Basile, Atelier Peau: "I can't create a fanny pack"

Interview with Atelier Peau

3 september 2019
© Pauline Caplet

Basile from Atelier Peau is a young guy who loves Brussels and fanny pack is his enemy. According to his own words, he loves being a designer however he would not mind working as a bartender either. Let me introduce you to his creative mind and his innovative approach to world of design. 

What is your production about and what is the worst product you have ever made?

At this point I like to describe my work as a constant creative process which is related to several sub-fields of design. However, my roots come back to the architecture because that was the field of my studies. I approach to every project from a different perspective since each one deserves individual heed. I currently try to produce a fanny pack and nevertheless I have a clear idea of its final shape, the result is always a disaster. I see a general hype about this fanny pack nowadays, so I tried to respond to demand but unfortunately, I am unable to create it (laughter).

What was your biggest motivation to become a designer? Do you think that you can become rich by having this occupation? 

During my studies I was already certain that I will not stay in the architectural sphere. Therefore, I started working in different crafts and from the moment I used leather, I knew that I want to stay faithful to that material. Throughout the period, I noticed similarities between design and architectural processes, but I wanted to be able to create the final product with my own hands. I don't see myself rich in a future by doing this craftmanship, because each time I earn money for my work, I immediately invest it into additional project. If I continue like this, it's impossible for me to become wealthy (laughter again). On the other hand, I want to travel with my work, and I believe it will enrich me eventually. 

If you would not make design, what else would you do?

I don't really know. I worked in a bar for four years before I started my residency in MAD Lab and I quite enjoyed it. I also realized that it's difficult for me to find a suitable professional occupation because nothing really interests me that much. But right now, I really enjoy working as a designer, it gives me a lot of freedom and I can focus on different projects as well. To answer your question, I would probably work as a project manager in a creative industry. 

You are now based in Brussels. Here is one statement about the city: "Historic yet hip, bureaucratic yet bizarre, self-confident yet unshowy, Brussels is multicultural to its roots." (Lonely Planet) Do you rather agree or disagree with what it says, and how do you perceive the city? 

I agree. l'm from Belgium and I'm based in Brussels for already twelve years now. When you come to Brussels for the first time you have the feeling that the city is grey and shitty, but when you have the right person to show you around, you absorb its good vibes. You feel the diversity and cosmopolitanism of it. 

What do you enjoy about the city the most?

I really love sunny Brussels. It doesn't happen very often so you can appreciate it more. I lived in Valencia before and it was sunny all the time, therefore a person can get bored by that easily. But when the sun comes out in Brussels, people just sit on terraces and enjoy the sun rays. 

What is the project about?

It is in collaboration with Les Petit Riens (second hand chain). The project is about transforming destroyed leather collected by a chain into new products, which are then sold in their shops. The bags and accessories are made by people with disabilities and the general idea is to associate variety of organizations. In the end we try to create new jobs, to change assortment in Les Petit Riens and to reuse redundant material. The first release was composed of 50 bags and we sold them all. For the second release, we will increase the leather goods to 100 pieces. 

I currently try to produce a fanny pack and nevertheless I have a clear idea of its final shape, the result is always a disaster

Which brand, among whole fashion and design market, you consider the closest to you? 

It's too difficult to sum it up only in one word since my work is too diverse. Let me put it differently, if I had money, I would invest them in a Burberry bag. 

What is the biggest achievement you want to reach this year?

I'm working on two different projects now. Both are very extensive so I have to dedicate my time to them. The first is the collaboration with Les Petit Riens and the second is the introduction of my first collection. I want to present it in September, therefore it has to be done by June. 

Text Chantal Cocherova