The decorative mix-media minimalist home accessories of contemporary Belgian artisan Michael Verheyden are a remarkable example of how beauty in its purest form really comes from simple basic elements. Noble and durable materials like Carrara marble, solid walnut, concrete, bronze, alabaster and leather are sculpturally combined into elemental forms that are his signature. And on first impression, you may get a sense he is just one more product designer with a cold minimalist mantra, but on closer inspection, you find his designs go a bit further – they are timeless vessels of superb craftsmanship, quality and innovation.
Verheyden is one of the young representatives of a present-day Belgian contemporary minimalist aesthetic. Like interior designer/dealer Axel Vervoordt, the aesthetic is pared down to its basics. But unlike Mr. Vervoordt, Verhreyden’s aesthetic is not really wabi-sabi – meaning unfinished and imperfect. It’s polished, perfectly constructed and highly finished. Verheyden’s timeless vessels discard the wabi part and become sabi – unfussy forms that acquire beauty, serenity and transcendence with age. In a way, think of his classically simple luxurious minimalist home accesories as more Tom Ford than Jil Sander!
Verheyden’s decorative mix-media home accessories don’t just come to life as a result of the designer’s heightened aesthetic sensitivity, but from his pragmatic formal training as an industrial designer and a stint in the fashion world where he was apt at marrying the beautiful with the practical. In 2002 he opened his doors – first as a handbag designer – and today is a small housewares studio that turns out everything from furniture to useful decorative and minimalist home accessories that are all carefully and meticulously handmade.
What makes his contemporary restrained vessels different from others I’ve seen is his attention to detail and his combination of materials within one object. Take for example, the black marble vase and bowl with cast bronze ring and leather-covered base or his white Carrara marble jars with leather tops. They’re really beautiful and if you arrange a few as in the photograph at the top, you come up with a very special and one of a kind garniture of vessels for your home. I say HURRAY for the artisanal work of Verheyden.
richard rabel: interiors + art
interior design and art advising
new york city