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Axel Vervoordt: Wabi Inspirations Hardcover – February 22, 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Legendary Belgium antiquarian and art collector Axel Vervoordt’s interiors represent some of the most coveted rooms from layered and luxurious to monastic and minimal, reflecting the influence he derived from the Buddhist principle of “contradiction.” In Wabi Inspirations (Flammarion) Vervoordt, a student of Zen, gives his personal take on an ascetic developed in the twelfth century that advocates simplicity, authenticity, and imperfection. Vervoordt, working with Japanese architect Tatsuro Miki, uses natural materials to maximum effect as brilliantly seen in 350 dazzling color illustrations." ~VANDM.com

About the Author

Axel Vervoordt is an antiques and art dealer in Belgium. His work is internationally renowned, and he regularly organizes exhibitions at fairs, museums, and art and antique biennials. Flammarion published Axel Vervoordt: Timeless Interiors in 2007. Michael Paul, a New Zealand native based in London, is a lifestyle photographer and writer. Tatsuro Miki is a Japanese architect based in Brussels. Laziz Hamani’s photographs have been featured in solo exhibitions and have been published in numerous books including Dior, Antiquaires: The Finest Antique Dealers in Paris, and Axel Vervoordt: The Story of a Style.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Flammarion (February 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 2080301454
  • ISBN-13: 978-2080301451
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 1.2 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #573,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert E Jones on April 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover
First, this book is constructed of beautiful materials. The paper weight and texture are amazing and of finest quality. The photographs are beautifully reproduced and are essentially the best part of this book. The text itself is awful, and could benefit from the heavy hand (red pen) of an editor. All the pages of text could be condensed--removing all trite phrases and zen-style attempts at platitudes--into perhaps two meaningful paragraphs. This volume is the absolute height of pretense and artifice.

In the modern world of everyday people, wabi-sabi is a concept that can be used to improve our lives. Wabi-sabi is a concept originating from Japan which stresses three important values for objects surrounding us: Impermanence, Imperfection, and the Incomplete. Before this book came out, I had never seen the first word used alone. Wabi means essentially "humble," and is the absolute wrong title for the book and its concepts. The book shows pictures of generally empty lodges, tea houses, and retreats--and these dwellings are invariably set on a lake front, or next to the ocean, or feature a stunning view of the Alps through its unadorned window. Space--affording a house (or chalet, or loft) and then keeping it empty save perhaps a stack of rocks or one vase--is the ultimate luxury in this world. This book purports to idolize that which is humble: A retreat on the side of the mountain, where guests are made to pad single file across the grounds and then step into the tea house. But a European retreat, its grounds, and associated tea house are a mark of unattainable luxury! So too are two barns featured in this book. Both barns make their way to Europe; but one of them is commissioned and built in Japan first.
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It's a really inspirational book and is a must have for worshippers of Axel Vervoordt. The concept, layout and texts are perfect. I gave 4 stars for this book only for one reason - publishers didn't consider the quality of paper - all the photos on this paper loose most of details and look too dark. It's really upseting because in minimalistic interiors each of details and textures of materials are important.
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This is a great book. It visually explains the beauty of imperfection, textures and the qualities that time imparts. It is not making reference to the cost or origin, just a feeling. The raw beauty. The spare sense of space. The elimination of competitive elements so each one becomes important. There is a mood a feeling that is conveyed that makes us more sensitive to things we see.
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This is by far the most inspiring volume of all Axel Vervoordt series of design. The 256 heavy matt paper pages displayed photographs of Vervoordt’s work in collaboration with Tatsuro Miki that captured the very essence of wabi-sabi, which is to appreciate beauty in the state of being natural, momentary, austerity, timeworn, and imperfect. The concept of wbai-sabi is relatable to life.
I hesitated a long time before the purchase because I was not inspired by Vervoordt’s previous two publications. But I soon realize that’s one of the best book purchase decisions that I ever made, and my number one collection under the category of interior design. I recommend this poetic volume with passion to everyone, even to my close friends and family members, so they can keep their greasy fingers away from mine.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The photos grab you initially. It has a quiet presence; however, the book is more in praise of Vervoordt that a work on wabi. About halfway through, I found it rather repetitive and drab. The expense the author and his clients go to in creating dwellings to mimic the rural poor of Japan is really rather depressing and selfish. Moving an entire barn from Japan to the Netherlands? The environmental cost alone is staggering. Only the obscenely rich can afford to be that "poor". They are more Marie Antoinette playing at being "simple" than people who embrace the true concept of wabi
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Format: Hardcover
As a European, it is hard to understand the true nature of Japanese culture. Still, some people know how to get into the core of that culture and appreciate the qualities of simplicity, respect for natural elements, and bring this into our homes -- without any posing or pretending. This book is an exeptional example of someone who is deeply inspired by Wabi.
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By Jam-i on November 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Amazing photographs of the work of a great architect/designer -- not a manufactured talent -- but a real one. This book is a spectacular glimpse at extraordinary style. A must for any design/architecture library.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This elegant book is based on the Japanese concept of Wabi Sabi,
the appreciation of beauty in the imperfect, the ordinary, the
well used. The low light, misty photographs echo another
book on the same subject, In Praise of Shadows, making it
necessary to dark adapt to sense details, well worth the
meditative time it takes to absorb one soft view at a time.

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