After studying architecture at Higher Institute of Architecture, Saint-Lucas in Gent, Van Duysen began his career in Milan in the late 80’s, with a design philosophy based on a few, essential principles: purity of materials and colors, luminous spaces, absence of ornamentation, and simplicity. He opened his firm in Antwerp in 1990 and continues to engage in a variety of projects, both commercial and domestic, with forays into object and furniture design.
Van Duysen is a reflective thinker with the curiosity of a life-long student. He lives with, for and through books; they are an essential part of both his professional and private life. His thoughtfulness manifests itself in a quiet, minimal style. However, his work avoids an austerity by embracing creamy whites, warm grays and deep blues, making his design both contemporary and innovative.
His breathtaking collection of pots for ‘When Objects Work’ are composed of two elements: an earthenware container and a wooden plate. The plate serves as a cover as well as a plinth. Serene and sober, the pots feel slightly rough, with occasional irregularities that add to the their character.
When Van Duysen renovates a building, he works to reveal the original structure, using a reductionist design that underlines plastic and communicative values. He works all over the world, in Europe, Asia and the United States. One of his latest projects is the collaboration for the restructuring of La Rinascente, Milan’s most celebrated department store which carries everything over it’s eight floors from Armani cosmetics to Zegna suits.
In 1999, Van Duysen received Belgium’s Outstanding Young Persons Award, and in 2004 he received an award as Flemish master builder. A new monograph on Van Duysen by the English publisher Thames & Hudson is due out in 2009. Unfortunately, the previous book published by Gustavo Gili in 2001 is already sold out.
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