Antwerp, Meir 99
One of the assignments during the Antwerp city guide course was to discuss the Central Station – Boerentoren axis. I could really enjoy myself here. Not that I am such a shopper, but because of the architecture that can be found here. You will find here rococo to modern, art nouveau to art deco. My favorite is this building, which used to be a specialist for cutlery, silverware and crockery. In short, if people used to get married, they would place their wedding list here. I suspect that this almost never happens anymore, the store has moved. Now there is a clothing store in it.
Tilquin has had a shop on the Meir since the 19th century and had branches in Ghent, Ostend, Brussels and Liège. They sold and produced knives and silver cutlery. In the 1930s it was decided to construct a new building on this side of the Meir designed by architect Joseph Selis. The complex consisted of a store and 3 apartments. The shop design was produced in the architect’s studio.
Through research work for the guide training assignment, I discovered that the cutlery I use every day comes from Tilquin. They produced a cutlery line with the Blanco brand. I thought, raised with white products, that the imprint on the cutlery pointed to a cheaper production. Nice to know that Tilquin also gave a 25 year guarantee on their cutlery, so it would not have been such a white product …
The column in the middle is recognizable with the flagpole at the top. The shop window is finished with black granite. The rest of the façade has been constructed with painted parings from white natural stone. The symmetrical structure with rounded corners, together with the top of the façade, is reminiscent of the package boats of that time.
The building has been protected since 1983. After Antwerp had been the Cultural Capital (1993), Tilquin closed its branches on the Meir. Tilquin still exists, but now on Frankrijklei 86. The building was bought by an investment company that restored it to its former glory. DMT architects have taken on the restoration, more interior photos can be found on their website. Of the apartments, only one bathroom has remained in its original design. The current store has been enlarged with copies of the original furniture.
Antwerp, Meir 99
This article first appeared on my other site about architecture in and around Antwerp: archiplore.
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