Mineral Specimens,  Product Inspiration

What happens when a mineral becomes a material?

In a recent Architectural Digest article by journalist Madeline Luckel–“Callidus Guild Brings Minerals and Materiality to Wallpaper in Transcendent Ways”– minerals are reexamined in the form of wallpaper. Luckel disects and analyzes the designer Yolande Milan Batteau’s 2019 wallpaper collection Matte and proves that 3D minerals can be flattened into 2D spatial compositions to achieve a unique interior aura.

Batteau stands in front of two of her signature mineral-inspired wall coverings. Image source

Batteau, who is influenced by both domestic and international landscapes and travel experiences, utilizes the process of “pigment foraging” when designing her Matte wallpapers. Luckel briefly explains the process of pigment foraging, which involves extracting wet color particles from veins of naturally occurring Ochre and letting them dry, erode, or mix with other natural substances to achieve a final hue. It is this “final hue” that Batteau incorporates into her designs and which we can see via her wallpaper swatches (as in this post’s first image).

Much like the minerals she utilizes, Batteau’s Matte collection is overwhelmingly neutral-toned. This is both honest and intentional. Batteau is inspired by the excavated and imagined architecture of the ancient world, when colors and materials used for building came directly from nature in their natural form, unmarred by the synthetic superfluities common in contemporary interior design and architecture. Batteau comments, “‘It’s a contemporary illusion, the separation of surface and architecture,'” alluding to the way in which traditional wallpaper designs mask elements of the natural world instead of mimicking them. Thus, Batteau’s wallpapers are unique in that they serve as mirrors to the natural world–a clever play on the interior/exterior dichotomy. Line the inside of your space with a Matte design and inside becomes outside; man-made (or should we say, Batteau-made) colors and textures synchronize with the naturally-occurring world to generate visual harmony.

A pink-hued Matte wallpaper sample, perhaps inspired by the Rose Quartz mineral.

Describing each mineral she comes into contact with, Batteau says, “‘I want to pick it up and smash it–and then translate it.'” The risk of the loosing the aesthetic character of the “smashed” mineral in such a “translation” is high. Ideas gleaned from nature’s unprocessed grandeur are difficult to execute to their fullest potential via the human hand. Batteau’s hand, however, proves remarkably steady as she translates the natural world into her signature mineral-infused interiors. In a time when opinions regarding the Earth’s environment are fraught, Matte serves as a reminder of the inescapable symbiosis between man and nature. In her work, Batteau seems to underscore the irony of this inescapability; Matte‘s “Silice in Canyon” and “Chaux in Ivory” slice open the walls they adorn and show us the outside world. They are emergency exists–environmental escape routes–into a mineral mélange.

Find more information about Batteau’s work and Callidus Guild here.

Want to immerse your mineral-filled space in mineral-inspired Callidus Guild Wallpaper? Check out this corresponding Littlefield Home onyx bowl and Callidus Guild wallpaper sample as inspiration:

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