Taking inspiration from Michelle Ogundehin’s recent article on Redefining Luxury, in advance of the upcoming Affordable Art Fair Dutch Edition (28 October - 1 November 2020, de Kromhouthal) we’ve been speaking to renowned interior designer, Monique des Bouvrie about her interior consultancy, art collection and what she considers luxury to be.
Monique hardly needs an introduction, with her signature Rockstar-eque interior style, driven from her love of “colour and crazy things”, making her famous in the Netherlands and beyond. Monique has worked for many years alongside her interior architect partner (in both life and business), Jan des Bouvrie, and is based in their design studio located just outside Amsterdam, where they create customised environments, tailored to their client’s needs. Read on for more…
MONIQUE DES BOUVRIE ON ART AND LUXURY
How would you define Luxury?
People often think the definition of ‘luxury’ is in physical items, but I disagree. To me, luxury is the ability to make my own choices. To do things that make me happy and that I support 100%. And of course, that I can use my creativity.
Do you think the concept of Luxury has changed over the last few years? Or perhaps even over the past few months due to the pandemic?
Yes, I think the definition has changed due to the pandemic; people aren’t able to make as many free choices. Everyone is spending more time in their home environment, looking around and noticing things they’d like to change. A lot of people feel this way and that’s why they come to me for help. I think people are looking at their décor with more feeling and emotional connection, they want to change their interior to connect.
Why is it important to create a personal sanctuary space at home?
It’s important as your house should be your safe haven and inspire the feeling of being at home. There is nowhere safer than your own home.
Where is your personal sanctuary?
I have a house in France that I visit every month; it’s my own personal sanctuary. I can be outside more, and I work a lot there – I can take my work anywhere which makes me happy. I have a lot of art, there isn’t one empty wall in the house, there are works of art everywhere! My collection is very varied, although it’s all modern art, I don't like old masters, I really like contemporary art. I feel very passionate about collecting works by young artists and I’ve noticed that I spend a lot of time searching for new talent. I love that there is a resurgence of mixed media right now, and painting, it’s beautiful!
What are your top tips for decorating with art in the home?
Decorating with art is, of course, very personal. My top tip is to buy art that you emotionally connect with, you should always buy art with your soul.
Can you tell us about the first artwork you ever purchased? How have your taste in art and collection developed over the years?
The thing I love about my art collection is that I created it with my husband. He has collected art for years and he taught me to look and let me develop my own taste. I actually don’t know what my first piece of artwork work was, but my taste has certainly developed over the years – the more you study art, the more you see.
With the Affordable Art Fair Dutch Edition approaching this October, what advice would you give to couples attending the fair in search of their first piece of art?
Actually, my husband and I have a technique for this – we always walk around an art fair separately from each other and if we both spot the same artwork, we buy it. It’s a beautiful moment, connecting with the same artwork separately. Don’t just try to buy a piece that fits above the couch. You have to buy what you are drawn to, it should be an emotion, and this way you will always love it.
Have you experienced a WOW-moment at an art fair?
Yes, both my husband and I experienced it together, with a photograph. It was created by Russian photographer, Oleg Dou – a digital images of a baby head, whose eyes kept looking at us and it really jumped out for me. If you’re buying art, this is the feeling to look out for; it’s personal, the artwork has to affect you, it should give you goosebumps. You have to look at art with your feelings, not just your eyes, then you can really let it in and connect with it.
An example of Monique des Bouvrie's unique interior design style.
Featured art from first to last:
Monique des Bouvrie, courtesy of the designer.
Further examples of Monique des Bouvrie's rockstar styling.
Affordable Art Fair Dutch Edition takes place 28 October - 1 November 2020 at the iconic de Kromhouthal.