Vitra Home Stories: Karin and Xavier Donck collect objects that tell stories

This winter, the Swiss brand Vitra invites us to take a look behind the doors of three homes, all as different as their residents. In the first story, we will visit the house of art collectors Karin and Xavier Donck in the old quarter of Ghent, Belgium.

Xavier and Karin Donck
“Every object has its own story. The more objects you have from all over the world, the more stories you bring into your home,” Xavier and Karin Donck believe.


Karin and Xavier Donck, an interior designer and architect, live in Ghent, Belgium. With a shared love of hospitality and heritage, Karin and Xavier collect vintage furniture and art.

Vitra EM Table
The most important item in the house is the dining table – the streamlined EM Table is by Jean Prouvé.
Vitra Vases Découpage, Boucle
The Vases Découpage vase as well as the Softshell chairs were designed by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec.

“WE COLLECT a lot of things. When we visit a city, we look for special pieces and always purchase something. Sometimes we both fall in love with a work of art or a piece of furniture, a nice object or a plant. Once acquired, these pieces move and circulate, migrating through the house.

We are lucky we have three sub-collectors – our children. They are happy to take whatever they like or claim for themselves. I have no doubt that the objects will survive me, which is a nice feeling.

Vitra Noguchi coffee table, walnut
Timeless classics: the Noguchi coffee table dates back to 1944, and Prouvé’s Tabouret Métallique stool to 1936.
Vitra Eames House Bird, black
The Eames House Bird is based on a wooden bird that Charles and Ray Eames found on a journey to the Appalachian Mountains.
Vitra Suita classic sofa, 3-seater, aluminium - grey
The Suita sofa by Antonio Citterio is accompanied by characterful art and vintage finds.
Vitra Akari lamps
The rice paper lamps are from Isamu Noguchi’s Akari collection.

As a couple, we share the same attitude toward aesthetics. The evolution of our common taste is the product of an ongoing discussion between the two of us. We fell in love with Jean Prouvé and Charlotte Perriand for different reasons. Prouvé for his technicality, his engineering, Perriand for her materiality, her use of dark wood. When you learn about their careers and how they went through life, it gives you a better understanding of their creations.

“We rearrange a lot. Doubt and intuition go hand in hand. Doubt cultivates creativity.”

We rearrange a lot. Doubt and intuition go hand in hand. Doubt cultivates creativity. The house is a very nice example of this process because we can decide to switch around the dining room and living room over the course of a single day, and then put it all back the next morning if we’re unhappy with the results.

Vitra Petite Potence wall lamp, Prouvé Bleu Marcoule
The home office is furnished with Prouvé pieces. The blue Petite Potence lamp has been paired with the Abat-Jour Conique lampshade.
Vitra Wooden doll 1
Alexander Girard’s wooden dolls reflect the designer’s passion for folk art from all over the world. The supersized wooden doll is also from Vitra.
Vitra Eames Lounge Chair&Ottoman, new size, palisander - black leather
The iconic Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman were designed by Charles and Ray Eames in 1956.

Opening our home to friends and family has been a guiding motto in our lives. All our children have a key to the house. We have no sense of ownership. We like them to use it as if it were still their home.

The most important item in the house is the dining table, where we come together and enjoy social gatherings and entertaining, with good food and wine. For this you need comfortable furnishings and loving family and friends. Maybe that’s the essence of everything. Good conversations.”

Shop Vitra favorites

Eames Lounge Chair & Ottoman
Wooden doll 13
Tabouret Métallique stool
Petite Potence wall lamp
Noguchi coffee table
Vases Découpage
Akari 3A table lamp
Eames House Bird

See also:

All Vitra products >

Edit: Nora Uotila Images: Vitra

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