Designer Crush: espanyolet


Inspired by their extensive travels, espanyolet creators Thomas Bossert and Melissa Rosenbauer take their business with them as they go, introducing products and design services to their clients around the world. The duo’s hand-dyed (and sometimes hand-loomed) linens and textiles are just the tip of the iceberg as espanyolet integrates interior design services into its offerings. Learn more in our Q+A below.

How did you each get your start in design?

Thomas is a classically trained graphic designer with an MFA from the prestigious BGU design school in Germany, and Melissa is self-taught. Before we were textile and home designers, we worked in digital media at one of New York’s largest marketing communications agencies.

What inspired you to start espanyolet?

We were on a creative sabbatical, and it was in Bali where we (re)discovered the joy of making with our hands while working in natural indigo, batik & ceramics studios.

We loved what we were doing — slow design and traditional artisan processes, so it was actually during this part of our year away that we decided to not return to New York but instead launch a small design studio where we could focus on artisan craftsmanship. This was 2014, we refined our concept over the course of a year and launched espanyolet in late 2015.

How do you define “California style” when it comes to interior design?

It all started with the Franciscan missionary, Junipero Serra who brought Spanish style to California. He was actually born & raised on the island of Mallorca so it’s no surprise that there is significant overlap between the look, feel & general spirit of the two places. “California style” is Mallorcan style, both of which are primarily focused on casual, unpretentious & livable spaces. With each of our projects, we place importance on letting in the warm light, layering contrasting textures and taking advantage of the soft, eroded colors of the landscape.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

We are inspired by the Mediterranean: its culture and traditions, its rich colors and textures, its slow living and its handcrafted goods. We love old world materials that feel like they have a story, a history; materials that embrace old world production, a slow process of creation that produces a wonderfully rich texture. We are inspired by texture-full surfaces that don’t feel perfect or slick; they are not of the modern world. And lastly, we are inspired by people, places & things that have soul.

What’s your process for getting to know a client?

We live in Europe and have clients in the U.S., Spain, Germany, Sweden, and the U.K. and needless to say, each has a different way of talking about color, space and design. It’s important for us to understand these cultural differences so we can make creative recommendations and collaborate in a way that makes sense for each person’s different past or reference points. That means we travel to our clients’ homes when we can in Europe, and in the case of our U.S.-based clients we hop on a FaceTime call armed with color samples, pictures or texture-full off-cuts to spark a meaningful conversation about what they may have in their mind’s eye.

Describe your dream vacation.

We are not ‘sit-on-the-beach-with-a-fruity-drink-in-hand’ kind of people! We love to wander the globe looking for people, places and things that move us. Our most recent vacation, for example, was to a small village of 2,000 people nestled in the Transylvanian Valley of Eastern Europe to buy more vintage textiles. We stayed in the home of our favorite textile provider, a couple who collects vintage fabrics across Hungary + Romania and we were able to meet, eat with & share drinks with their parents, siblings, nephews and local friends. We picked veggies from their garden, made kombucha together and learned about living off the land. This is the kind of adventure we crave.

Lightning round!

Favorite ice cream flavor?

Thomas: Hazelnut.

Melissa: Lemon poppyseed.

Go-to karaoke song?

“I feel It Coming” by The Weeknd & Daft Punk.

First concert?

Melissa: Nashville, TN, 1995, Alanis Morrissette.

Thomas: Dortmund, Germany, 1987, Prince.

Favorite quote?

“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way.” — Georgia O’Keeffe.

More news: