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Van Soom

Ruth is co-founder of an online magazine and a digital content creator from Antwerp.

My urbanana trip started out in Essen, which is sometimes considered the unofficial capital city of the Ruhr area due to its central location. Following a walk through the city, I met up with my tour guide Michael for a scheduled tour of the Unperfekthaus.

A multifunctional artists’ village

The Unperfekthaus, or in short, the UpH, is coffee bar, bar, hotel, co-working space, event space, and cultural institution all rolled into one. It is also at times called an “artists’ village” since it gives creatives the opportunity to implement their ideas without any censorship or guidelines, as long as their activities remain legal, creative, and publicly accessible. The UpH wants to give creatives a helping hand to make their dreams come true without taking any great financial risks.

The entire building is also open to visitors. Guests can eat and drink in the bar downstairs. €19.90 will purchase access to the entire building, with free drinks all day long and an opportunity to look over the shoulders of the various artists at work. Another advantage is that each floor has a massage chair that can be used freely. Parts of the building can also be rented for events, and the Unperfekthotel next door from the UpH will let you stay for a night or an extended visit.

From a Franciscan monastery to a creative hotspot

The building has a total of 4000 square meters, distributed over seven floors. Until Unperfekthaus founder Richard Wiesemann bought it in 2004, it used to be a Franciscan monastery, some elements of which have remained visible. Apart from those, the building has been transformed entirely, with balconies added to the façade and a beautiful staircase that lights up when people walk on it connecting the bar to the first floor.

I personally particularly loved the UpH for being deliberately left “imperfect”. It remains a project under construction, which is why it is called the “imperfect house”. Born from the idea that we all strive for perfection but that everything new starts imperfectly, it allows every creative working in the building to add something to a space that will never be entirely finished. This in turn encourages others to follow suit, preserving the inspiring environment.

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Pictures by Ruth van Soom

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