Joseph Thimister’s Antwerp
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Joseph Thimister’s Antwerp
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Josephus Thimister is a true melting pot when it comes to cultural heritage. Born into a family of French, Belgian and Russian descent, he started out life in Maastricht in the Netherlands. An acclaimed fashion designer, illustrator and interior decorator, Josephus was elected by American Vogue’s powerful Editor In Chief, Anna Wintour, as one of the 21st century’s most directional fashion designers. A master of many crafts, Josephus continues to surprise, suggest and push his creative boundaries…

His approach to creation takes root in his eclectic origins. His strong architectural vision and underlying sensuality act as a solid foundation when creating fashion collections and intriguing decors – an ideal creative soul to accompany Esensual Living’s universe. All Josephus’s creations possess a certain lightness and poetry – a subtle elegance and a singular expression. Josephus spent five years reviving the fashion house of Balenciaga, bringing the brand back to its pure and modernist vision. Later, he set up his eponymous fashion label in Paris and was eventually appointed head designer at Charles Jourdan. His unique approach to creation derives from his strong attachment to historical references.

Josephus’s slightly surreal universe, where the splendours of the past mingle harmoniously with a contemporary energy, is nevertheless stamped with a great seal of modernity. Taking his cultural heritage and eclectic background into consideration, it is hardly a surprise, that he feels completely at home in the diverse and cosmopolitan city of Antwerp — home to the prestigious Royal Academy of Fine Arts, from which Josephus graduated. The city counts numerous ancient districts and new neighbourhoods, docks, fine restaurants, secret nooks, galleries and boutiques. It is a bustle of creativity tinged with a tint of nostalgia. The Antwerp zoo remains another inspiration to Josephus, as animals play an important role in his interiors too. It is hard to imagine a better guide than Josephus to unveil the magic of Antwerp and to share with us, in our City Guide, his favourite haunts.

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Olivia Magis, Josephus Thimister
 

Esensual Living: What distinguishes Antwerp from any other city in the world?
Josephus Thimister: Antwerp represents for me the antitheses of ugliness-beauty, past-present, creation- business.

EL: Describe life in Antwerp.
JT: I loved living there as a student. When I went back some years later, I could still feel the rush of energy. Antwerp is a city full of spirit, creativity and fun. We had parties, beautifully decorated homes… we thought nothing of painting all the walls of a house in another colour for a party on the next day! Nothing was too crazy or impossible. Antwerp is today a more established, “yuppie’ city but, luckily enough there are still great people working on creative and authentic projects!

EL: Antwerp in three words.
JT: Three words are not enough to describe this city: Tante Fernande my extraordinary aunt, my friends, the Royal Academy, the docks, the diamonds, my house....

EL: What is your favorite view?
JT: I had a 1000 square foot house with a 200 square foot terrace overlooking the cathedral. The view was astonishing, with bats flying around at night. Looking over the roofs of this impressive church felt very alien…

EL: Describe your favorite neighbourhood.
JT: I love the harbour and the docks. I make endless expeditions there on rainy days and love to get lost around there on warm summer nights. It’s both a beautiful and surreal experience. Industrial architecture is pure poetry to me.

EL: Describe Antwerp’s food culture. Which local dishes are a must try?
JT: There are very different sides to it. Frituur Nbr 1 with Maria serving, contrasting with much more sophisticated establishments such as Euterpia, near the famous Cogels Osyslei street or De Kleine Zavel and the super chic Sir Anthony Van Dijck.

EL: Describe your perfect night out in Antwerp.
JT: After a great meal, going from bar to bar...

EL: What is your favorite festival or cultural event?
JF: The yearly fashion show at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. Get your tickets well in time!

EL: Who are your favorite local artists and designers?
JT: There are far too many I love and respect to name them all.

EL: What aspect of the Antwerp cultural scene most stands out to you?
JT: Again, it is fashion. It’s screaming out through the whole city!

EL: Do you have a favorite architect or building?
JT: The Consienceplein square with the beautiful baroque Saint Jean Borromée church full of Rubens paintings and the Boerentoren, the first sky-scraper in Europe.

