April 1, 2023

Taylor Daily Press

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Cocom transforms the former parish center of 1,500 square meters into The Butterfly Effect: art studios, music studios and exhibition space under one roof (Borgerhout)

Cocom transforms the former parish center of 1,500 square meters into The Butterfly Effect: art studios, music studios and exhibition space under one roof (Borgerhout)

The colorful facade of The Butterfly Effect is credited to Antwerp-based artist Larsen Bervoets. © Kocom


Anyone who has had to pass through Sterlingerstraat may have already noticed. In recent months, the gray facade of the old parish center has been transformed into a colorful set with playful murals. The Butterfly Effect, a collaboration between the Cocom app and the Bright ID real estate fund, is reviving the brewery as a creative hub. “As an artist you can experiment here, meet like-minded people and showcase your finished work. All under one roof.”

Tess Jacobs

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Kokum founder Jafar Bidja (33 years old) enthusiastically guides us through the endless maze of spaces offered by the parish center’s 1,500 square meters. In the meantime, the various rooms have been converted into comfortable studios and art studios where tenants will soon be able to unleash their creativity. “The facade looks nice, doesn’t it?” Jafar asks with a smile. “Antwerp artist Larsen Berfowitz came to paint the mural on his own. The neighborhood reacts very enthusiastically,” and rightly so. The building instantly gives a new look to the street.

The building was divided into several painting and sculpture studios, a photo studio, an event space for four hundred spectators, a private bar area for fifty guests, and a rehearsal studio for musicians. All this is provided with the necessary materials. If you want to take pictures in the photo studio for the afternoon, you don’t have to worry about proper lighting or background canvas. Everything is ready for you. Just like grand piano on stage or stands in studios.

“By arranging empty or untapped space, often in a simple way for a specific user, it suddenly becomes much more valuable,” says Pedeja. “Only in this way can the available space be optimally utilized and we can offer people an additional opportunity to develop themselves creatively,” and this is exactly what Bedja aims to do every day with its space-sharing app Cocom, by making unused spaces available for a fixed period of time.

futuristic new construction project

The creative spaces offered by Cocom can usually be found separately from each other in different locations. But the Bright ID real estate fund, which bought the building earlier this year to eventually convert it into a new mixed-use construction project, immediately saw synergy between the application’s mission and the complex. “This partnership ensures that the building is not empty or filled as a warehouse in the meantime, as is usually the case,” says Bedeja. In addition, the real estate fund will incorporate the insights provided by The Butterfly Effect into a future construction project within a few years. “This way, we listen to what the neighborhood really needs,” it seems.

In other words, a small change can lead to exponential growth at a later stage. This is what is symbolized by the “butterfly effect”. “A meeting place for the community, where people from different disciplines communicate with each other and can do cross-pollination. Where everyone can fully develop themselves,” says Pedeja. Because of the existing faces, it can be effectively done from the ground up, or rather, from the “cocom” to the butterfly. “At The Butterfly Effect, you can experience and develop yourself as an artist, meet like-minded people and showcase or curate your final work. All under one roof.”

The Butterfly Effect. Stirlingstrat 80, 2140 Antwerp. Rooms can be booked via the Cocom app in the App Store.

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