Tuesday, 22 October 2013
#5 & #6 IDa4 MURAL IN EUROPE: The Antwerp Central Youth Hostel & The Alias Hostel. Antwerp, Belgium
Belgium's Second city and biggest port, Antwerp (Antwerpen in Dutch) is the country’s capital of cool, a powerful magnet for hipsters, club queens, art lovers and diamond dealers.
Despite severe WWII bombings, the city retains an intriguing medieval heart with café-filled cobbled lanes, a riverside fortress and a truly impressive cathedral. Antwerp’s top draws are its vibrant fashion, entertainment scene and startling architectural and cultural contrasts.
But for us it has to be the nightlife! after visiting most of every big city in Belgium during this first month of the art exchange programme, we wanted/needed a BIG night out and you are guaranteed one of these in Antwerp.
You have cool, posh, dirty, filthy, happy, drunken and high nights too choose from, ( I think we managed to do all them, but maybe not in that order..)
We met some great people along the way, Michael from Cafe DeLux sticks out, he made us feel so welcome and told us the best places to go out and randomly bumping into him again when he finished work was even better.
But About the Art Now...
Yes, so as you can tell we got what we wanted from the Antwerp nightlife, but back to business.
We had two hostels to do in this city, The Antwerp Central Youth Hostel and Alias Youth Hostel
The Antwerp Central Youth Hostel
Antwerp Central Hostel "Pulcinella" is the latest and most modern youth hostel we have stayed in, its situated in the heart of the city centre. it does not feel like your 'regular' hostel, this is due to the fact that it was designed by one of Flanders top Minimalist architects, the black and white design is breath taking with defined straight lines and sharp edges this is more expecting of a top hotel than a Flanders youth hostel, this design is very forward thinking!
Brightening things up.
So whatever your opinion on minimalist architecture, there is one thing that me and IDa4 know, EVERY wall can be cheered up!
Caroline and the team at the hostel have done a fine job of adding there little touches to brighten things up, I particularly liked the plants on the ceiling, the cactus's on the wall and the book case made by the very talented chef/carpenter which will eventually say READ
We were given the task of filling the main wall up in the breakfast/dining area, this wall must be around 20meters long but will be seen by everyone who stays there.
As we have travelled along Belgium we have cut stencils of buildings or people from each place we visited and now have a collection from every city. This seemed the perfect place to put them on display. We added Antwerp's central station, the Cathedral and the MAS building to our collection and featured those on this mural, as well as monuments from Ghent and Bruges.
The workers at the hostels that we have met so far have all been amazing people, and here was no different. Friendly, helpful, informative and supportive. We even managed to pimp one of the guys bikes, and got some peach juice in return - the art exchange at it's very best. We also received some traditional Antwerp biscuits and some Antwerp liquor that helped us on one of the nights mentioned earlier!!
The Alias Hostel
Our second hostel in Antwerp was very different, but just as great. Located in the south of the city, this hostel couldn't be further from minimalistic, with art on the walls, funky colours, cute decorations and they had the great staff in common with all the other hostels. This recently upgraded hostel is going through a bit of a transformation. After hearing the plans we're very much looking forward to going back and seeing the finished article and maybe add a few more stencils!! The staff were great and were right behind what we were doing, and one of them gave us a great map of all the graff sites around the city, there's some amazing stuff on the walls of this city and some talented guys
Here we were asked to decorate one of the bedrooms, the idea is that eventually the hostel will have individually designed rooms. It was important for us that the mural followed the trend of the others we had already done, but we still want to mix them up a bit and not make a load of carbon copies.. After being given a selection of rooms to work in we picked number 11, so if ever you're there have a look in. We're really pleased with the finished wall and hope guests who stay in that room enjoy it too.