 

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Josephus Thimister
 
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Olivia Magis, Josephus Thimister
 

EL: Which is your favorite food market?
JT: Not the Vogeltjesmarkt, a popular Sunday market I dislike but Delhaize, a Belgium institutional supermarket.

EL: What do you do to relax and unwind in Antwerp?
JT: Antique hunting in the Kloosterstraat or the Vrijdagmarkt or I have a walk around the harbour.

EL: What is your favorite city escape?
JT: I like to walk through the Voetgangerstunnel under the river and get out on the other side of the city… a surreal experience!

EL: What can you not live without when in Antwerp?
JT: A trip to Brussels!

EL: Which product would you choose for your house in Antwerp?
JT: The sublime Ephemera carpet from Tai Ping, the lovely Granito blanket from Teixidors....and obviously my favourite Baden towel range from the Belgian brand, Libeco.

www.thimister.com

 
CITY GUIDE - ANTWERP
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Bakkerij Goossens
 

BREAKFAST

Bakkerij Goossens

If you want a delicious breakfast taste the Roggeverdommeke (rye bread with raisins), a local specialty, at this wonderful traditional bakery.

 

LUNCH

De Kleine Zavel

A restaurant with lots of atmosphere and high gastronomic standards. You’ll have a splendid lunch!

invitegroup.be/dekleinezavel

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De Kleine Zavel
 
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Sir Anthony van Dijk
 

DINNER

Sir Anthony van Dijk

In the De Vlaaikensgang, a lovely complex of medieval houses, the famous restaurant Sir Anthony Van Dyjk has the perfect setting for a sophisticated dinner

www.siranthonyvandijck.be

 

BRUNCH

The Zuiderterras

I like it for a drink or a nice meal with a view on the river and the docks

www.zuiderterras.be

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The Zuiderterras
 
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Cafe Hopper
 

CAFE

Cafe Hopper

The favorite café cum bar of the artist’s community, good jazz… the place to go after dinner to meet long lost friends

www.cafehopper.be

 

GALLERY

Axel Vervoordt-Kanaal

Axel Vervoordt’s fantastic modern gallery space/showroom is set in a former distillery and malting complex on the docks where he held one of the first Anish Kapoor installations in 2000

www.axel-vervoordt.com

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Axel Vervoordt-Kanaal
 
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The MOMU
 

MUSEUM

The MOMU

The Mode Museum or fashion museum always organizes interesting shows. Lately there was a show celebrating the 50 years of the Royal Academy and its famous fashion department. Here you can see my first award winning dress all made out of hair!

www.momu.be

 

MONUMENT

Saint Charles Borromée

A beautiful 17 th century baroque church where one can see painting by Rubens. It is on my favorite, square,Consienceplein, where I used to lunch every day as a student

www.carolusborromeus.be

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Saint Charles Borromée
 
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Cogels Osylei
 

ARCHITECTURE

Cogels Osylei

Close to the Berchem Station, it is architectural gem from the early 20th century with a mix of houses and buildings in different styles : Art Nouveau, neo-Gothic, neo-Renaissance… an absolute must.

 

ARCHITECTURE

De Voetgangerstunnel

To walk from the city center to the left bank take the Voetgangerstunnel that goes under the river… a surreal trip !

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De Voetgangerstunnel
 
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Louis
 

BOUTIQUE

Louis

Louis on Lombarden Straat is the best store in town to shop designers clothes

 

BOUTIQUE

The Recollection

This concept store is all about mixing design creations, Margiela’s furniture, “objects of desire”. Take the time to browse through it, you will have a wonderful time!

www.therecollection.com

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The Recollection
 
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Zoo Antwerpen
 

ZOO

Inaugurated in 1843, it is the oldest zoo in Europe. It was built just outside the city. Now, Antwerp having grown so much it is near the main station at mid-town … there is something surreal about this!       

www.zooantwerpen.be

 

HOTEL

Hotel Julien

A great hideaway in a converted townhouse set in the historic center of the city.
Don’t miss its amazing Spa.

www.hotel-julien.com

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Hotel Julien
 
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Sleep in the City
 

HOTEL

Sleep in the City

Located in the fashion district, 3 stylish apartments in a 17th century house available for short terms rentals. Maximum chic, maximum comfort, a delightful way to feel at home in Antwerp.

sleepinthecity.therecollection.com

 

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