Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Living with Light

It is around this time every year (post-Christmas, still the school holidays) that I cast my eye around my lego-strewn and Peppa Pig-assaulted house, and despair.  I know that underneath it all there's a nice sofa and a lovely rug etc., but nonetheless I begin to wish that my natural decorating taste ran to something a little emptier, more considered, something resembling this:

Which is by Axel Vervoordt, the legendary Belgian art and antiques dealer and interior designer who has worked with, among unnamed others, Pierre Berge, Dries Van Noten, Calvin Klein and Kanye West (his Paris house.  I don't know who is responsible for the $20 million Calabas 'dream house' that he and Kim are rumoured to be about to move into, and am on tenterhooks waiting for AD to cover it.  They will, won't they, surely . . . .? )  Vervoordt has also just done the penthouse at the part-owned-by Robert de Niro Greenwich Hotel, New York, which I now want to decamp to on a permanent basis.

The Penthouse at the Greenwich Hotel, New York

The Penthouse at the Greenwich Hotel, New York

There's a book on my shelf by Vervoordt entitled Living With Light, from where I appropriated the title of this post, but even if there hadn't been it is one of the features of his work that makes it so exceptional.  His rooms, to me, speak of the golden age of Dutch painting - there's a Vermeer-ness to them, to the way that light that pours into them.  I'd like to say it's due to geography, but that doesn't explain the beauty of Vervoordt's projects in countries beyond northern Europe.

The Milkmaid, by Johannes Vermeer

So here are some more rooms by the great Axel Vervoordt, and sons, who both work for him in his atelier.  It really is gloriously renaissance-like, especially when one discovers that he also makes products for the home - his sofas and chairs are some of the most beautiful I've ever seen - and there's an actual art gallery too.  (Vervoordt bought his first Lucio Fontana in his twenties, and there's a passage on the artist in Living with Light, his slashed canvases "with a seemingly infinite space at the centre are like portals into the void.  Pregnant with possibility, the cuts are openings into new dimensions that absorb light and seek to explore the universe and it's infinite reach.")

Concetto Spaziale by Lucio Fontana

So this year - along with giving blood more regularly and being more patient with my children and eating less sugar and being a better wife -  and I'm going to attempt the art of more considered collecting.  How that's going to marry with the aforementioned lego and Peppa Pig I'm not entirely sure, but don't these images make it look worth it?