If there is one word that stands out during his conversation, that one would be carte blanche, a French vocable with a metaphorical meaning of giving a person total freedom to act.
This term could perfectly illustrate why once, before boarding a plane, he threw away a whole project in the dustbin, after he got an email from a client telling that his sketches did not convince him at all.
“I felt free. Instead of attending to the presentation, I spent some holidays in New York”, asserts with a naïve smile this creator ‘one of a kind,’ whose personal trademark is to surprise, as long as the client trusts him.
A 19th-century building in the heart of Mexico City is the location where Dirk Jan Kinet opens to us the doors of his residence-showroom, a place where every object is waiting to be discovered by the lucky ones that get immersed in this kind of hidden treasure.
Thus, inspired by Classicism, Romanticism, and the Bloomsbury and Provençal style, this Belgian-born ‘antique hunter’ that also studied Germanic Philology and Drama, has brought to life various projects which seduce the five senses.
“I am a compulsive buyer of disturbing details,” warns the interior decorator, whose mix between a classical and an eclectic aesthetic offers ambiances that assemble a unique collection of odd with alluring pieces … just as an exquisite corpse.
Your affinity with antiquities was born or made?
I do not come from a family where antiques exist. However, since I was a child, I developed sensitivity towards old objects, as I always liked to visit European castles during holidays.
As well, from the age of 16, I started to read the magazine The World of Interiors which, despite being very expensive for me back then, shaped my taste. In one page could appear a castle of the 17th-century and, in the next one, a modern style atelier with broken walls.
Share with us more details about your personal refuge
This property was built in 1869 as part of the adjoining church ground (named as Templo de San Agustín). Subsequently, a family coming from Burgos, Spain acquired it. Besides that family and me, no one else has ever lived here.
Even though I am not a superstitious man, the house has a unique vibe. Almost all the people who enter it feel calm and for me is no exception, as it is a kind of oasis.
How do you go from inspiration to the materialization of spaces?
Although I am a romantic person, I try not to think it so much. It is rather what I call a ‘visceral creative process.’
In many cases, the inspiration pops out from the trips that I have made. For example, when I traveled to Germany for the wedding of my brother, I stayed in a hotel that was completely in red color. I was so delighted that I wondered “what if I transform my house with this color which, sometimes, can be perceived as aggressive?”
Over time it is going to be very hard to modify this proposal. Nevertheless, I am also looking forward to doing it so that the guests get new ideas by witnessing a continuous change.
Does interior design have something of poetic?
I have never thought about it. In interior design, the composition of the elements is like a poem, in the sense that you also have to take account of its rhythm and rules.
More than a conscious action, for me it is a natural or given talent. When I arrive at a place where I am going to work on a particular space, in less than a day, I have the whole concept of the project due to an ability to visualize very quickly how the final result could be.
Despite this capability, of course, there are other 99,000 things that I do not know how to do … (laughs).
What does the word trend mean to you?
This term causes me shivers. An example of this is how a year ago I created an apartment in Madrid with an interior design predominantly in green. Now that I read that Pantone Inc. has named Greenery as the tonality of 2017, it makes me want not to use it anymore, even when it is my favorite color.
Which is the worst enemy of interior design?
The product catalogs of the furniture and decoration stores, where the collections tend to be all the same. Hiring an interior design consultancy is a threat, as the result can be entirely uniform. The most interesting thing is the art of combining.
It is like people that dress just from a single brand, which I find very boring and, even, tasteless.
Is there anything that you miss about living in Europe?
The closeness of many cities, which makes it easy to travel during a weekend to different destinations such as Paris or London and even Marrakech or Istanbul. As well as the cafes. I have always wanted to do a project of a cafeteria like those in Vienna where, from early hours until noon, you can stay to read a book.
What I do not long for is the weather and that people are not as warm as here. For 22 years, I have been living in Mexico and, in the end, it will always depend on how you adapt to the mentality of the country where you live. Of course, it suddenly causes me a certain conflict that, for example, Siri never understands me when I speak to her in Spanish … (laughs).
DIRK JAN KINET IN 5 WORDS
Architect. Someone who comes to my mind is the British creator John Pawson (1949) since he is totally the opposite of me: minimalist. Living surrounded by so many things, it would be interesting to spend some time in an empty house.
Designer. One of the interior designers that I like the most is the Spanish artist Luis Bustamante. I am totally captivated by his work.
Artist. The whole Bach family. I could live without art … but never without their music.
Book. A Room with a View (1908) by the English writer E.M. Forster (1879-1970). I have read it more than twice.
Album. Cornerstone by the English musician Benjamin Clementine (1988) it is a beautiful and impressive piece that I have been listening to for two months.
What inspires you? What a difficult question! As a quick response, what inspires me right now is the Art Deco era of the drama series Downton Abbey.
Photos by Catalina Hernández. Besides having studied English Literature, her talent for visual arts has led her to develop projects related to creative disciplines such as painting and photography. She currently lives and works in Mexico City.