Back in October and almost a year since we launched, Annie and I hosted our first Function+Form Bloggers Design Tour over a long weekend. We started Function+Form as a way to bring together like-minded individuals through a love of design and interiors, giving new and more established designers a platform to share their work and process through our intimate gatherings held three times a year. After our second event in the spring, we felt ready to explore the design world beyond London and decided to find a city with a relatively untapped design community. We chose Antwerp. A cosmopolitan city famous for its fashion creatives – Dries Van Noten to name but one, for its gabled stone townhouses, sprawling harbour, De Koninck Brewery…but beyond this, we knew that readers looking to discover a new and emerging city would have plenty to explore here.
Kicking off my new series ‘Travel Antwerp’ which explores the merits of Belgian design and lifestyle in this young city of design, is shopping destination and lifestyle concept store St Vincents. This is an absolute must, not only for the carefully curated homeware and fashion, but the location alone is reason enough to spend at least an hour soaking up the interiors with a freshly brewed coffee from the cafe – of course. And you’re encouraged to stay as long as you like, although be warned of the desire to want to buy everything, particularly if you’ve only got a carry-on case. This place makes me want to give up plastering our walls in favour of rough brick (you’ll see what I mean) and set myself to task building dark green chipboard cupboards for the kitchen. It totally works.
A very recent addition to the city, the store was opened in December 2015 by economist-lawyer duo Henri and Geraldine. Originally an old printing office, the store is an ever-changing home to a thoughtful selection of design ( naturally I came home with Hasami plates), coffee table reads, stationery, art and clothing. Virtually everything here is for sale, including the furniture. A well considered space free of clutter, St Vincents is made all the more welcoming for the abundance of green houseplants who are well cared for and flourishing here.
To see more from our Antwerp city break and the group of bloggers who joined us, check out #BloggersTourAntwerp and #WeAreFunctionAndForm on Instagram.
St Vincents | Kleine Markt 13 | 2000 Antwerpen | Belgium
Open: Mon – Sun 10:30am to 6:30pm (closed Tuesdays)
Photography © Tiffany Grant-Riley