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The Aesthetics of Simplicity: Vincent Van Duysen

Van Duysen is known as the Belgian minimalist. He agrees with the first and usually denies the second. The designer classifies his own pure objects into essentialism, the philosophy of the important things. Although his interiors and buildings are minimalistic – neutral tinted, devoid of decorativeness and spacious – as opposed to minimalistic sterility, they are warm and vibrant.



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In 1990, Vincent van Duysen founded his own studio and since then has worked with Modular, B & B, Italia, Cappellini, Swarovski, Obumex, Bulo, and Viccarb. In 2016, he was named the Designer of the Year at the Biennale Interieur Kortrijk and became a creative director of the furniture brands Molteni & C and Dada.

The designer is one of those for whom "what to say" is more important than "how to say". He focuses not on the form but rather on a sense of living that can be found inside as much as outside.

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If a project is a pie, then the idea is a crust. First, the designer conceives an idea and then layers materials, textures and colors upon it. Every time there is a story behind his architecture and design. He tells us about the places and its inhabitants. Sometimes it can be difficult to understand Van Duysen’s works out of context, having no prior knowledge with a location and customer’s personal choices.

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The designer perceives complexities as opportunities. Exceptions as a form of elegance. When working on a project, he gets to the core and disregards the clutter. Confines himself to the basic and frees his projects from the load of details.
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C Penthouse in Antwerp, Belgium
2016

The house is located in the midst of ascetic landscape. It’s the bank of the river Schelde with the bluestone along the quayside, the grayish undertone of which has been used as a base for the interior.

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The concept of the project was to create an urban loft. A concrete frame and a rough timber wandering from the ceiling to furniture refer to the historical warehouses in the city.


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Apartment Graanmarkt 13 in Antwerp, Belgium
2009-2014

The apartments represents clear van Duysen's signature style – several staminal objects on a calm, ascetic background. The designer combines old and new, focusing on tactile sensations and contrast shading.

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DRD Apartment in Knokke, Belgium
2013-2016

Outward simplicity of this house is delusive. Every single detail here is thought out.


Open plan has a large seating area turned to the sea. The floor and the furniture follow the color of the sand, while the walls are cool likewise the exterior of the cabins scattered along the Belgian coast.


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Alexander Wang London flagship store, United Kingdom
2014-2015

Classical and modern archetypes become woven together in this greyscale space. Wang’s much-loved unusual materials such as rubber, chrome, and leather naturally compliment historical building. The result came out unexpected and unique. This is an example of beautifully calibrated geometric proportions combined with an exquisite modern cut.


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In the past, the building served as a post office. The designer did not follow simple “clean or leave” approach, he kept open structural beams a part of new interior, accentuating their industrial character with the luxurious travertine.


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The Copyright bookshop in Antwerp, Belgium

The designer takes a new look at a traditional library. Key challenge in this project was to match modern interior of the bookshop with the Neoclassical building. Instead of ornaments and other decorative elements, Van Duysen adorns laconic interior with marble and books themselves. Stone tiles made of natural marble serve as shelves for the books.


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Each Vincent van Dyusen's project is a search for simplicity.The designer creates an atmosphere of inspiration and energy, while his objects remain outwardly calm and muted.


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