Kanaal Axel Vervoort


Art speaks to the soul and yet is created from it. It is a reflection of the essence of life and its truest, most distilled form permeates nature. Art is everywhere and to live amongst it is to live in it.

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One of the most sought after and influential art and antiques dealers, as well as interior designer, Axel Vervoordt, has a special connection with what is beautiful. Instinctually grounded in grace, people have come from near and far for his artistic advice, so much so that his celebrity clientele includes Robert De Niro, Kanye West, Bill Gates, Sting, and Calvin Klein. In short, he instructs artists about art.

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Beginning his career as a collector at the age of fourteen his adept eye has grown his business into a monumental foundation, where he now serves as a mentor to his sons who now oversee important projects. One of the most talked about of these happens to be where the company headquarters are now located. The $130 million project is creating 100 apartments—some inside six towering former silo. One of the very exciting facets to the Kanaal is that it is to be the home to the Axel and May Vervoordt Foundation’s planned 54,000-square-foot museum, tentatively slated to open in 2017.

The Kanaal is a nostalgic and now re-imagined jewel set alongside the shores of one of Antwerp’s main waterways, the Albert Canal, which connects inland Europe to the rest of the world via Antwerp’s harbour. The former distillery and malting complex, has been envisaged as a city in the country by maintaining its heritage as a thriving hub of economic activity, their development is geared towards the inspired combination of living, working, culture and nature. The Kanaal has been reborn as a new community for the needs of today while still being anchored in its rich roots. Still very much Belgium and yet it has been washed in subtle Asian influence, the unrefined torn away to reveal the building’s structure and let the hushed ancestry speak for itself. It is an environment designed for the healthy living of humans in a humane way, providing and nourishing in ways we all crave; water, sky, orchards, and a sense of community while maintaining personal space. All of this punctuated by artistic masterpieces. It’s a breath of fresh air in the heart of a large “green lung” outside of Antwerp, only a fifteen minutes’ drive from the city center.

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The Axel Vervoordt designers have kept with the iconic muted earth tones so that every space feels natural and well loved. Furniture is covered in linen, a favorite since antiquity, and there is always ample room to move – nothing too crowded. Where there is strong color used it can be likened to an exclamation mark of the environment, pigmented and rich, a hue that is not shy nor does it boast, no she unapologeticly owns the space.

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The impactful ideals of on which this project was founded; where you can easily live and have meaningful interactions with the other people, artist, and designers, in a life affirming community secluded within leafy orchards and watched over by a moody sky, is all about creating a canvas not only for living but for being, Axel Vervoordt’s trademark.


Photo Credits: Axel Vervoordt