MICHAËL VERHEYDEN

The Globe and Mail Metro (Ontario Edition) - - PURSUITS -

Bel­gian fur­ni­ture and decor de­signer Michaël Verheyden is an avowed min­i­mal­ist. “I pre­fer to stay sub­tle and hum­ble when it comes to de­sign,” he says. Many of his pieces are com­posed of a sin­gle, if ex­quis­ite, ma­te­rial – mar­ble, brass or white oak. His shapes are sim­ple – cir­cles, squares – though pro­por­tioned in a way that make them pop. His suc­cinctly ti­tled Mar­ble Vase, for ex­am­ple, is com­posed of two cylin­ders, the more mas­sive of the two stretch­ing in­con­gru­ously up from the smaller one.

One of his early men­tors was an­other fa­mous min­i­mal­ist, al­beit in an an­other in­dus­try. To earn ex­tra money as a de­sign stu­dent in his home­town of Genk, Verheyden mod­elled for Bel­gian fash­ion de­signer Raf Si­mons. The two be­came friends and Si­mons en­cour­aged him to launch a line of leather hand­bags and ac­ces­sories. The col­lec­tion was suc­cess­ful – Rick Owens be­came a cus­tomer, com­mis­sion­ing bags for his own col­lec­tions.

But then Verheyden and his wife, de­sign col­lab­o­ra­tor Saartje Vereecke, bought their first house. “There were few things that could please us,” he says. “And those few that did were way out of bud­get, so we de­cided to de­velop those prod­ucts our­selves.” That was 11 years ago, yet he and Vereecke still work the same per­sonal ap­proach to­day. “We only make things we would want to own and use our­selves,” he says.

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