Inside the World of Creative Force Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte
published on 01/01/1970
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Pivoting between cultures, continents, and careers, Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte champions great design the world over
I’m comfortable in French, English, Italian—and I know the basics in German, Arabic, and Spanish,” notes Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte, when asked his primary language. Being multilingual is nonnegotiable for the polymath, who has cofounded a gallery in Beirut, worked as a creative consultant in Milan, and helped launch the roving Nomad design fair, which has traveled from Venice to Monaco to Saint Moritz.
Earlier this year he added yet another title to his résumé: art director at the Fonderia Artistica Battaglia, a Milanese bronze foundry dating back more than a century. Bellavance-Lecompte was recruited to connect the facility—one of the few that still practice lost-wax casting—with designers who could bring fresh energy to the craft. The first creative fruits, a dozen extruded bronze sculptures by the Swedish-Chilean artist Anton Alvarez, debuted during April’s Salone del Mobile. Up next is a collaboration with New York designer Katie Stout, who will explore her playful design vocabulary using the Battaglia’s storied techniques and more than 150 patinas. “The foundry is a unique reality,” says Bellavance-Lecompte. “They just need someone to translate it.”
ranslator might be a good way to describe Bellavance-Lecompte, who works at the intersection of architecture, art, and design. Born in Canada, he studied architecture at the University of Montreal and Venice University Institute of Architecture, later moving to Berlin for a multidisciplinary master’s degree before ultimately relocating to Milan, where he set up the product-design studios Samare and Oeuffice. But designing wasn’t his calling. “I’m more of a curator,” he says. “I like being the director behind the camera.” In 2011 he put that into practice, cofounding Carwan Gallery, which introduced international talents like Philippe Malouin, Lindsey Adelman, and Kwangho Lee to Beirut. Carwan recently announced that it will relocate to Athens come 2020.
On top of all that, Bellavance-Lecompte is helping to revitalize an archaeological site in Egypt’s Siwa desert, renovating the mud dwellings of Shali village and establishing a residency program in the area. So how does he handle wearing so many hats at once? “Although it sounds like a very modern idea, it was born in the Renaissance. People were doing all of the artistic disciplines at the same time. Leonardo and Michelangelo were engineers, artists, scenographers, and urban planners,” he says. “I don’t have boundaries. I would get too bored if I did.”