Antwerp artists conquer The Brain Embassy

Foundations
13 May 2024

Extreme make-over, The Brain Embassy edition. We gave our coworking in the heart of Antwerp an upgrade. It reflects our DNA even better and tightens the ties with our beloved city of Antwerp. That’s why we joined forces with two local partners: BuroMuro handpicked local artists to shine all over The Brain Embassy, illustrator Axelle Rose Zwartjes took care of the brand-new branding.

Let’s start this blogpost with a short trip down memory lane with our managing partner Joke Seghers.“When we opened the Antwerp branch of The Brain Embassy two years ago, we added a local flavor to a ready-made global brand. Now it’s time to turn the tables. As a coworking place, our community and our location define our identity. Antwerp is at our doorstep; the city plays a big part in who we have become. The new branding and the art on the walls put our distinctive local DNA in the spotlight.”

 

“We want to throw our doors wide open and invite the city into our building. Collaborations with local partners are the best way to establish that connection. Those partnerships grow organically. Our partnerships with Axelle Rose Zwartjes and BuroMuro came about thanks to real human connections: ‘I know a girl (or guy) who knows a girl who …’ You know the drill. Even in this digital era, those human connections and networks still do the trick.”

A happy, light-hearted vibe

Antwerp based Illustrator Axelle Rose Zwartjes (not related to the singer of Guns ‘n Roses!) developed the new branding for The Brain Embassy. “I followed her on Instagram, her illustrations always give me a feeling of instant happiness”, says Joke. “That’s exactly what I want people to feel at The Brain Embassy. So, I reached out to Axelle.”

 Axelle accepted the challenge: “I lived in the United States for six years. I worked as a production assistant, but I decided to chase my dream and become a full-time illustrator. (laughs) That’s what the land of the free does to you. It feels so good to follow my passion that my work automatically becomes colorful and cheerful. The Brain Embassy is far beyond my comfort zone. It’s not your typical office environment, but it’s still a place where people go to work. I tried to match my happy, light-hearted vibe with the coworking vibe. The best of both worlds.”

The Theaterbuilding as a chest of drawers, a zebra straight out of the Zoo with a cup of steaming coffee on its ass,...: Axelle’s illustrations will put a smile on your face. For Joke, these little, humorous winks to the city of Antwerp are very important. “Of course, our members want to make money and grow their business. But we all need some color and some humor, as an antidote for the corporate world that takes itself a little too seriously. Professional and cheerful at the same time, that’s The Brain Embassy.”

Local artists showcase their work

The collaboration with Axelle Rose Zwartjes is not the only local partnership The Brain Embassy has launched. Did you already take some time to admire the art in our open spaces? All the illustrations, photographs, print screens,… are ‘made in Antwerp’. The talented local artists were selected by BuroMuro, an art and design gallery from Mechelen.

 “We bring Belgian art to people’s homes, to offices, to restaurants,…”, explain co-founder Jolijn Gyssels. “It’s our mission to give local artists a platform to showcase and sell their creative work. The Brain Embassy is the perfect platform. There’s a lot of space, there’s a lot of natural light coming in. The art really shines here.”

“Art inspires people”, says Joke. “When you’re surrounded by beauty all day, you raise the bar and you come up with fresh ideas. We could have picked the art for the Brain Embassy from one of the many online catalogues, but we wanted a local partner who knows the local art scene. That’s how I met BuroMuro. I really like the idea of giving local artists a platform. Art shouldn’t always be impressive and intimidating. We want to create an emotional connection between the artists and the people who work and meet here.”

Have you fallen in love with one of the pieces of art? We have good news for you: you can order your own limited-edition print. Next to every illustration, photograph or print screen, there’s a QR code. Just scan it and you can buy a print in the format you wish. “BuroMuro is an atypical art gallery”, says Jolijn. “We want to make art accessible and affordable. We want to bridge the gap between the artists and the art enthusiasts. That’s what we hope to achieve at The Brain Embassy.”

More to come

The transformation of The Brain Embassy is in full force. There’s more to come after the summer, announces Joke. “Another unique collaboration is in the works. Two of Antwerp’s hottest hospitality entrepreneurs will work together for the first time to open a new food and drinks concept on our ground floor. ‘Buy local’ has become a popular slogan during the pandemic. But way too often it’s just that: a marketing slogan. We take it up a notch, we make it tangible and bring it to live. We’re not there yet and we can’t do it alone. So, we are always on the lookout for local partners to join forces.”

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