First you pass Antwerp and then it’s a whole lot of nothing until you get to the border at Lille. Let’s face it, that’s how the Dutch experience driving to France. What about Ghent, I hear exactly no one ask? After all, Ghent is the shy wallflower along the highway you don’t notice until you see it in the rearview mirror. Which is a shame, because this Belgian city is really worth your while. It has an insanely beautiful medieval town center and – here’s where it gets interesting – a couple of interesting places to do some vintage design shopping. I visited three of them a while ago: Depot09, N’Importe Quoi and St-John. To get you in the mood, I thought it would be nice to share some of the items I found there. Hint: it was a lot to take in! I solemnly swore that this time would be different. I’d be careful with my coinage and not buy anything. Did I succeed? Of course not!
Vintage design shopping in Ghent destination numero uno: Depot09
If you hoof it, you need about half an hour to get there from the city center – but I promise you, Depot09 is worth your while. This vintage interior design store is located in an old warehouse on the edge of Ghent, making it the ideal location if you want to see vintage stuff in huge quantities.
Finding the entrance of Depot09 can be a bit of a challenge, but here it is! Just follow the signs and you’ll be fine.
Need help finding something at Depot09? Please report to the ‘burelen’!
Don’t you wonder sometimes where all those Hollywood Regency palm tree lamps were hiding before they started popping up everywhere you go? Beats me!
Hmmm, 350 euros is a bit steep for this table lamp. Although I have to admit, that lampshade with the drawing of Ghent sure is purty.
Careful or you’ll trip over all the design classics at Depot09, like this Wassily chair by Marcel Breuer.
I was rather charmed by the vintage ‘CHANGES’ sign and could even see it hanging in my living room.
Normally I find vintage wall charts a bit cliche’d. But at 20 euros, these didn’t look half bad. And they were Russian!
Note to self: two shades of light blue and soft yellow actually go together really nicely.
I know it’s the ultimate First World problem, but why do I always find THE perfect item right at the start of a long day of shopping? People of Ghent, if you recently saw an attractive bald man walking around town all day and carrying a heavy green vase with a leather corset under his arm, it was me. BTW, if you want to see what said vase looks like at home, check out my Instagram.
Who’s ready to move on to the next vintage design shopping destination in Ghent? Me, me, me!
Drop me off in a city I’ve never been to and I can assure you I can find a) the hip and happening street with the cool stores and b) the gay bars. Call it a nose, call it a talent, I don’t care. All I can say that it came in pretty handy in Ghent.
And so here I was, in front of a place called N’Importe Quoi. I’m always a little shy when I step into places like this. Don’t know why, I just am.
This shop is really like a smaller version of the Design Icons fair in Amsterdam, don’t you think? So much to see!
Rule of thumb: when your doing some vintage design shopping and if you have to ask how much something costs, you probably can’t afford it. Yet. Case in point: this stunning chandelier. As Janet Jackson once sung: Let’s wait awhile…before we go too far.
You know what? I didn’t notice until I looked at this photo that this is actually a beautifully designed mid-century modern table.
From this angle, N’Importe Quoi looks a bit messy, but I’m sure design aficionados like us can see through that.
This Panton Relaxer is quite rare. Fancy me finding it without even looking for it! This particular specimen still has the original fabric.
One last photo of this travertine dining table with matching Saarinen tulip chairs and I’m off!
I was tired, I was done, I had to pee. But when I walked back to the train station at the end of a long afternoon, I suddenly saw this little church with an antique store in it. Second wind!
I wondered what I’d find at St-John Art & Antiques!
Even though my feet were killing me, I could walk on air. I mean, just look at all this STUFF!
That giant painting in the back was definitely something else.
Lots of nooks and crannies to explore!
If it quacks like a duck…
This Eighties table lamp was part of a pair at St-John. They were a bit too big for my living room (not that that’s ever kept me).
I was fascinated by this glass object – but not enough to go ask how much it would cost.
One last Aperol Spritz and it’s back to Rotterdam!
No wait, one more. God, I’m hopeless when it comes to Aperol Spritz. But can you blame me? Call me superficial, but I love a little vintage design shopping and then a drink (or two). So sue me!