It looks like something out of a futuristic film. Here in Antwerp, this open-plan apartment, home to Derek Van Heurck – artistic director of the ready-to-wear brand Bellerose – features futuristic, metallic accents that instantly caught our attention at The Socialite Family. A setting with a restaurant past that Astrid Somers, his companion – and fashion buyer in the family business, Princess – initially invested in before considering how to set the scene here alongside the Belgian designer. Here, the couple worked together to design the meticulous decor of this cube as they would for a fashion collection or the interior design of one of their respective boutique shops. By letting the materials speak for themselves with all their innovative and disruptive potential. The aluminium ceiling by Jules Wabbes, the pale yellow carpet and the washed concrete floor: a quest for texture in which they were joined by the design studio Atelier Dialect. “We like contrasts”, say both parents of young Jade. It was a confession that could have been guessed from a glance at their choice of furniture. For example, a Terrazza leather sofa by De Sede with a fur rug at its feet and an airy and lightweight curtain by textile designer Nathalie Van der Massen. The pieces are displayed with a fine sense of balance, with no frills, allowing their full decorative potential to be expressed in these vast spaces, as works of art would be in a gallery.
Derek, can you introduce yourself?
I’m Derek Van Heurck and I live in Antwerp, Belgium with my companion Astrid, our youngest daughter, Jade and her older sister, Jacquetta. I’m the Artistic Director for the ready-to-wear brand, Bellerose. Astrid also works in fashion and recently took over Princess, a family business that has eight multi-brand stores between Knokke and Antwerp.
What’s your background?
I was born and raised in Brussels. My father founded Bellerose in 1989, and I was lucky to be part of a family with great taste. My father loved beautiful things, whatever they were, be it clothes, architecture or art. Once I finished my studies in Belgium, I moved to New York where I could observe and learn about other visions of aestheticism. I then joined the family firm, which was over ten years’ ago. This professional adventure has allowed me to travel a lot in Japan, a country that is one of my greatest sources of inspiration. My companion, Astrid was born and raised in Antwerp. She always loved fashion and quickly joined the family business, which was set up by her grandmother. It was a business passed down the generations, notably the women as her mother also ran the company. It was Astrid who decided to develop the shops into retail spaces that have a strong visual identity, with even more fashion and a more contemporary interior design. It was a roaring success!
You both work in ready-to-wear, one as an artistic director, the other as a buyer. How did this love of fashion influence the decor of your apartment, which primarily uses coated concrete?
I think that anyone who works in fashion is inspired by different things, such as architecture or decoration. Decoration-wise, I appreciate a range of aesthetic styles. To be honest, I find beauty in every bygone era. For me, mixing signature elements from every era makes a strong decorative statement. Just like our shops and apartment, which feature concrete, wood and brick, every medium looks great in interior design – it all depends on how you use it. That’s why Astrid chose light materials for our apartment, with a rough concrete floor and an old Jules Wabbes aluminium ceiling because we love contrasts. For the furniture, if we had to choose a favourite era, we’d say the end of the 70s and the 80s. Two highly creative decades we love mixing up for an ultra-contemporary style…
What work was needed to organise your apartment, which was formerly a restaurant and a furniture shop?
We worked with the architecture firm Atelier Direct, and notably with Pierric de Coster. Everything needed doing up. Astrid lived in the apartment before I moved in and chose this design studio for its innovative use of interior design materials and its ultra-contemporary style.
We worked with the architecture firm Atelier Direct, and notably with Pierric de Coster.
What ambience did you want to create here?
The idea was to use mediums that you don’t normally find in interior design, such as aluminium, and to display them in a way that creates a futuristic feel.
What’s your favourite designer piece in the apartment?
Personally, we love the Terrazza sofa by De Sede. We think the colour works really well as it’s a very pale yellow with a lovely patina. We love that it was considered such a contemporary piece in its day! It embodies the style of the apartment.
What does your home say about you, about your family life?
It’s an apartment where all four of us live. Astrid, her first daughter, Jacquetta, Jade, our daughter, and me. So it’s also very much a family home. It’s in the middle of Antwerp. It’s great to live in thanks to a large open-plan living room with a kitchen, and it’s where we spend most of our time as a family.
What’s your favourite piece from our collection?
I’d say the Tubo lamp for its metallic look!
The idea was to use mediums that you don’t normally find in interior design, such as aluminium, (...)
Photography : Eve Campestrini – Text : Juliette Bruneau @thesocialitefamily