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A CONVERSATION WITH THOMAS DE MULDER
Last weekend, The Canvas opened its second permanent location in Antwerp, Belgium. This partnership began with two collaborators, MADE and Kunstgezind, who we will highlight in a series of interviews for The Palette.
For this piece, we spoke with Thomas De Mulder from the MADE team on the unique and innovative model the company uses to be more than a real estate business, but a trend setter highlighting and bolstering a variety of cultural and artistic endeavors across Antwerp.
Thomas, thanks for taking the time to speak with The Palette. What is MADE and when did you join the MADE team?
No worries, my pleasure. We like to call ourselves urban trend consultants. MADE is the brand and face of a completely vertically integrated real estate company. We sell and rent out completely renovated work-play-live units/spaces. We guide and inspire our investors, partners and developers on design and innovation.
What is MADE’s vision for Antwerp? Given the unique challenges facing retail today, what are the insights and principles that have allowed MADE to thrive where others seem stuck? What’s the most difficult part about your business?
Our biggest mission and vision is to create added value to the city we all live in and certainly love. In this case, Antwerp. We seek up lost souls of buildings in the city and give them a second life. By doing this we create a certain value to neighborhoods and introduce new happy homes.
What does a typical day at MADE look like for you? What are the most exciting things you’re working on right now?
There’s no such thing as a typical day. Every day is different and very exciting. I’m working on a lot of different projects consisting of sales, innovation projects and introducing a pop-up mentality to boost entrepreneurship within the real estate business. The latter being a very new concept in this very conservative business. We are the only company at this moment that have this completely vertically integrated system where we stand behind the idea of buildings that are empty should be used. Often budget is a big factor for starting businesses to engage in the commercial world. It’s by offering this chance to these businesses we boost entrepreneurship which is very much needed.
What is most exciting about Antwerp to you right now?
The synergy of different communities and businesses. They call New York the city that never sleeps. I’d like to think Antwerp is up there too. There’s not a single day I wake up and think, damn I want to move. I love it here.
What is MADE’s long term vision for Antwerp?
Really being an innovation leader in a business sector that used to have a very bad image. And most importantly being a key-player in making Antwerp an even better place than it already is!
How do you see our collaboration contributing to culture in Antwerp? What makes you most excited about The Canvas in Antwerp and the impact of our two companies working together?
It’s pretty unique that an American fashion company and a Belgian real estate business work together. It might just be the first time! Especially the content of the collaboration. I do not see a typical land-lord relationship, I actually don’t like that at all. I see a lot of opportunities on various aspects on which we both can learn from each other. And I see a lot of closed doors waiting to be opened by us. We both focus on sustainability and both seek new opportunities in two vary long existing fields. Its unique and exciting at the same time!