While in Ghent recently Design daily had the pleasure of visiting Clouds9000, a delightful mixed business that offers a casual eating experience in their cafe, a beautifully styled B&B apartment and an interesting store selling quality design objects sourced directly from designers and makers. What is particularly interesting about the venture is that it is housed in what was once a an elementary school chapel. The 19th century chapel in a central historical district of Ghent was bought by Veva Van Sloun and her husband Jan Wauters in 2010 but it took several years to restore. With far too much land and buildings to handle themselves the couple joined together with friends and like minded people to develope the site in a way that retained character of the original buildings while creating an exciting community spirited approach. The result is a small enclave of nine families who benefit from the siting around a communal garden that was once the playground of the elementary school.
Since redeveloping the site and restoring the main chapel, Van Sloun has converted the building into her family home and added the B&B / apartment and other facilities - creative spaces they rent out for workshops / pop ups and private initiatives. Van Sloun also runs I/OBJECT a webshop with the selection in store is quite different from the normal design store staples such as Hay, Muuto, and Menu. Instead van Sloun has sought out small brands and individual makers. You can visit the shop by appointment. As if this wasn't already enough the development also includes The Clouds in my Coffee cafe - a busy neighbourhood spot where locals can grab a morning coffee, eat lunch during the day or relax with a drink after work.
The purchase of the elementary school grounds came with a shop that fronted onto the street. While it didn't lend itself to the residential development plan that van Sloun and Wauters had in mind it did make a great cafe - and in 2012 Clouds in my Coffee was born.
The cafe appears small from the street but opens out into a bigger space at the back with a large glazed area and garden which allows for outdoor dining in the summer. The cafe features a massive bench along one wall that stretches from the interior through a wall of glass and out into the courtyard. Made with coloured tiles from the Danish company File under Pop, the space takes on a strangely Mexican feel with a rustic brick wall, old metal outdoor furniture and terracotta pots full of succulents. The interior design for the cafe was done by Dutch interior architect Maurice Mentions.
Van Sloun opened the Clouds9000 B&B situated within the main chapel building in October 2015. The apartment offers a beautifully curated selection of furniture and objects in a double height space with a mezzanine bedroom. The interior is highly eclectic with vintage rugs handmade textiles and lighting from the likes of Muller van Severen and Atelier Areti.
On the same level and just down the hallway from the B&B is the I/Object shop. The selection in store is quite different from the normal design store staples such as Hay, Muuto, and Menu. Instead van Sloun has sought out small brands and individual makers.
Currently the store carries textiles by LA brand BFGF and Belgian brand Laend, lighting by Goula and Figuera, Belgian designers Muller van Severen, Flos, Restart Milano, Ingo Maurer and Atelier Areti.
The furniture is equally interesting with pieces from French brands Objekto, Petite Friture and Moustache, Muller van Severen and Dutch / British duo Marjan van Aubel and James Shaw.
Make sure you say hi to Veva if you visit Clouds in my Coffee or the I/Object shop and if you're very lucky she might show you around the Clouds9000 B&B and even perhaps her beautiful home that occupies the majority of the old chapel. Ghent itself his a lovely city a short train journey from Antwerp with excellent Medieval buildings nestled around a river and some incredible Brutalist architecture on the outskirts of town in a suburb called Sint-Martens-Latem.
Clouds9000 can be found at Dendermondsesteenweg 104, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
A nights accomodation at the B&B / apartment is currently 120 euro. Bookings can be made at: clouds9000.com
The shop is open Wednesday to Saturday 11:00 - 17:30 closed Sunday to Tuesday.
+32 (0) 497 16 44 79
The cafe is open Monday to Thursday8.30 - 18.00, Friday and Saturday until 19.00 and Sundays 9.00 until 18.00
+32 (0) 93 368 434