OFF THE WALL

The cre­ative direc­tor of one of the world’s most in­no­va­tive wall­pa­per de­sign firms has a home in the Nether­lands as in­spired as his unique col­lec­tions.

VOGUE Living Australia - - Apartments - By Bon­nie Vaughan Pho­tographed by Valentina Som­mariva Pro­duced by Al­ice Salerni

this page: in a cor­ner of the LIV­ING ROOM, desk de­signed and made by Rick Vin­tage; Eames Soft Pad ex­ec­u­tive chair for Herman Miller; Billy Le­liv­eld Skele­ton lamp for Oom Jan; Labyrinth (on left wall) and With­ered Flow­ers Colour wall­pa­per, both by Stu­dio Job for NLXL, from the Ar­chives col­lec­tion. op­po­site page: in an­other view of the liv­ing room, Koen sofa and ot­toman by Piet Boon; record crate (against the wall, right) cus­tom-made by Piet Hein Eek; Job L’Afrique (on left wall) and Deutsch wall­pa­per, both by Stu­dio Job for NLXL, from the Ar­chives col­lec­tion.

Rick Vin­tage, co-founder and cre­ative direc­tor of the Amsterdam-based wall­pa­per brand NLXL, is the first to tell you he’s got a lot go­ing on in­side his head. “It’s a mess!” he ex­claims. “I tidy it up a lot, just like I am al­ways tidying up my apart­ment. I’m al­ler­gic to stress, so that’s quite a chal­lenge with a messy head, but my head — just like my apart­ment — is at a very good bal­ance.” The apart­ment he’s talk­ing about, housed in an or­nate 1830 Louis XIV-style build­ing, is lo­cated in The Hague, the vi­brant medieval-era city in the Nether­lands also known as the epi­cen­tre of global peace and jus­tice. Since its launch in 2010, NLXL has gained a global rep­u­ta­tion as the bold­est in the busi­ness, de­riv­ing in­spi­ra­tion for its de­signs from raw ma­te­ri­als, in­dus­trial spaces and sur­real art­works, and form­ing col­lab­o­ra­tions with such Dutch de­sign su­per­stars as Piet Hein Eek, Stu­dio Job and Piet Boon. And just as you’d ex­pect, the in­te­ri­ors of Vin­tage’s 100-square-me­tre apart­ment epit­o­mise the play­ful, in­no­va­tive cre­ative en­ergy he channels into his brand. Here, he talks about his pas­sion for his “sanc­tu­ary”, which he some­times shares with his daugh­ters Ella, 15, and Lux, 12.

I love my apart­ment’s lo­ca­tion. It is right in the cen­tre of The Hague, where ev­ery­thing is around the cor­ner. I am a very pri­vate per­son — I was even a bit of a her­mit when I was younger — but this place gives me the best of both worlds. When I feel the need to co­coon, I close the four-me­tre-high oak shut­ters. When I feel the need to see peo­ple, I open the win­dow. And re­ally, there are al­ways peo­ple look­ing in­side my house, so af­ter I open the win­dow, I find my­self talk­ing to passers-by, giv­ing me an in­stant so­cial life. When­ever I do an in­te­rior, the rooms them­selves seem to tell me what to do. I re­mem­ber look­ing at this place with a real estate agent and I thought, “Okay, or­na­mented frames mean wall­pa­per. High ceil­ings mean Gray­pants lights in­stalled like plan­ets.” And ev­ery­thing just started from there. But let’s be hon­est: with a place this nice, with such a good en­ergy, it would be quite dif­fi­cult to turn it into some­thing ugly. Since the ceil­ings are five me­tres high, I wanted to have a ‘safe’ feel­ing while sit­ting in the liv­ing room. The Koen sofa by Piet Boon gives me this feel­ing. When you sit in it, you feel like you are em­braced; it is just so com­fort­able. I changed the up­hol­stery a year ago from brown. When the Gray­pants Scrap­lights are lit, the sofa seems to come alive. I change my in­te­rior of­ten, but two items by Piet Hein Eek are con­stants. His Tree Trunk chair is the best ex­am­ple of how he works: “What is the avail­able ma­te­rial and what can I make of it?” In this case, it was a hun­dred-year-old gi­gan­tic oak, which he just sliced and turned into a chair. I love it. The crate I use for my record col­lec­tion was cus­tom-made by Piet Hein Eek for me. It’s made from wood from New York wa­ter tanks and has a brass top and fin­ish­ings. The bed­room is one large room, mea­sur­ing 10 by 6 me­tres. I didn’t want to di­vide it into two sep­a­rate rooms, so I de­cided to build a block for my bed­room, toi­let and bath­room. I wanted it to feel like a ho­tel room. The closet be­hind the bed was built around [Rus­sian artist] Eka­te­rina Panikanova’s art­work. We had cre­ated a col­lec­tion with her and I fell so in love with her work that I bought an orig­i­nal. On the ceil­ing are the orig­i­nal tins we scanned for the Brook­lyn Tins wall­pa­per col­lec­tion for Merci in Paris. The other tins used for the col­lec­tion are in the hall­way, bath­room and toi­let. This kitchen is a story in it­self. The counter started as a work­ing counter three apartments ago. One apart­ment af­ter that, I de­cided it was go­ing to be the kitchen counter for my of­fice, so I had a sink in­stalled in it. When I sold my of­fice, the kitchen was sold with it. Then when I came to live here, I re­alised my old kitchen counter

would re­ally work well with my idea of the ‘ bed­room block’. I hap­pened to pass by my old of­fice, which was be­ing re­mod­elled, and saw that the counter was put in a cor­ner, cov­ered in dust. The con­struc­tor told me he’d put it up for sale online for €300 [around $470]. I paid him and got my counter back. I had a sec­ond-hand Gagge­nau stove and oven in­stalled, re­placed the orig­i­nal stain­lesssteel doors with draw­ers cov­ered in mir­rored lam­i­nate, and voila, the cheap­est but best-look­ing kitchen I have ever had. Orig­i­nally, my idea was to change the wall­pa­per in the liv­ing room ev­ery three months. The third in­stal­la­tion is the one I have now, the Stu­dio Job Ar­chives wall­pa­per. I was re­ally sur­prised that such a crazy mix­ture of colours could be­come this har­mo­nious, so I de­cided to keep it a bit longer. It’s such a great con­trast with the clas­sic style of the apart­ment — it makes you take the whole place a bit less se­ri­ously. I have heard the term ‘eclec­tic’ used as a way to de­scribe my in­te­rior, but to me, it’s just a col­lec­tion of nice things that speak to me. This place gives me peace. The en­ergy of a room is very im­por­tant to me; I get very un­happy in spaces with lit­tle or no en­ergy. It’s not about how much the in­te­rior costs; it’s about the at­ten­tion that went into it. Visit nlxl.com. NLXL wall­pa­pers are avail­able in Aus­tralia at re­mov­able­wall­pa­per.com.au

this page: Rick Vin­tage, de­signer and cre­ative direc­tor of wall­pa­per com­pany NLXL, at his apart­ment build­ing in The Hague. op­po­site page: in the LIV­ING ROOM, orig­i­nal mar­ble fire­place; Tree Trunk chair by Piet Hein Eek; an­tique tele­phone con­verted into...

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