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.
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...