Family in Residence: Hans Eelens, Raquel Santana de Morais and Coralina
Saving a family of architects and their three month old baby Coralina from freezing in their house-in-progress in Molenbeek was the beginning of a mutually inspiring family residency in the autumn of 2015. Hans Eelens and Santana de Morais have collaborated with FoAM bxl on a number food-related workshops and events in the past, so we knew that having them in the studio would without a doubt lead to interesting exchanges.
We witnessed the big separation of mother and daugher when it was time for Raquel to to back to work at the Maison Dec Cultures, and included both of them in our Samhain ritual, to help ease them through the emotional transition. Hans was hard at work every day as the "Coordinateur environnement et espace public" of the Marollen neighbourhood, so we saw him less often, but when we did, conversations ensued about his work in the public sector, social and environmental change at the pace of bureaucracy and his work at the edges between urban and service design. His contributions to the Aperos were cheerfully welcomed by hosts and guests alike: freshly baked bread from La Fourna community bakery and different beers from the local microbrewery En Stoemelings. Both Hans and Raquel helped us think through infrastructural changes and made the studio more livable through small tweaks and larger fixes, they got involved in hosting, catering and even 'butlering' early mornings and late at night. They shared our joys and pains and we shared theirs, like an extended family. Coralina was everpresent, gurgling and smiling, sleeping or crying her heart out. She helped us through many a stressfull situation, just by being there. Holding a baby after a difficult meeting and an administrative report is such a relief. Separation of work and life? What's that about?!