Melissa Rosenbauer and Thomas Bossert
At their studio/ home in Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Melissa and Thomas were immersed in the busy work environment of a large digital agency in New York City in 2012 when they fell in love. Their worlds merged, and together they started dreaming up a future where they could both nurture their work-related, and personal, identities in a more straightforward way. The road ahead of them was as yet undetermined, but it started to make sense when they consolidated the ideas of what they wanted to pursue in the coming months. At least they were sure that, initially, travel forward would be slow, but that they would embark on the kind of adventure that was right for living temporarily in one place for a short period, before eventually moving on. They wanted to connect with nature at a deeper level, something that just wasn’t achievable in New York, or even Brooklyn. They wished to learn something new and acquire skills that would be fulfilling. And they also wanted literally to 'do nothing'; by this they meant being able to enjoy the art of observing, as Italians so aptly describe as the art of “dolce far niente”, which literally means “sweet doing nothing”.
It took them about 10 months to work out the steps they needed to take before heading out to New Zealand - a plan that included selling their car and apartment, as well as belongings that could weigh down the course ahead. With their New York-type mindset, they also were able to put money aside, in case their plan didn’t work out as anticipated. But it did, and the quest began in October 2013, taking them on the journey of a lifetime, which they documented in their travel blog, 'From Brooklyn to Berlin'.
After a month in New Zealand, they subsequently settled for two months in Bali, Indonesia, where they took over a studio space to learn ceramics and textile dying techniques. Next was Thailand, and two stops in Africa: Namibia and Botswana. Thomas is from Essen originally, so they thought that perhaps Berlin was a good place to settle, but the cold reminded them too much of their NY winters, and they wanted to feel life was as an eternal vacation. So, once again, they took a leap, and landed in sunny Barcelona. They embraced the city with open arms, and right away the thriving creative community there seemed like a great fit, and their work plans started to take form. However, the pace was too hectic, so upon learning about the peace of the island of Mallorca, they crossed the few miles that separate the Balearic Islands from Barcelona, and arrived at what they still consider to be paradise.
For them, Mallorca has the right balance of old and new, and they have met other interesting international settlers developing their creative ventures here too. So, taking the name from the street which they finally called home, 'Son Espanyolet' (in the Santa Catalina neighborhood above Palma), Melissa and Thomas decided to embark on a highly-stylized project that would encompass home textile design, using original Majorcan vintage drape made from flax and linen, in a way that no one had ever seen before.
They use all kinds of dyes from the US and Germany, and while hand-painting each piece, they create an absolutely astonishing palette of the most attractive colors, influenced directly by the hues of the environment in which they live. One can certainly say they achieved what they set out to do when they left NY behind, and by continually exploring with patience and determination, they have laid the foundation of a project that can grow exponentially in the years to come. These days, they are mostly producing bed sheets and cushions, but their ever-roving eyes will soon look onto what will next come out of this truly creative undertaking. Espanyolet has taken its time to find its own rhythm as a company and, similarly, Melissa and Thomas have taken their time to find their magical calling.
Pictures by Danica Wilcox and Espanyolet