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"Sometimes I feel like I belong in an episode of Downton Abbey."
What's the holy trinity of interior design? The perfect mix of antiques, art and luxurious home goods. In Amsterdam, you can find this heavenly combination at Tertius Objets d’Art, a gallery slash store that is filled to the brim with unique finds.
When you enter the bright space that is located in the historical canal district, you can’t help but look around in awe and drool over the treasures that are on display. It’s an eclectic mix of antique pieces, delicate furniture, little objets d’arts and contemporary artwork. It’s truly a design lover’s dream and a feast for the eyes. Meet Tertius Xavier van Oosthuyzen, the impeccably well- dressed and charming man who dreamt up this little slice of interior paradise.
“I love to discover new talent and give the artist a platform.”
Love at first sight
Van Oosthuyzen sits down behind a sleek glass desk that’s covered in wallpaper swatches and coffee table books and cheerfully starts talking about how all this came to be. “I was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa. From an early age I knew that I wanted to travel the world, so as soon as I finished my studies I left home and moved to Paris. While visiting a cathedral in the French countryside, I stumbled upon an old book with drawings of churches all over Europe. There was this structure that immediately grabbed my eye, a magnificent church in Monnickendam. At that point, I’d travelled all over Europe but the Netherlands was one of the few countries that I hadn’t been to, so I packed my bags to visit the church. When I arrived in Amsterdam, it was love at first sight. I actually wrote to my mother: ‘I think I’ve fallen in love.’”
Van Oosthuyzen doesn’t just have a passion for antiques and interior design. “Photography is also a great love of mine. For the last fifteen years, I’ve photographed over 1500 high- end weddings, which has taken me all over the world. I loved what I was doing, but it was always a dream of mine to run my own gallery, so when this space became available three years ago I jumped at the chance. I love to discover new talent and give the artist a platform.” The artists that Tertius works with are nothing but impressive. This group of world-class contemporary artists includes, for example, Nora Ponse, William Rosewood, Stef van der Bijl and art collective DEMAKERSVAN. These young, Amsterdam-based artists have shown their works at home and abroad in notable places like Het Rijksmuseum, the Tate Modern, the MoMa, the MET and the Guggenheim. A hauntingly beautiful piece made by one of them, Samuel Dejong, hangs next to Van Oosthuyzen’s desk. “He’s a former surgeon”, says Van Oosthuyzen as he points to the large blue and gold piece beside him. “He uses his skills and precision to create his artworks. He dissects insects and uses the parts as moulds to re-imagine their shape.”
“I’ve been enamoured by history, old objects, theatre, art and antiques for as long as I can remember.”
You can’t help but feel inspired when you look at the splendour all around the carefully curated space. Your eye catches an interesting object or piece of art no matter where you look. So where does Van Oosthuyzen get his inspiration from? “I’ve been enamoured with history, old objects, theatre, art and antiques for as long as I can remember. I’m drawn to things that are unique in their own way and really anything that has a story behind it. I have a true passion for beautiful, extraordinary things. Sometimes I feel like I don’t belong in the modern world but rather in an episode of Downton Abbey.”
Besides the gallery and representing artists, these days a large part of Van Oosthuyzen’s time is taken up by interior design. This is perfectly illustrated by the fabric swatches by the famed French fashion house with the signature orange hue lying on the glass desk. “Over the years I have assembled a skilled team of people around me who are the best in their field: from interior designers and art consultants to architects and stylists. At this point, we really are a full- service agency, and right now we’re working on a few large projects such as hotels and private residences, which is very exciting.”
Besides his love for beautiful objects, one of the things Van Oosthuyzen enjoys most is of a simpler nature. “One of my favourite things about running Tertius is the contact I have with the customers. I love meeting new people, whether they are locals or tourists. I enjoy giving them recommendations on where to eat, sleep or shop. I love it when people leave here feeling happy and inspired; that has always been my main goal. Maybe it’s because I’m not originally from here that I still view the city through a different lens than the locals do. To this day I am so grateful to be able to live and work here, and I relish in sharing my love for the city with other people.”