Homegirl London pays homage to Mineheart. The design duo Young and Battaglia present an evocative and exciting collection of contemporary masterpieces. If you love illusion wallpaper, eccentric wall art, unusual lighting, quirky cushions and unconventional interior design, you’ll go crazy over this brand. By fusing the past with the present Young and Battaglia mash up diverse styles with different periods, materials and genres to trick the eye and provoke the mind. It’s where renaissance collides with surrealism and is packaged up in a clever contemporary way. Their esteemed work includes trompe l’oeil wallpaper with faux books on shelves and chesterfield button back detailing. Wall art showcases animals dressed in 18th century clothing posing as aristocrats while rugs mix two distinct designs of a cowhide shape with a Persian pattern. Their work is eccentric British design at its very best. I caught up with the owners find out more about Mineheart.

mineheart, rug, chair, pendants

Panelling Wallpaper, White Dome and Factory Pendants and Albert Rug

Meet the Mineheart Designers

The owners and designers of the brand are husband and wife; Brendan Young and Vanessa Battaglia. They tell me how they met – “It was on an exchange programme between the UK and Italy. We were actually desk neighbours. The exchange was only for three months but we kept in touch and after graduating we went travelling round Europe together and the rest is history!”

mineheart brendan young and vanessa battaglia

Brendan Young and Vanessa Battaglia

Brendan tells me about his background – “My parents are creative, one was a design lecturer, the other a restaurateur, so I guess you can say creativity is in my genes. I grew up making and mending things in my father’s workshop. After gaining a degree in product design, and having met Vanessa on an exchange program in 2000, I left my home town of Cambridge to work in Milan. In 2003 we returned together to the UK and founded design consultancy Studiomold, working on product design, art direction and interiors for big British brands.” Vanessa is Italian, she tells me– “I was born in a small seaside in Italy. I studied industrial design in Rome and then worked in fashion, accessory and textile design for various Italian brands including Versace and Dolce & Gabbana.”

mineheart black bookshelf wallpaper

Black Bookshelf Wallpaper

They both agree that their shared passion for design has been the key part of their relationship from the start. They reveal – “Setting up a design business together felt quite natural and happened organically. After working in creative agencies we reached a point where we just wanted to focus on our own ideas and develop a style. We took the plunge, quit our jobs and applied to show at the Milan Salone Satellite (our joint childhood dream had been to show at this design fair!). They accepted us, so we happily spent a full month creating ten quirky and crazy fun new objects to show. These were all inspired by recycling, the title of our first collection was Sustainability with a smile. That was in September 2003 and it was the defining moment for our design careers, we both knew that it was the right path for us.”

mineheart elizabeth cabinet

Elizabeth Cabinet

They tell me about the unusual brand name – “Mineheart was inspired by the Shakespearian quote: “Mine eye and heart” and we chose it because it symbolizes our dual passions; love for tradition and eye for contemporary design which are combined in often surprising ways within the collection. This is also true of the people we choose to work with. We love discovering designers that share our ethos and working in collaboration to create something unexpected. Having total creative freedom is a really important to us which is a major benefit of owning this business. The ability to merge genres and concepts and create something completely new is essential and we only create products that make us smile!”

mineheart eye doll light

Eye Doll Light

Their vision started out back in 2003 with just the two of them and today it’s a team of eight. They are located in Fenstanton near Cambridge, a tiny rural village which is Brendan’s home town. They recently restructured the business, they tell me – “Last year we gave ourselves ‘proper’ titles.” Brendan is the Design Director and Vanessa is the Art Director while John Mabhedege has joined us as the Commercial Director.” Vanessa adds – “Brendan knows where he wants to go with the business and the brand and I help him to get there. He’s quite technical and a bit obsessed with design and details, while I’m more driven by nice visions and what feels right. After working together for fourteen years now, we embrace the fact that we have different approaches to design but these are complementary. We may work in different ways but we are always bouncing ideas off each other. The secret so far is that we will never approve any ideas or projects if one of us is not totally convinced.”

