Inside the World of Renowned Interior Designer Axel Vervoordt
A unique décor that cements an organic approach to design, fusing nature’s elements with respect to its existing environments has been the backbone to Axel Vervoordt’s design and antique empire. His finesse for earthy hues and soft-toned interiors exude a palpable sense of harmony, combining modern designs austerity with an acknowledgement of time.
“Time gives these materials a second skin. It’s a gesture of love, a product of nature as transformed by human beings and the cosmos, which, over the years, has come to accept and integrate new forms. We must accept what nature and time have wrought.”
- Axel Vervoordt
One of Vervoordt’s most prominent works is the Kanaal Project in Antwerp, a former red-brick distillery and malting complex which has been redeveloped into an artistic residential and commercial destination featuring apartments, lofts and boutiques along with his foundations eponymous gallery with the ingenious integrity of the historical site in mind, a stunning example of Vervoordt’s acknowledgement of a transient nature.
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. 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.
Historical spaces seem to blend seamlessly throughout his work as it defines the old with regard to a modern aesthetic. Vervoordt states, “Time gives these materials a second skin. It’s a gesture of love, a product of nature as transformed by human beings and the cosmos, which, over the years, has come to accept and integrate new forms. We must accept what nature and time have wrought.”
Vervoordt’s work displays a hands-on approach to design paying homage to history, an interest that was fueled by his travels to Asia and his belief in Wabi, an ancient Japanese philosophy that admires the ephemeral and raw imperfections found in each object. An eastern philosophical tradition that remains present within his work, creating an appealing contrast between his influence of Asian and European styles.
Akin to his design empire, Vervoordt has been a longtime antique collector demanding an eye towards his pan-historical objects, with admiration for their charm. Axel began collecting as a hobby, never buying with a specific client in mind. He became an art and antique dealer in the late 1960’s where he and his wife travelled to antique fairs across the world. This would later allow them to expand on a shared passion for interiors and home furnishings, turning this hobby into a successful design business. Vervoordt’s work cherishes both the past and the present, creating environments that seem more unearthed than contrived.