Mandi Keighran discovers Sleeping Out of the Box – a guesthouse in Ghent where you get the opportunity to sleep with some of Belgium’s leading young designers.
November 12th, 2010
If you happen to find yourself in Ghent, Belgium (which comes highly recommended) there is, if you’re a lover of design, only one place to stay. Sleeping Ouf of the Box is a guesthouse run by Maison Caro – Sofie Lachaert’s former assistant – where you have the chance to “see, feel, taste, and love” the work of young Belgian designers in a real life context.
Wander down Zwartezustersstraat (literally: ‘black sisters street’ – there used to be a convent here), past Surplus Interieur (a beautiful shop stocking high end Belgian and international designers), until you get to Gallerie Sofie Lachaert (www.lachaert.com).
Instead of turning right into the gallery (plenty of time for that later), head straight ahead up the tiny turquoise staircase. Just remember not to pack too much, as this is a distinctly European staircase – impossibly steep and just wide enough for one.
At the first landing, open a rather ordinary white door, and you’ll find yourself in a design wonderland. In fact, I felt a little bit like Alice stepping through the looking glass.
The white studio on the first floor is a blank canvas for young Belgian designers, as the space is re-designed every three months in a concept called “Sleeping with…”. During my stay, I slept with James van Vossel. But his three months is almost up, so future guests will get the chance to sleep with some of Belgium’s other young designers.
In Van Vossel’s version of the studio, you can create your own version of comfort with ‘Invert’ – a sofa made from fifty pillows that can be stuffed, piled or otherwise arranged; relax in the folded felt ‘FF1’ lounge chair; take up knitting with the wobbling ‘Granny’ chair; or catch up on some work at the ‘Schraag’ table, while sitting in ergonomic comfort on the foam ‘Z-Ball’.
Upstairs, design objects from Caro and her creative friends decorate the flat, which has separate living and sleeping spaces. In this surreal world you can get married for one minute with an ice ring (there’s even a wedding dress in the bathroom), stir your coffee with a sugar spoon, make believe a shoot out with soft toy guns, or see if you can spot the pigeons hiding in the branches.
Other designers currently found in the magical guesthouse include Linde Hermans, studio david graas, SNURK, and Fou de Feu.
And the best thing about Sleeping Out of the Box is that next time you visit, chances are there will be a whole cast of different designers to discover.
Sleeping Out of the Box
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