Louise Vanderlinden and Mattias Staelens don’t only have a mutual love for each other but also share a similar and thorough appreciation for architecture, especially when it comes to the socio-cultural opportunities it gives.

Together they share the Camiel tote bag. Louise during the week, to bike to work and Mattias in the weekend, when he needs a practical bag that fits all his stuff easily.

The couple lives and works in Brussels, Louise is currently working on a new project for the WTC towers in Brussels, for 51N4E architects, and Mattias is co-founder of the interdisciplinary studio Onkruid, widely known for organising the Horst Arts & Music festival. 


Architecture as a social system

Both of them prefer to practise architecture from a socio-cultural viewpoint. For them architecture is a tool to make a city, and this goes much further than purely the physical context of giving form. 

Next to the organisation of internal functionalities and spaces, the couple feels that architecture needs to take its surrounding into account. How can a city run through a building or how can the function of a building connect several aspects of its neighbourhood?

“A public space should be a reflection of our society, and especially in dense cities this will become even more important.” - Mattias Staelens

The treasures of daily life

To understand these social systems and the needs of different neighbourhoods they mainly find inspiration in daily life. Stimulated by what they see and hear they always try to look with an open mind at new things. Showing interest in the ordinary leads to getting to know new people, new collaborations and this is what truly gives them energy and enthusiasm for what they to. 

Or travelling, not always far but also nearby. Discovering new places, even in Belgium can be unusually eye-opening.


On sharing clothing & accessories 

Durability is something we always found important, in architecture you design multifunctional to guarantee a long lifecycle, similarly we love secondhand clothing and the feeling of knowing that a garment has been through several life-cycles already and still fits perfect. 

The couple doesn’t only find treasure in other people's closets but similarly like the Camiel, also shares others things. From scarfs to hats and caps or sunglasses. Louise: “We have this black cap that we always like to wear at the same moment, when we’re out it often goes from my head to mattias’ head and visa versa.”

The fun thing about sharing our Camiel tote bag is that it’s so diverse. Louise: “I wear camiel to work since it perfectly fits my 15 inch laptop, a water bottle, sketchbook, sunglasses, wallet, …. while Mattias mostly uses it in the weekend when picking up breakfast at Charli or when he needs to bring a lot of stuff along.” 

Mattias: “And the fact that you can wear the bag in 2 different ways, with 2 short handles or with 1 longer handle over the shoulder, is easy and functional when living a busy life in a city like Brussels.”