What’s new: Fabulous deck chairs and a canal-side coffee house
Limited edition deck chairs designed by local artists brighten up holidays at home, while a new coffee house and B&B has moved into a historical building in the Kempen
Thirty local artists were given a white deck chair and carte blanche to paint it any way they saw fit. It was a way to provide artists with a bit of income during the corona crisis and consumers with a fun way to get a little holiday atmosphere safe at home.
“The corona crisis has hit the art world extremely hard,” said Luc Theuwis of ArtandAdvice, a bureau that helps businesses and other organisations to outfit their spaces with artworks. “So many of the artist I work with saw their income decrease drastically. But while corona has put a stop to sales, there is still heaps of creativity out there.”
Theuwis launched Transartlantic – a play on the once common term for transatlantic passenger ships and the deck chairs that adorned them – together with Marcel Engelen of White Light printing and signage. “I was wondering how we could make summer holidays more fun this year,” he says. “And what says ‘holiday’ more than a deck chair?”
The chair material is washable and comes with an eco-certificate and a guarantee of colour quality for five years if used outside. Should you use the chair inside, the colour will not fade for at least 20 years. All the designs can be ordered online at €150 each, while supplies last.
This new coffee house and B&B has opened in a terrific old building – the 19th-century bridge tender’s house on the Dessel-Turnhout-Schoten canal in Arendonk. The bridge, with its tell-tale green and yellow infrastructure, makes up part of a popular cycle and walking route along this canal in the Kempen.
Now those recreation-seekers have a place to stop off for a bit of refreshment, including beer, wine, coffee, tea and soft drinks. There are also baked goods and sausage rolls on the menu.
The building is owned by Flanders’ waterways agency, which supported Nikki and Patrick Lubeck’s application to open the new business. The business is named after the bridge, simply called Bridge 6. The couple live next to Brug 5 (Bridge 5) in the same area.
“Brug 6 is a socially responsible and inclusive coffee house,” said the entrepreneurs in a statement. “We work with fair-trade products and are also keen to work with the developmentally disabled.”
That’s not just lip service – the couple have a child with Down’s Syndrome. “Inclusion and accessibility are our starting points, every visitor should feel at home here.”
The lockdown this year made some issues abundantly clear, and one of them was the need for green space near our homes. Whether walking through a simple city park or cycling along a countryside creek, people went searching en masse for green spaces to stretch their legs and get a little fresh air.
Some people had an easier time finding it than others. That’s why Antwerp province – the centre of the most strict corona measures at the moment – has launched Groenzoeker, or Green Finder. Visit the website and tell it if you want to walk or cycle, then refine your search with criteria like “among the trees” or “next to water”.
You are then provide with a map of options across the whole province. Hone in to see what is available near where you live. “We are all looking for green space – but not for crowds,” said the province’s environment and water agency in a statement. “But many people are only aware of the big recreation domains and not the forests, parks, playgrounds and nature reserves that are in the town next door. By bringing all the outdoor options together in one map, we hope to ease the pressure on the bigger domains and spread people out across natural areas.”
Photos, from top: Courtesy Transartlantic, ©Kris Vandevorst/Erfgoed.net, courtesy Natuurpunt