"It’s important to be surrounded by what is real and honest, instead of fake things,” says Axel Vervoordt. “It’s that real thing we’re all looking for, especially now.” Pandemic-induced lockdowns and quarantines have relegated many of us to the domestic sphere, reviving an interest in sprucing up our homes and creating a soothing environment conducive to dealing with social and political upheaval. The Belgian has been engaged in this quest for the “real thing” throughout his career as an interior designer and arts and antiques dealer. In a world where visual culture is oversaturated with artificial, filtered and increasingly digitised imagery, and beauty is synonymous with flawlessness, Vervoordt’s signature rustic elegance offers tangible relief and a point for reflection.
“I’m looking for a universal,” says the designer on his end visual goal and creative approach, “something that belongs to the past and the future, something that’s just timeless.” That is a very accurate description of his speciality: the ability to create a harmonious blend between the contemporary and old, the result of which, beyond a striking visual impact, is also a feeling. “A lot of what I do is about finding positive energy, so I like art that makes us see and feel things differently.”
Vervoordt’s obsession with all things old began when he was young. At just 21 he started dealing antiques, and also bought his first Lucio Fontana painting. As both his business and collection grew, he developed an interest in design too, which led him to start two businesses: an art gallery with outposts in Antwerp and Hong Kong, and an interior design company.
Vervoordt’s vision has been highly sought after and appeared in many high-profile homes and interiors. His best-known work is perhaps designing Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s former Calabasas house, which West referred to as a “futuristic Buddhist monastery”.