounding garden and landscape. The full concept was created by the office of Architect Dries Bonamie."

Au Vieux Saint Martin - a Brussels landmark since 1968

Near the heart of Brussels, in the Sablons, this gem of an eatery has opened its door in 1968 and been busy ever since! So busy in fact that, growing up, the wait was made bearable only because of the Bandes Dessinees (Graphic Novels) lining the entrance/lobby. As an adult, it is the richness of Belgian cultural icons quietly intermixing in this buzzing environment.

Au Vieux Saint Martin consists of a dining room on the ground floor decorated by designer Christophe Gevers (1928-2007) which includes furniture, lighting and coat hangers by Jules Wabbes.  The walls are adorned with works of contemporary Belgian artists (Alechinsky, Bervoets, Swennen and Reynhoud). Upstairs, a beautiful room is available on reservation for your meetings, cocktails or dinners. The walls are decorated with lithographs of the movement of young
Cobra painters (1948-1951).

When in Brussels, I am not satisfied until I eat there at least once or twice. Some of my favorite dishes are:

Radis, Fleur de sel de Noirmoutier
Tomates aux crevettes grises d’Oostende
Salade de crevettes grises d’Ostende
Fondus au parmesan maison
Boudins noir et blanc, purée terre et ciel (I always ask for white only)
Saucisse fraîche, stoemp de carottes
And ALWAYS ask for a side of fries (with mayonnaise) if you want the true Belgian experience!

Grand Sablon, 38
1000 Brussels
Tel: +32 (0)2 512 64 76
Fax: +32 (0)2 513 71 87

Open 7/7 from 10 AM
Non-stop kitchen from 12 AM until 12 PM except on Sundays and holidays until 11 PM
Closed on 24/12 and 31/12 from 3 PM.