View the Mineheart Collection

This brand is celebrated for their thought provoking, daring and distinctive designs which they apply to a range of over 150 products including wallpaper, lighting, rugs, art, cushions, decorative objects and furniture. They explain more – “We want the range to take people on a journey into a world of curiosities where nothing is quite what it seems. We love to play with perception creating a mash-up of different styles, periods, materials and genres that blur the line between art and design. Throughout the Mineheart collection the past and present are combined to create something totally new.”

mineheart pendants, side tables, rug

King Edison Pendants, Casablanca Tables and Charlotte Rug

Vanessa adds – “I have a passion for art which spans from renaissance to surrealism right through to modern day street art, installations, illustration, digital photography and fashion. Jointly, inspirations are derived from traditional folk tales, classical art and architecture. These are themes that weave through many of our collections. We are big fans of Moooi and Marcel Wanders, they are so creative and have really managed stand out both as a brand and in terms of cultivating their own style and so many iconic products. When we were studying we both really liked (and still like) Philippe Stark, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Leonardo da Vinci and now we get inspired by many contemporary artists.”

mineheart white wallpaper and peep cushion

Almost White Delft Baroque Wallpaper and Peep Cushion

Vanessa and Brendan talk me through some of their product ranges. Wallpaper: “Our wallpaper has been a key defining product for us, especially the White Bookshelf design. We followed that with other trompe l’oeil designs such as the Chesterfield wallpaper. The most recent wallpaper collection is called Almost White, we took some of our existing designs which we bleached and distressed to give them a ghostly quality.”

mineheart almost white love letter wallpaper

Almost White Concrete Love Letter Wallpaper

Lighting: “Our lighting range continues to evolve. The King Edison light takes miniature King chandelier and hangs it in a utilitarian Edison-style bulb. We have just launched a new larger version of our King Edison Lamp and it now comes in a black glass too called the Ghost. Also new is the Feather Lamp where we have taken the softest Ostrich feathers and hung them from delicate brass arms to create a luxurious pendant. Our Marilyn and Audrey Lamps feature famous movie star eyes recreated in black and white for a glamorous and surprising effect.”

mineheart gold king edison pendant lamp

Gold King Edison Pendants

Rugs: “The rug selection is fun. For example, our Persian Cowhide rug is a marriage between two of the most iconic rugs in the world. We have used the cowhide shape combined with a Persian design. A new collaboration with artist Joao Figuieredo appropriates traditional portraits which have been applied to rugs. It is a new way to appreciate art.”

mineheart cowhide persian rug

Grey Persian Cowhide Rug

Art: “We continue to collaborate with many artists who inspire us. Recently we have launched a range of canvasses made in collaboration with artist Angela Rossi that feature a surreal menagerie of animal portraits. Also new are the Himitsuhana still life canvasses that take the traditional dark and moody still life and add eye popping fluorescent tones.”

minehart wall art

Menagerie Wall Art

Supporting British industry is important to the duo, they tell me – “Most of our products are made in the UK. We seek out passionate people who really care about what they do. We believe this love for design brings real attention to detail and quality of manufacture to our products.”

Buy the Mineheart Products

To find out more about the brand and to buy their products go to Mineheart. They can ship products overseas. To give you an idea about prices points; wallpaper starts at £56, rugs start at £518, wall art is £183, cushions are £72, the Elizabeth Cabinet is £2660 and King Edison lights start at £480. They can offer bespoke options for the majority of their products. They work with architects and interior designers to supply custom made pieces to suit a specific building or project. Bespoke options include changes to the design, size, colour, fabrics and finishes.

Author: Homegirl London. Photographs: Mineheart. Thanks: Brendan Young, Vanessa Battaglia and Gina Channell.

Mineheart
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  • Last modified: August 10, 2019