D.A.T.E.: Freunde von Freunden book launch
This Is Antwerp invited 12 internationals to Discover Antwerp Through Experience, in short to go on a D.A.T.E. with Antwerp from the 3rd until the 8th of November. We’ll show them the best hidden secrets, jaunt the hottest places, survive workshops together, enjoy the finest meals and much more. But most important they will meet that one important thing that fuels Antwerp to be the dynamic city that it is today: creative people.
This Is Antwerp local Tine De Clippeleire from AntwerpenStreetsyle.com
We asked our locals to keep us upD.A.T.E.d (word plays, we know... but it's stronger than ourselves) of what our guests are doing to discover Antwerp. Yesterday we asked our local Tine from antwerpenstreetstyle.com to join our internationals for the Antwerp Freunde von Freunden book launch.
Freunde von Freunden: an interview with Zsuzsanna Toth
On Wednesday evening the Copyright bookstore was open exceptionally late for the book launch of Freunde von Freunden’s book Friends. Freunde von Freunden portrays artists in their houses and apartments and the book shows the highlights of the five years since the beginning of the website. The book will also be launched in Amsterdam, Tokyo, New York and other cities – but we were first! I talked to one of our international D.A.T.E. guests Zsuzsanna Toth, who manages the international aspect of the website.
TIA: Can you tell a bit more about the website?
Zsuzsanna: Freunde von Freunden started five years ago when three Berliners from various fields such as graphic design and web development wanted to do something with their networks of creative individuals in Berlin. We thought it would be interesting to show another side of famous artists, brands and companies. Everybody knows their work, but not the personality behind it. Very soon writers and photographers from our network started portraying the inspiring people around them. The website started small; for 1,5 years it was only about the Berliner creative scene.
Then the name Freunde von Freunden actually turned into the concept: people who were interviewed in Berlin suggested other people who lead us to their friends, and so on. For example: one day an artist said that he had a friend in London who would fit the website’s aesthetic. We went international by meeting these people in other cities and founding local teams of writers and photographers.
We always base our search for new stories on the artists and not on the locations, but we quickly found out that they all share a specific aesthetic standard. The artists’ creativity is reflected in their work and homes; a person with a vision will not live in a white box without any personality. In the last years we have gone to North-America, Asia and Australia which means that we are now in 65 cities. We also began to publish stories from developing countries so we could go farther than just glossy high-class interior portraits. We really want to show how people from various fields, cities and cultures live.
TIA: So how did this all turned into a book?
Zsuzsanna: In 2011 we published our first book which was titled Best of Berlin. This compiled the highlights of 2 years Freunde von Freunden. Since then a lot of things have happened, so this new book’s goal is to sum up what we did in the last years. It includes 25 cities and 45 stories of creative individuals. In the book is a 100-year-old lady from Amsterdam and there are crazy young people from Vienna, New York and Tokyo. From Antwerp we included Bruno Pieters. It was just about time to release this book. It was not easy to make a selection because we have more than 500 portraits, but I hope that we made a good choice.
TIA: Was it surprising to notice that the artists’ houses reflected their personalities or were you expecting this?
Zsuzsanna: You think you will know how an artist lives based on their work and in some cases the house really is a continuation of someone’s art. Yet, I also find it exciting to discover that a creative person has a surprising collection, like Japanese toys, that you would not associate with his art. This way, we can show a whole new facet that you cannot know from looking at the artist’s professional work. Bruno Pieters’ astonishing apartment is the only location in Antwerp on the website.
TIA: Are you planning on expanding?
Zsuzsanna: Yes, we are only just starting in Antwerp. In this week I already met so many nice people with whom I want to stay in touch. Being here, I am actually surprised that we have not yet featured more places in Antwerp because I met so many creative people that are perfect to introduce on the website.
Was Antwerp still quite a hidden gem for you?
Zsuzsanna: It is my first time here, but since I come from the fashion field I know the Fashion Academy, of course. We have not strategically planned which cities we want to introduce since we mostly work organically by following the chain of suggestions we get. We just started in Antwerp and that is okay, I guess. Now that I have felt the city’s vibe, I think there will be a lot happening here.
TIA: That is good news! Do you see any resemblance between Antwerp and Berlin?
Zsuzsanna: Definitely the mix of cultures makes me feel at home here. Antwerp seems to be a city full of individuals, in contrast to Paris or Copenhagen where specific styles are dominant. Although the architecture is similar in the entire city, so many different minds are creating Antwerp. The people have a positive way of interacting with the city; they are aware that they have to take care of their environment and take efforts to shape it. Antwerp is also a very agreeable place for visitors. I cannot say anything negative so far!
TIA: Are there any creatives in Antwerp that you would like to meet?
Zsuzsanna: We want to introduce people whom our readers are not familiar with. Bruno Pieters is a big name, but we are not looking for celebrities or artists who already have been featured a lot by other media. Personally, I am very interested in the fashion world. It is hard to find people that are not famous without being in Antwerp yourself. By meeting the friends of the friends I am making in Antwerp, we discover the artists that we want to portray.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to miss a thing. We asked our This Is Antwerp locals to cover most of the workshops for you. So keep an eye out for our blog or follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram!
Text by Tine Van den Poel De Clippeleire - Antwerpenstreetstyle.com
Pics by Tine Van den Poel De Clippeleire - Antwerpenstreetstyle.com