DB: WE READ THAT YOU FIRST WORKED FOR ALDO CIBIC IN MILAN. WHAT DO YOU TREASURE ABOUT THIS EXPERIENCE – STILL TODAY?
VVD: I think that my studies during the emergence of postmodernism and my time with aldo cibic at sottsass associati in milan gave me an appreciation for essential and pure forms but the application of materials, such as linen, natural stone, and oak, is influenced strongly by my belgian heritage.
DB: YOU ARE TRAINED AS AN ARCHITECT, BUT FROM THE ONSET THERE HAS BEEN A GREAT INTEREST IN INTERIOR DESIGN WITH MOSTLY RESIDENTIAL PROJECTS FOR YOU. WHY IS THIS SO?
VVD: for me it was important to understand how people live in their homes, to somehow discover an art of living, so that I could mold it, later on, into my works. I have never thought of interior design as being severed from architecture: interiors are architecture. interiors and exteriors are closely interwoven.
DB: YOU SAY FUNCTIONALITY, DURABILITY AND COMFORT ARE THE PRIME COMPONENTS OF THE WORK, SOMETHING THAT RESISTS FASHION AND TRENDS. CAN YOU PLEASE ELABORATE ON THIS?
VVD: I have always wanted to create serene environments and spaces that are timeless, elegant, and sophisticated. I believe design is becoming more and more what it should be – focused and paying more attention to sustainability, craftsmanship, overall quality and use of nice/high quality materials. I think in future we will see less of the typical ‘signature design’ with a very recognizable strong statement of the designer. design is getting – on one side – smarter, more user-orientated, production-optimized and flexible (also in the sense that the design language is flexible enough to be used in different contexts, for different purposes). on the other side, you see more little labels creating beautifully hand-made, crafted objects where the high-quality materials, textures and details are clearly more important than the personal statement of the designer.
DB: YOUR DESIGN ATTITUDE – THAT ALWAYS SEARCHES THE ESSENCE – HAS OFTEN BEEN DEFINED AS MINIMAL WHICH PROBABLY DID NOT MEET YOUR INTENT. CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHY THE TERM MINIMAL IS OVERUSED AND WHY IT DOES NOT SUIT YOU?
VVD: I don’t see myself as a minimalist. I want soul in my work. I’m not a mathematical architect or designer – more instinctive and intuitive – and the experience of working for and with different people, and their personalities, gives each project a unique context. also, I think a significant part of the emotion in my work comes from my consideration for the materials within a space. I believe the work goes strongly against the soulless, clichéd ideals of minimalism. I have been called a warm brutalist by the t magazine, see, I think that that term matches my vision and work more than minimalist.
DB: THE USE OF PURE AND TACTILE MATERIALS RESULTS IN YOUR WORK IN A CLEAR AND TIMELESS DESIGN. CAN YOU SAY SOMETHING ABOUT WHY ‘TIMELESSNESS’ IS SOMETHING YOU APPRECIATE IN THINGS?
VVD: I enjoy sharing and being inspired, and I think it is important to develop a collection of work that demonstrates a progression or evolution of thinking. I like that people refer to my work so far as timeless, but it is important to me that work continues to be contemporary, surprising, and reaches people on an emotional level. for me, interiors radiate luxury and comfort when the basics of design are pursued – timeless spaces that are defined by the essential, where only light, shape and materials are at play.
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