Behind the Design: Vincent Van Duysen

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Vincent Van Duysen is the celebrated Belgium architect and designer whose work is expressed with creative fervour, in a manner that is rational, utilitarian and aesthetically minimal. Vincent’s architecture, interiors and products have a well-defined presence and a clean, modern aspect. Unadorned, bare and honestly expressed, his designs are produced with an understanding of functionality, durability and comfort. What’s more, they are manifestly elegant, tactile and sensual. Built without ceremony, every design rejects spurious fashions and trends.

Surveying Vincent Van Duysen’s various projects, a number of residential structures and interiors, for instance, illustrate a bleak sense of beauty. In his work, light and shadow, space and form, materials and objects, stand exposed, their very essence sharp, stark and striking. The experience is both physical and emotional, captivating the eye and offering an insight into Vincent’s astute grasp of modern design.

Gessato gets behind the design with Vincent Van Duysen.

What are five words that best describe you?

Energetic. Passionate. Impatient. Traveller. Intuitive.

As a designer, what are your indispensable qualities?

Each of my projects are tailor-made: I never repeat myself. I dive into my client’s life in order to understand who they are and what they want; in order to design something apart from spectacular trends. For me, it’s all about chemistry with the client, detailing and precision.

Where do you find inspiration?

My inspiration comes from travel, conversations, exhibitions, people and everyday life. However, my absolute work essentials are my senses.

What is the quintessence of good design?

I believe that ‘eliminating’ is the ultimate form of elegance. I eliminate, and I confine myself to the essential without compromising on comfort and wellbeing.

Are you more concerned about doing things right or doing the right things?

I do not believe in absolute perfection. Instead, imperfection makes things more interesting and more beautiful.

What excites you most about your work?

That first creative drive: the sheer creativity is a very exciting thing. However, the real kick comes from an initial idea, something brewing in one’s mind for months, even years. Eventually, through the making or building process, the idea materialises in an object or a home for a happy client.

Conversely, what do you worry most about?

At times, the complexity of the building process.

What does being successful mean to you?

It means reaching an audience I can inspire.

What are your thoughts on the current state of design?

There is so much excess in the world and I absolutely abhor spectacular design. I’m a modernist in heart and soul. Sometimes I miss integrity and credibility; things have to go fast, where they are pushed or forced. It’s important to do things slowly, consciously and with respect for craftsmanship.

What do you feel most proud of?

All of my projects are significant. Having their own individual identity, every project is custom-made for the client, in their own specific context: whether it’s a tower or a door handle, they are all designed with assiduity.

 

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Gerard McGuickin

Gerard

I’m a design writer, lover and aficionado, living in a modish neighbourhood in south Belfast. My writing is studied and yet uninhibited, and my perspective on design is typically punctilious and urbane. My thinking is often guided by Dieter Rams’ ten principles for good design. I have an educational background in psychology (MSc + BSc) and believe in the potential for design to improve our daily quality of life. And without affectation, I value that which is aesthetically pleasing and inspiring (great design excites my imagination). Find out more at Walnut Grey Design.

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