who is the interior designer for Kim and Kanye West

Imagine someone born in the homeland of Anthony Van Dycks and Jacob Jordaan; that Antwerp he has known the most remote corners, medieval, Renaissance and Baroque buildings; that he had a mother who, since childhood, brought him closer to the places of culture; that at the age of fourteen he traveled to England with his father to attend art auctions; who sold the paintings bought across the Channel to his friends’ parents to repay the loans of his father and finally that as a 21-year-old he sold a Magritte – La Mémoire, 1948 – for $ 50,000, bought a few years earlier for just over $ 2,000. Well, you imagine a real character: Axel Vervoordt, Belgian interior designer, gallery owner and antiques dealer. Not just anyone, on the contrary. Vervoordt is, it can be said, a protector for himself, capable of synthesizing in his creative circle leading figures who have known to recognize themselves in his work. Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Robert De Niro, Sting, Calvin Klein are just some of the names he has collaborated with or worked for. But what is the secret behind this magnetism?

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It is enough to go back to the span of his life to understand the integrity of his training. He is passionate about the art trade in his teens, and his fluid approach to a complex world gives him invincible gifts. He is imbued with the sophisticated Flemish culture and soon decides to open an exhibition showroom in his hometown. The business starts immediately, and with the dividend, Vervoordt decides to restore the buildings around his gallery. Artists of all backgrounds revolve around his figure, who observes the purity and Flemish features of his furniture, asking him to re-enact similar arrangements in their apartments as well. Vervoordt’s approach is apotropic: he gives objects an aura that only collectors like him can give. He decides not to commercialize the product and moves towards a soft policy where the customer does not buy a painting or an object but enters into a relationship with it. Among his principles was even that in case of disappointment on the part of the customer, Alex would take responsibility for repaying the item for the same amount as the sale. Relationships with customers are mostly based on sincere friendships and cooperation. Among these is the one with the Belgian painter Jef Verheyen, who introduced him to the Zero Movement – an artistic movement founded by Heinz Mack and Otto Piene in the late 1950s. Piene described it as “an area of ​​silence and pure opportunity for a new beginning”. It was from this moment that Vervoordt became interested in oriental philosophies, suspended between the concept of emptiness and infinity. He will begin to define himself as a metaphysician: he does not see his own as a style or a simple decoration, but as the creation of invisible geometries that must reflect the client’s or himself philosophy of life.

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Its space becomes, like koan zen, conflicting, paradoxical places within which one can see peace in the midst of conflict. Lightness and emptiness meet with raw materials and are projected into interiors never seen before. From Yves Saint Laurent to Valentino to Kanye West, his clients are partners and mirror elements where they can observe the work to be done. In fact, the psychological understanding of one’s interlocutor is part of Vervoordt’s work. Hence the love of imperfect elements, of furniture that – even in the midst of minimal light – finds unexpected elements: statues, stuffed animals, old furniture, rough wood. Harmony is created where the contrast finds its balance; without conflict, nothing can be mitigated and peace found.

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