Inside the World of Axel Vervoordt – Known as the maestro of minimalism and his belief in Wabi, an ancient Japanese philosophy, Axel Vervoordt’s design, and antique empire is marked by unique decor that cements an organic approach to design, fusing nature’s elements with respect to its existing environments. His finesse for earthy hues and soft-toned interiors exude a palpable sense of harmony, combining modern designs austerity with an acknowledgment of time. Vervoordt’s business now consists of interior design practice, and antiquaire, a private foundation, as well as art galleries in Antwerp and Hong Kong.
Vervoordt, whose clients include Robert De Niro, Kanye West, Bill Gates, Sting, and Calvin Klein, has perfected the ability to create environments that look found, not made. His work shows that he admires the ephemeral and raw imperfections found in each object. Let’s take a look at some of his most iconic projects.
His keen eye and penchant for beauty becomes more prevalent when looking at Kasteel van’s-Gravenwezel, Vervoordt’s twelfth-century Belgian estate, a castle set in a 62-acre park surrounded by vast orchards, which was restored in the 1980’s alongside his wife May with reverence to the building’s history.
Artworks range from archaeological Egyptian stone vessels and Chinese Sung dynasty Buddhas to Renaissance bronzes and contemporary paintings by the world’s most sought-after artists.
Under the Vervoordts’ tenure, the castle has once again taken on a sense of magic and wonder, with new energy provided by its owners’ ever-evolving collection of art and furniture, as well as their individual approach to interior design. For the two, this twelfth-century estate is more than a home; their creative world. A place where they are able to get away and revel in the property’s harmony.
The Axel Vervoordt Gallery Hong Kong is an extension of the existing gallery in Antwerp. It offers a complementary program of specially commissioned works and will be an important platform for internationally renowned artists to participate in the radically-changing art scene in Asia.
Since the 1970s, Axel Vervoordt has developed a strong interest in Eastern philosophy, directly feeding into the spirit of the company, which has the ambition to create a dialogue between East and West. As a result, the gallery has naturally worked with a broad range of artists who tend to explore concepts of void, universality, or infinity.
This project is a story of probing and passion: bought in 2013, the Kardashian West family together with Vervoordt (and with the input of more interior designers) spent 6 years in the metamorphosis of the house from suburban McMansion to futuristic Belgian monastery. The initial attraction for the musician and the designer was centered on a signature Vervoordt design—a Floating Stone table with rounded edges that seemed to encapsulate the seductive simplicity and wabi-sabi aesthetics that pervade the designer’s oeuvre.
In practical terms, the best way to describe the house is by Kanye’s words: “The proportions are the decoration” since the house is the epiphany of minimalism and echoes a luminous, off-white plaster color scheme and accented with other pale natural materials.
Yet he has little interest in “style,” at least as it is currently defined, because essentially, Vervoordt is a metaphysician. Inquiries into the nature of being and concepts of time and space are what most compel him; he conveys his views through his inspired arrangements of objects and interiors. To some, expressing the lofty in the material might seem contradictory, but Vervoordt believes that, as in a Zen koan, the truth can be contained in paradox and ambiguity. Clients may go to him in search of a splendid antique armoire or for help renovating and furnishing an 18th-century villa, but the most valuable service they receive is an instruction in his highly evolved yet quite fundamental philosophy of living.
Axel Vervoordt started as a very young collector when he was 14. He was at an exhibition, which has these machines and mobiles by Tinguely. He couldn’t afford it. The same day he found a 16th-century iron chest where one lock moved 8 other locks and this was one-tenth of the price. From then, he really felt some old things were as contemporary as contemporary art. For him, it’s important that an artist opens his eyes in a new way.
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