Creatively Speaking – Brendan Young and Vanessa Battaglia
Photographer Max Jamieson
I recently posted on the amazing faux cow hide rugs created by design duo Young and Battaglia. As I delved in to a little bit more about the duo’s background I found out that they are based about 10 minutes from where I grew up as a child in a small town called St Neots, Cambridgeshire… Unfortunately being in Sydney they are no longer just round the corner, but I was fortunate enough to have Brendan agree to an interview (through the marvels of technology) about their amazing work… So here we are, Friday is here, time to grab a cup of tea and a slice of home made soda bread (see below) and sit back and enjoy…..
How would you describe your work and style? I think someone once described us in the past as “shabby chic meets punk who had a love child in the baroque era”…? but we simply try to create thing we really like, and that may change over time. I would describe our approach as playful, and currently we are very interested in the feeling of history in old objects and interiors. Trying to find new ways of capturing the poetry of the things we love using new materials and techniques.
Mineheart Poem Plate
What, where and/or who inspires you?I know my partner Vanessa gets inspired by the big city, she loves New York, London and Tokyo… but I’m more of a country boy. I love the countryside and I need space around me to think.
What has been the most exciting point in your career to date and why?Now is the most exciting time for us. Since we started working together in 2003 we have done so many fun things and learned so much, but it feels like everything has really come together this last year or so. We founded the mineheart brand to produce our design and collaborate with other designers, and that gives us the freedom to experiment and try things that we couldn’t before.
Spaghetti Chandelier White
Do you have any major projects in the pipeline at the moment? Can you share these with us? We are currently working on the design of some larger pieces of furniture for mineheart, including wardrobes, chairs and sofas. We are very excited about these as they will be the first furniture pieces in the range, so it’s a totally new adventure!
If you could have your work displayed anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be displayed?Our work is really meant to be used not so much displayed, I would be happy just to know that our work is in peoples homes around the world and that they enjoy living with them as much as we enjoy creating them!
White Bookshelf Wallpaper
What would be your dream commission?
Not exactly a commission but, one day we hope to build our own house, it would be amazing to design every corner of it and make it exactly how we want it. It would integrate eco-friendly technologies, natural materials, super insulation and solar panels etc… and doing the interior is the part I’m looking forward to most of all!
Y&B home interior
If someone were coming to visit your home town where would be the must stop place or places to visit (this could be a place, restaurant, cafe, etc).We love food, we have two favorite places we regulary love to go. One is in the Green Man pub in Granchester, we have a Whippet crossed with a Border Collie calle Lili, dogs are allowed, so we often take her for a walk in the meadows there before having some lunch, the menu is amazing and it has a really relaxed atmosphere. The other place we can’t keep away from is the Tudor Thai restaurant in Fenstanton, even if it wasn’t owned by my mum I would still eat there all the time. Tom Yum soup, spicy fish cakes, duck red curry… making myself hungry, might have to go there later!
If you were to board Noah’s Ark and were told that you could take three things with you. What would they be? Our dog Lili, then… in the past I would have said a sketch book, but recently fell in love with the ipad, and maybe my tool box to make things with!
Now as much as I love your work, I love cooking and am always eager to find out a new recipe… what is your favorite dish to cook??….Would I be able to ask for the recipe?Vanessa does most of the cooking at home, she makes a delicious soda bread.
170g/6oz self-raising wholemeal flour
170g/6oz plain flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
290ml/½ pint buttermilk (6 table spoons of natural yogurt mixed with 1 glass of milk)
Preheat the oven to 400F/200C/Gas 6.
Tip the flours, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl and stir.
Make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermilk, mixing quickly with a large fork to form a soft dough. (Depending upon the absorbency of the flour, you may need to add a little milk if the dough seems too stiff but it should not be too wet or sticky.)
Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly.
Form into a round and flatten the dough slightly before placing on a lightly floured baking sheet.
Put lots of seed (pumpkin, sunflower and sesame) on a wooden board and roll the dough on it.
cut a cross on the top and bake for about 30 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped and cool on a wire rack
I hope you enjoyed, have a great weekend, meanwhile on with the colourful adventure……. .