Vincent Van Duysen works extensively across architecture, interiors, and products from his studio in Belgium. His career has garnered international praise; notably, he has been named Belgian Designer of the Year and won the Henry van de Velde Lifetime Achievement Award. OYSTEO was fortunate enough to sit down with Vincent and discuss his life, career, Casa M, his high-concept vacation retreat, and love of travel and its influence on his work.

In Melides, Portugal, Casa M, Van Duysen's vacation home, is an exquisite labor of love that took him three years to complete. This high-concept, sand-colored bunkerlike sanctuary gracefully blends into the Portuguese landscape. Just a short drive from the chic resort of Comporta, Casa M is an extraordinary testament to Van Duysen's vision and innovative approach. Ricardo Labougle

Vincent, can you share some of your current projects with us?

I am working on a big hospitality project in Lisbon Portugal called JNcQUOI, on the Loro Piana HQ in Milan, on residential projects in Berlin, Singapore, Belgium, Los Angeles, and the Hamptons, but also on new products for Molteni&C, Flos, Sutherland, Perennials, Serax, and more.

You studied and continue to work in your native Belgium. How would you describe the country to someone who has never been?

Belgium comes from a rich heritage and with an artistic and industrial tradition. It is strongly cosmopolitan in both arts and culture and has a considerable breadth of creativity – theatre, performance, dance, fashion, architecture – with participation by many but in varied and unique ways. If you travel as much as I do, you want to come home to a calming place, and Belgium, specifically Antwerp, is ideal for me in that respect. It is a small city, but it has a very international outlook.

Van Duysen designed his new Zara Home collection to fit every environment, including his Casa M modernist residence in Portugal. Van Duysen designed the collection around pure forms and comfort that exude a sophisticated minimalist aura. Photo: François Halard
Casa M captivates the senses with its awe-inspiring blend of brutalist design and the scenic allure of the Portuguese countryside. The staircase reveals a rooftop adorned with meticulously crafted terra-cotta tiles, inviting residents to revel in breathtaking panoramic vistas. Ricardo Labougle

You work in a visual medium; can you describe your craft and aesthetic?

My aesthetic is based on layers and contrast to achieve a sort of warm sensuality. My attention goes out to a pureness in aesthetics, materiality, and tactility that I have discovered and got inspired by through my travels. In fact, inspiration comes naturally from travel, conversations, exhibitions, people, everyday life.

Who or what are your inspirations?

Postmodernism and Aldo Cibic at Sottsass Associati were important inspirations at the start of my development. However, I completely detached from postmodernism by returning to primary and essential geometries and forms with pared-down colors and materials; I went back to basics, searching for timeless designs and forms. Through my travels, I was inspired by and attracted to the ideas, forms, and customs of tribal and nomadic cultures, of different cultures. Travel is a massive inspiration for me.

Can you tell me about your work as the creative director of Molteni&C?

My work for Molteni&C | Dada has always been focused on bringing the company back to its core values, more domestic, refined, and elegant, bringing it back to its original ‘grandeur.’ This is a storied Italian manufacturer steeped in tradition, excellence, and amazing craftsmanship; hence I have an extensive set of tools and skills from which I can draw to design the best products possible.

Pieces from the new Zara Home by Vincent Van Duysen photographed at the architect’s Casa M in Portugal. The collection includes a selection of furniture and home accessories in the distinctive, sophisticated style of Van Duysen's DNA. Photo: François Halard
Melides, a picturesque village in Portugal's Alentejo region, exudes an enchanting authenticity. Its traditional whitewashed church and bustling covered market breathe life into the local community. Wandering the historic streets reveals charming 18th- century homes. But what truly sets Melides apart is its expansive lagoon, gracefully traversing the land, meandering through pine forests, rice paddies, and meadows before flowing towards the captivating shoreline. Rodrigo Cardoso
Under the discerning curation of Nick Bril, August's restaurant celebrates the best of Belgium's seasonal offerings. Nestled within the historic confines of an original chapel, this culinary gem creates an intimate and serene sanctuary, providing respite from the vibrant streets of Antwerp. August

What is it that you look for in a client or project?

A client needs to challenge me, to bring me outside my comfort zone. I also like to work with clients with whom I share a common vision. And I like when there’s mutual respect.

There is a trend for what might be termed ‘timeless’ design. Does this suggest uncertainty towards the present and the future, or simply a distaste of radical style?

Neither, I think timeless design has something to do with the oversaturated world we live in. We are producing too much and designing too much; new products need to stand the test of time and be relevant today as well as 50-100 years from now.

Amangiri, translating to "peaceful mountain," is an exclusive retreat on 600 acres of unspoiled beauty. Set against the awe-inspiring backdrop of Canyon Point's desert landscape, this luxury sanctuary offers stone suites and canvas-roofed pavilions, providing an idyllic escape in serene Utah. Immerse yourself in private hiking trails, rejuvenating indoor and outdoor wellness experiences, exhilarating canyoneering adventures, and various other activities. Amangiri

Where are your favorite places to travel and favorite places to stay?

To travel, the world. To stay, my house in Portugal, Casa M.

I imagine you get little time off, but how do you spend it when you do?

I like to stay at home with my partner, Mateo, and my dogs. Spend time with my father, read a great book, do research, perhaps sketch, browse on Instagram for inspiration…

You can find out more about Vincent’s professional life and work at his site, here

Graanmarkt 13 in Antwerp is a beautiful muti-space that effortlessly combines a restaurant, concept store, and apartment. Unveiling delightful surprises at every turn, this extraordinary establishment has earned accolades as the best vegetable restaurant, boasting an open and health-focused kitchen that garnered it a prestigious "green" Michelin star. Graanmarkt 13

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