March 28, 2023

Taylor Daily Press

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Chambres d’O in Ostend: The old ballroom is now the site of a corner party

Chambres d’O brings visitors to very different places in the city during the weekend of February 4th and 5th. Living Room Festival is good for 100 shows in 40 locations. One of the locations is the Almacen Concert Hall on the Spaaraliteitsstraat. The location is well hidden, but once inside, you unlock a gem full of trinkets collected by owner Winfried Ponette (55). Everything you encounter, from the door to the room itself, has its own story.

Almacen refers to the time the owner, Winfried, spent in Spain. “Alma means soul and I put my heart and soul into that room. Almäsen literally means ‘storehouse’,” explains Winifred also. He has been living in the house on the Spaarbaarheidsstraat for eleven years and five years ago he created it as a party room for about 50 people. However, due to Corona, The space was rarely used as a party room, and Winifred staged performances for limited audiences.

Southern atmosphere

“In the banquet hall there was originally a ballroom. I can’t find more information about it, but when I renovated it, I found graffiti on the wall, and a dance circle. It was in very bad shape. I wanted to save as much as I could, but I didn’t I succeed because it was so ramshackle,” Winifred says. “I wanted to organize something here every now and then and so I started decorating the hall. I’ve already invited some artists to come and play, but more friends and acquaintances. During the neighborhood flea market there’s always a party here on the patio and a friend of mine is making breakfast. It’s a nice southern vibe.” .

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Winfried has been opening up to Chambres d’O for several years now. “I ask in advance who will sing here. This year Jean Blot will visit Almasen. I will make people sit on fish bowls. Much better than those ugly chairs. Everything can be given a new function. For example, I serve wine in mustard glasses with figures on them. Some People ask for a real glass of wine, but most of them think it’s authentic,” Winifred still laughed.

Coach house

The house was built in 1911 and was originally a carriage house. In 2011 it was renovated by Winfried himself. In addition to being a contractor, he is also a collector. His house and banquet hall are full of wonderful things and furniture. “I search ten weekend flea markets and always find interesting things. I buy everything I like. If I like it, I have to have it, and sometimes I give it to someone as a gift. My kids already know that now,” Winifred laughs.

Winifred even makes things, and it’s very appreciated that people ask to make them again. “But I don’t. I make one copy of everything and nothing more. I now have benches made from an old easel, like a typical gymnastics apparatus. And they made an old roller shutter table from Spain in a typical green.” Winifred could easily sell his unique items. “I should, but I’m not very good at marketing myself. In the end, making things is my big dream.”

He knows where each piece comes from and often gives it a completely new job. For example, the banister to get into the party room is actually a ladder. “I also made a bookcase with stairs.”

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The son of a gynecologist

Winifred is not only creative, but also likes things with an angle. “The table in the room literally has a corner in it. That was a perfectly normal table, but I cut a corner out of it. My brother thought I was crazy, but I like being the opposite. I’d rather walk by zebra crossing, that’s who I am, always rebellious.” My father is likewise. He was the first to start underwater childbirth. He had to prove himself for a long time, but everyone is doing it now. ” Winfried is the son of well-known Ostend gynecologist Hermann Bonet, a pioneer in the field of underwater births.

Swing Music and Lecture by Jean Plaut

Two shows are planned in Almacen during the Chambres d’O. There are still tickets on Saturday for the Catcha Mondinho. Joana Almeida is a singer-songwriter and the first female classical guitarist in Portugal. Her band is called Cacha Mundinho and their music is crazy. You will hear, among other things, Fado, Jazz, Cape Verdean and Brazilian music. So much percussion in one crucible, try not to think about it. Performances take place at 5.30pm and 8.30pm, and the ticket costs €8. On Sunday, the Jean Plaut Lecture is scheduled to be given at the Spaarbaarheidsstraat. “I want to entertain the reader with my recollections of that extraordinary life I had. And this is much more than the foolish headdress of Jean Blott.” This performance is sold out.

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