Questions with Vincent Van Duysen
The Belgian designer and architect Vincent Van Duysen works ultimately with space. Though his work is often concerned with large, open rooms, whether for offices or homes, hotels or retail, Van Duysen’s spaces are warm and intimate; pared back but elegant, minimal but expressive. With a particular sensitivity to material, to texture and malleability, Van Duysen’s practice emphasises the tactile experience of design, unifying his closely interconnected work in product design, interiors and architecture.
Harmonious and contemplative, Van Duysen’s interiors are the focus of this interdisciplinary practice. His approach is comprehensive and exhaustive; concerned as much with the building’s structure and the furniture as with decoration and accessories, and their vital role in bringing a room together. The Lui&Lei collection, produced in collaboration with Salvatori, demonstrates Van Duysen’s attention to the small details: a paperweight, pen holder, tray, candle holder and container closed with a lid, each formed from a single piece of Bianco Carrara or Verde Alpi marble, and variously covered and lined with brown and dark green eco-leather. Whether on a desk, mantlepiece or hall table, these simple, refined objects bring considered design to essential but often overlooked accessories for the home.
We caught up with Van Duysen to find out more about the collection, his practice and working with Salvatori.
How would you characterise your approach to design?
Timeless and essential; a touch of the past without being nostalgic.
What are the qualities of natural stone that appeal to you?
Stone is the material I use most frequently in my architecture and interior projects. As with other materials I use, I am concerned above all else with the tactility, colours, warmth and sensuality the material creates in the environment.
Where did the idea for the Lui&Lei collection come from?
The idea was to combine two natural and rich materials. I like how the warmth and tactility of the leather contrasts with the marble, which is hard and heavy, a contrast that is accentuated by the colours we used – the white Carrara with brown leather – or made more subtle with the green Verde Alpi with a dark green leather.
How did the project develop?
It’s really straightforward working with Salvatori. From the beginning we had a common idea of what we wanted. The forms of the product were clear – something geometric and essential which contrasts with the rounded leather interiors. The challenge was in resolving the integration of marble and leather, and combining them in a way that was technically sound.
How does the Lui&Lei project fit into your wider oeuvre?
The design is very essential and simple – almost archetypal – which defines my approach to architecture, interiors and designs in general. The collection is particularly universal, however, and would suit all types of architecture and interiors.
What do you like about working with Salvatori?
Salvatori is a very dedicated company that places huge importance on the quality and selection of the stones and the other materials they use. This is essential to my work – the quality of the materials I use in my projects is one of my primary concerns.