SURFACE BEAUTY THAT RUNS DEEP
Walls are often consigned to a default mode: slap on some fresh paint and hang a few pictures. But for the visionary fine artist Yolande Batteau, these frequently neglected expanses are canvases for extraordinary creations in their own right. Each singular project is dreamed up and developed in a Fort Greene compound that has, for a decade, served as the expanding live-work headquarters of Callidus Guild, Batteau’s globally recognized design studio specializing in hand-painted wallpaper and bespoke surfaces. Today, clients range from luxurious private residences in New York and Paris to public spaces for Louis Vuitton, Tiffany and Chanel. (Callidus Guild is also responsible for the exquisite dark nook recessed into the back wall of Egg Collective’s Manhattan showroom.)
We visited the atelier on a bleak mid-winter day, warmed by Brooklyn hospitality, a charming wood-burning stove, and the fiercely passionate artistry blazing within its walls. To tour the space is to delve deep beneath the beauty of Batteau’s one-of-a-kind surfaces to discover hidden layers of influence, imagination and inspiration.
RONEN LEV: Tell us about a typical day in your atelier.
Yolande Batteau: Our days in the atelier are rarely typical. Bespoke projects are often wildly different, and we have the opportunity to employ a range of artists and materials.
RL: What has your experience been like as a female-founded company in this industry?
YB: Being a female founded company has it’s challenges and benefits. In the construction industry it continues to be rare to see women on-site. As a creator, being a woman has forced me to work doubly hard to be seen, and that has made me stronger and wiser.
RL: Do you feel a sense of community here among other artisans and designers in New York?
YB: One of the best things about living and working in New York City is the profound sense of community. I share ideas and am inspired by the founders of NES Creative, Egg Collective, BDDW, Apparatus, Kelly Behun, Material Lust… its a long list. I am constantly inspired by their approach to making, seeing and relating to art and design and the nexus we share co-creating a current notion of space and objects. Relationships create your life, and I am really in love with my creative family.
RL: What other companies or individuals in the design community do you
RL: What’s next for Callidus Guild?
YB: Callidus Guild is expanding it’s offering, launching a new collection of hand-painted wallpapers called AGNES. We will participate in Collective Design Fair this year, creating a booth for Miniature Masterpiece from Paris. We are developing a tile collection and series of monumental ceramic assemblages with CLE tile, which we will be thrilled to exhibit over the summer. It’s our 15th anniversary, so we can’t wait to re-introduce ourselves this year to a wider market and to offer new, unexpected materials to our clients.