• Adrian Ramsay

On the Kardashian-West ‘minimal’ approach to home life


photo: www.architecturaldigest.com


It may come as a shock, but the house designed for Kimye is a fine example of elegance and balance.

Isaac Newton discovered the colour white in 1666, demonstrating that clear white light was composed of seven visible colours. By scientifically establishing our visible spectrum (being the colours we see in a rainbow), Newton laid the groundwork for others to experiment with colour in a scientific manner. Since then we have had a fascination with its use. It took while later (the 18th century, to be precise) to create white paint, but once it was available it took off. White became the dominant colour of church interiors in the Baroque period.

There is nothing new about a minimalist white interior; this trend has been around as long as white paint itself. With the comparatively new concept of domestic interior design, as far as minimalism is concerned, you needn’t look much further than Greek, Japanese, Moroccan, and Scandinavian interiors of the past to understand that while walls and a sense of clean minimalism (many times offset by colourful textiles and artwork, or rustic benchtops and furniture) was popular and coveted long before the contemporary take on this trend.

Kim Kardashian has invited photographers into her ‘minimal style’ Calabasas house designed by Axel Vervoordt and Vincent Van Duysen on commission by the reality television star and her husband, rapper Kanye West.

Belgian designer and antique dealer Axel Vervoordt designed the overhaul of the property, with a contribution from Belgian architect Vincent Van Duysen. Vervoordt’s approach to design lies in tandem with his overarching ‘philosophy of living’. Objects and interiors are inspired by his “…investigations into the nature of being and concepts of time and space”. Vervoordt believes that “truth can be contained in paradox and ambiguity”.

The process was a monumental one, in that the brief was to take a huge mansion and transform it into a peaceful oasis. A task not for the fainthearted, the redesign’s focus was more attuned to the philosophy of how we live now and how we envision living in the future, than it was just about decoration. Speaking to Architectural Digest, Vervoordt said, “We changed the house by purifying it, and we kept pushing to make it purer and purer.”

Having purchased the home for $20 million in 2013, and started the elaborate renovation process which continued for years afterwards. The end results are, after a seven-year transformation, something to behold.

Each of the rooms in the house are covered in a glowing off-white plaster. The spaces had equally pale natural materials added to them, and complimented with natural forms of furniture. Most of these consist of Vervoordt’s subtle designs, which compliment works by Royère and Pierre Jeanneret. The minimalist approach has raised a few eyebrows, given that many of the surfaces are bare. “The proportions are the decoration,” Kanye responded.

The Kardashian-West home is a great example of simplicity and has a great mix of soft feminine and masculine energy. All homes have an underlying energy from the design itself. Minimalist structures are often more informed by male energy and rely on light to create shadows and variation of tone. Here, sensuous curves, opaque glass and texture evoke a more feminine aesthetic.

This home is a great balance of the two. The white interiors leave the décor and occupants to be the feature, which certainly suits this celebrity couple and their family. It exudes the purest form of minimalism.

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