Kim and Kanye’s trusted designer received one of France’s top honors

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Recently, Belgian designer AD100 Axel Vervoordt added the California home of Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West to his resume. Now he is part of an elite group that includes legendary musicians like Elton John, Van Morrison and Pharrell Williams. No, Vervoordt is not setting up a supergroup. But the French Ministry of Culture appointed him an Officer of Arts and Letters, a distinction awarded to those “who have made a significant contribution to the advancement of the arts in the world,” according to a press release.In view of the current pandemic, Vervoordt has received his Officer badge during a small ceremony at Gravenwezel Castle, a medieval estate outside Antwerp that the Vervoordts have called home since the mid-1980s. The honor was presented by Hélène Farnaud-Defromont, the ambassador from France to Belgium.

Vlaeykensgang, which is owned by Vervoordt, is located in Antwerp, Belgium.
Photo: Getty Images

The announcement does a sort of promotion for the Belgian designer, who had previously been named Chevalier in the hierarchy of the Order of Arts and Letters. Now entering the sixth decade of his career, Vervoordt began his professional life with the acquisition of 16th century Antwerp houses which he memorably transformed into an art and antiques sales area. His contributions to the Biennale des Antiquaires de Paris in 1982 propelled him to increased fame. In addition to developing a list of international clients that has grown to include the Kardashian Wests, Vervoordt’s keen curatorial sense has been exemplified in exhibitions such as the 2007 ‘Artempo: Where Time Becomes Art’, which opened in Palazzo Fortuny in Venice. Today, the Axel & May Vervoordt Foundation and its Antwerp exhibition space in Kanaal offer a way to present some of the world’s greatest works of art to future generations.

“It’s amazing to share a bit of this extraordinary artist intuition, to understand art and to be interested in the art of all time,” Vervoordt said during the intimate ceremony. “Ancient art can be a source of inspiration for the future and contemporary art – certainly also – creates a new civilization. I consider it important to understand art and to make others understand it.

Although an award from the Order of Arts and Letters rewards a lifetime of achievement, Vervoordt’s acceptance speech made it clear that his work as a multi-hyphen of insatiable curiosity and passionate about everything related to art and design is far from over.

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