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Van Duysen project

We talk to the renowned Belgian architect about why details matter, how style affects experience and what he reflected on during lockdown.

One of the most recognised and celebrated Belgian architects of his time, Vincent Van Duysen has established a name for himself through designing dynamic spaces that present volume, depth, comfort and inspiration. Emphasising his comfort with sticking to the basis of design when it comes to light, shape and materials, which must work collectively within that space, we caught up with the Belgian mastermind on the details he values in a home, how style and aesthetic contribute to wider sensations within a space, and how lockdown has allowed him to reflect on a personal and professional level. 

Where is home for you?

Home for me is Antwerp, Belgium and Melides, Portugal. Home is where I can take shelter, where I feel safe and complete, where I disconnect from the outer world. It is where I enjoy my things, my art, my objects but most of all my partner and my three lovely dogs.

What does your daily routine look like?

It’s always different and depends on where I am at. I always try to start the day with a good breakfast. Then I check emails or make calls or confer with my team in the office. I meditate. I also try to always make time for physical activity. After I come back home from the office, I relax a bit and enjoy dinner with my partner and then I work a bit more and go to sleep.

What’s the style of your home interiors?

It needs to be pure and integral; it needs to put the individual at the centre of functionality and comfort. I like textures, different materials, light, and art. Nature has to flirt with my interiors.

Where’s your favourite room/spot in your home and why?

The living room because it is spacious, cosy, warm; it inspires me, it cuddles me, it makes me feel protected but it’s also where my life spills out into my garden where there’s greenery and a body of water. It is the space where I show my personality through books, art and objects.

Please can you share your top tips for how our readers can easily refresh their interiors for summer?

Strive for comfort by sticking to the basics of design – light, shape and materials must always be at play. Try to maintain a balance between purity and content, and to incorporate technical details while retaining a simple and essential form that speaks an understandable language.

You’ve got a day to spend at home with no obligations or distractions. What would we find you doing?

Reading, sketching, going through photography books, watching a movie masterpiece, playing sports, walking or playing with my dogs, spending time with my partner, meditating.

Lockdown caused everyone to spend more time at home than ever, which renewed everyone’s interest in their interiors and gardens. What design changes, if any, did you make to your home or wish you could have made to improve your home environment for this period?

Luckily enough I feel like both my homes in Antwerp and in Melides are perfect, truly ahead of their time.

What did you learn from spending so much time at home and what do you think we can all take away from this period?

To slow down, to not take everything from granted and make time for your loved ones, family and friends. And to focus more on the inner self.

What exciting projects are you currently working on?

I am very enthusiastic about a multi-functional retail space in Bangkok but also about a residential project in Paris on Quai d’Orsay and JNĉQUOI, an outstanding hospitality project in Comporta, Portugal composed of about 60 villas with a private club. Then I am about to finish two residential projects in L.A. and I am working on the design of two boats.

What projects do you have in the pipeline?

Stay tuned for that, you will see!