“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication and proportion is very important.”– Axel Vervoordt

In this mini-documentary by ‘Made-to-Measure’ (M2M) under the header ‘Art of Style’, Lisa Immordino Freeland explores the tastes, likes, and dislikes of the world-renowned Interior designer and art enthusiast—Axel Vervoordt.

Interviews with Architects: Who is Alex Vervoordt? World Famous Interior Designer to the Stars- Art of Style Documentary by M2M - Sheet1
Axel Vervoordt ©oculo.com

Axel Vervoordt expresses his love for art with his Belgian roots through a voracious collection of antique art pieces and collectibles. In addition to being an art dealer and a member of the AD100 Hall of fame, he has designed the interiors of abodes belonging to Robert De Niro, Bill Gates, Sting, and even Calvin Klein. If that wasn’t impressive enough, Vervoordt spends his days living in the countryside in a gorgeous 12th century Castle.

He begins by giving an insight into his idea of beauty and how his liking for lovely things drew him towards collecting art. With an emphasis on humility and the former’s beauty, it is the spirit that Vervoordt treasures over superficiality. It is challenging to come across collectors who do not hoard objects to possess them.

The selfless act of providing a better pedestal for each of the articles where they can be loved and appreciated more is what excites Vervoordt. The beauty of human work is entrapped in the manifestation of their emotions through art. And it is the art that can unleash the beauty it possesses- by merely acting as an eyeopener.

Vervoordt further shares how his parents were instrumental in making him the individual he is today. And the fact that Vervoordt enjoys simple joys of life more than the emptiness of a promising beauty is entirely due to his mother. What would it take to overthrow the existing idea of beauty and re-familiarise oneself with where the truth lies?

Choosing fluttering butterflies over a bunch of red roses, Verdoort’s mother lit the fire for seeking spirit over visual charms in the heart of her young lad, which he kindles even today.

Interviews with Architects: Who is Alex Vervoordt? World Famous Interior Designer to the Stars- Art of Style Documentary by M2M - Sheet2
Interiors by Vervoordt ©2011 THE CONDÉ NAST PUBLICATIONS

The ability to make intuitive choices is inherited from his father, who was a remarkable horse dealer. Just like his father could tell a good horse from bad, Axel Vervoordt could intuitively make choices that would prove to make a lasting impact. This artistic discretion is rather intriguing and sets Vervoordt apart as a designer.

“I like to be fascinated by something old that looks very contemporary and something contemporary that looks very old.”-Axel Vervoordt

To buy something forgotten and to breathe a new life into it isn’t as easy as it sounds. But Vervoordt, through his unfettered love and intrigue for old items sought the same thing. His trip to England saw him return with a few tables, silverware, and antic paintings. They might be old and invisible to the world, but to Vervoordt, they spoke a different language. A language which only he could understand.

Through his words, an undying taste for antiquity convinces the viewer to see ‘Time’ as the greatest artist, rendering its shade to items and making them invaluable.

This also justifies his decision to find a home in the S Gravenwezel Castle built in 1108 AD.

Interviews with Architects: Who is Alex Vervoordt? World Famous Interior Designer to the Stars- Art of Style Documentary by M2M - Sheet3
Inside S Gravenwezel Castle © house&garden.com

The thousand-year-old mansion with its thousand stories and the accompanying light, nature, and landscape enchanted the Vervoordt and his wife. The interiors’ realization is beautifully fetched from its exteriors, making it belong to the establishment’s location more than ever.

An empty room is as essential to an axel as a full room—the explanation for which has been exemplarily given by Vervoordt. Hence, he has allowed his castle house’s interior architecture to be flawed and honest—just like any other home. But the emphasis on the timelessness of beautiful art and the art in the timelessness of antique articles has been laid continuously.

After a brief introduction about the castle, Vervoordt heads to introduce his workspace. Set in an industrial set-up, the concrete building with punctures was a love at first sight experience for the designer.

The raw concrete texture, perforations allow light to penetrate and the grains encapsulated the structure’s spirit. Abstract art, spatial geometry, and spirituality infused in both of them have been thoroughly explored by Vervoortd and his fellow designers in their undertakings.

Peace, silence, and emptiness have been described as not the same. They explore related emotions; however, human emotions through which each approach tread different paths.

“I like the combination of the art of living and the sacred part of looking at art.”– Axel Vervoodt

Interviews with Architects: Who is Alex Vervoordt? World Famous Interior Designer to the Stars- Art of Style Documentary by M2M - Sheet4
INSTALLATION VIEW OF ARTEMPO AT PALAZZO FORTUNY, VENICE, 2007. ©JEAN-PIERRE GABRIEL.

Art has been viewed as a means of connecting people. Communication via the interventions of art yields divine outcomes. Anyone would agree with Vervoordt claiming art has the power to inspire and unite people. Art is a teacher.

He finally spills information about making his book, giving insight into all of his collections. Axel Vervoordt performs multiple tasks and practices in various disciplines. A single profession will never indeed capture the essence of what he contributes to the language of art.

It’s much more what you feel than about what you see.”- Axel Vervoordt

References

Author

Siddhi Hindalkar, currently an architecture student, is a sci-fi junkie. Believing the unbelievable is her secret forte. Not much of a talker, she considers reading and listening to stories as her only means of escape. She likes to believe that a place can narrate a million tales and all one has to do- is lend an ear!

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