While enjoying a refreshment at our Powerhouse location, have you sat and admired the charming and cheery wallpaper full of biggin coffee pots, succulents and writing quills? Or maybe you’ve seen the vans clad in that pattern driving around town too? That’s the exquisite work of artist and surface pattern designer, Kate Golding.
Balzac’s first teamed up with the incredibly talented designer to create the wallpaper and we loved it so much, a full product line featuring Kate’s pattern will be available a limited time in all Balzac’s Café locations and online starting September 26th 2019.
Kate wasn’t always designing painterly surface patterns depicting blue jays on pine sprigs or garter snakes slithering through grassy meadows though. After she obtained her Fine Arts degree in England, she moved to Canada and worked in film and advertising for 10 years. But it was a move to Prince Edward County that allowed her to fully pursue her creative passion. Where in childhood she was inspired by her grandmother’s Toile de Jouy curtains, she now has the ability to capture the ordinary yet sublime beauty of her everyday natural surroundings, from a perspective that is uniquely Canadian and uniquely Kate.
We caught up with Kate to find out more about her collaboration with Balzac’s.
How did you first meet Diana and how did she become aware of your work?
Diana approached me after discovering my work and was interested in discussing having a custom design created for wallpaper for her newest Powerhouse coffee shop location.
Walk us through your inspiration for designing the Balzac’s pattern?
Diana and I discussed ideas for some of the elements which might appear in the custom design, but the collaborative process was very light and airy giving me full freedom to create a design which I felt captured Balzac’s Coffee Roasters.
After a lovely afternoon spent at my local Kingston, Ontario Balzac’s location, I came away with a lot of material for getting started. In addition to including some of the elements which can been seen in the coffee shops, Diana had the wonderful idea of me including my interpretation of Balzac’s writing quill. I love how this element weaves together the design and makes it more personalized to the Balzac’s brand. Having in the past had the wonderful opportunity to visit a coffee plantation in northern Thailand, it felt appropriate to also include coffee branches with fruit and blossoms too. There are so many beautiful elements which could have been included in the design but I was really pleased with how the chosen motifs worked together in the final pattern.
What was your process for designing the pattern?
My process for designing starts with sketches. I then work on a light table with pen, brush and indian ink. Each individual mark is made with ink on thin transparencies and then scanned into my computer. At this stage, I apply colour and unite the individual layers to create each element. I then go on to create the motifs and finally the repeat pattern. As there were a lot of lovely foliage and irregularly shaped elements in the design, for example the coffee portafilter in action, I wanted the pattern repeat to be fairly fluid.
Different types of pattern designs can have quite a diverse overall feel, especially when applied to the walls of a space in the form of wallpaper. It was important to me that my design for Balzac’s captured the light, sparkly feel of the coffee shops without being too heavy or chaotic. I am so pleased with how the design turned out and hope that when they see the pattern, customers feel the joy I felt when creating it!
What was a memorable highlight about your experience designing for this collaboration?
Collaborating with Diana! She is a visionary and working with her on this project has been joy from start to finish. I couldn’t have been more thrilled with her response when seeing the pattern for the first time. I think I might have made her cry (in a good way!) and nothing is better than that! The collaboration was so positive, that the design is now featured as wallpapers in almost every coffee shop location, plus cladding the coffee delivery trucks, on the beautiful Las Rosas coffee packaging and now on a beautiful new line of products.
Describe what it’s like to see your designs featured in Balzac’s cafes?
Having my designs featured in Balzac’s Coffee Roasters is quite brilliant. On a number of occasions I have been in the coffee shops and overheard customers saying how much they love the design. The first time it happened I think I almost cried with joy. I also get lovely messages from friends when they spot the delivery trucks out on the roads which is fantastic. It is such a wonderful community of people who are a part of Balzac’s and I now feel like I am a little part of that too. Every time I head to the airport and stop by the UP Express location, I always get such a warm and excited welcome as I head off on my trip. I feel very lucky to be a part of something so vibrant and positive!
How is this collaboration with Diana and Balzac’s valuable for fostering a supportive community for other creators in Canada?
I am just one of many individual talents who Diana has collaborated with, on different elements for Balzac’s Coffee Roasters. It is incredibly uplifting to see the brand grow in such a positive way, uniting so many people to create something special, coveted and unique. Balzac’s stands apart from the crowd for this reason. I am a true believer in customers having a better experience when a product or service is delivered with care and attention, but I also think you can bring joy into peoples lives. I think that the artistic elements in each location help provide a personalized, special experience which is by no means corporate or run of the mill.
It also brings me so much joy to connect with the other collaborators who work with Balzac’s. Whether it is the team of people who carefully turned my design into a vehicle wrap for the coffee trucks, or the artist Alayna Paquette, who created the beautiful Balzac’s posters for each location, I think there is a mutual respect and joy for collaborating with Balzac’s.
It is so uplifting and encouraging to see artists, designers, and craftsmen be given such a wonderful opportunity to showcase their talents. I think that many other businesses could learn from this too. It is wonderful to not only have your work showcased, but also that Balzac’s is proud to champion and promote the individual artisans who create the work. I believe that businesses who collaborate in this way and unite with artists are so much stronger, more confident and truly shine!