In the first of a debut feature on new imprints coming to town, we speak to Oliver Biltereyst and Laurent Bouchat, the founders of a new art book store and design gallery nestled in between Uccle’s Brugman and Churchill axes, about names (“We were fed up with concept stores, so no special name for us.”), their neighbours (everyone from Le Saint Aulaye to Boutémy) and what success looks like.
Can you describe your concept in a few words? What is its core business? What are its driving principles? What, in your eyes makes it unique?
A sharp and independent selection of furniture and art books from the 20th century. We’re passionate about beautiful objects; it’s a very personal pick. We always try to mix different styles and genres.
Can you discuss the concept’s first steps? When did the idea first take? How did it come about?
We never talk about concept, things came very naturally. Olivier worked during 20 years with antiquities at “Sablon” and Laurent worked for 15 years at “Posada Art Books”. After the closure of this huge library in 2011, we just wanted to work together, it seemed obvious.
Can you talk to us about the concept’s name? What is its significance? How does it relate to the concept’s core idea?
We were fed up with concept stores, so no special name for us. Just Olivier Biltereyst & Laurent Bouchat.
What excites you the most about your concept? What are you the proudest of?
The most exciting thing for us is to create a selection that speaks to people, and find a rare pearl among the crowd. We’re especially proud of our collection; you can’t find our pieces anywhere.
How and why did you choose the neighborhood you’re currently located in? What attracted you to it in the first place?
Uccle has a lot of life; it’s an up-and-coming neighborhood. We used to shop here; there are a lot of beautiful boutiques. At first it was because of the restaurants. Plus a lot of our clients live here…
How do you feel you’re bringing something fresh to the neighborhood? Do you feel you’re adding value to it in any way? Are you working with the neighborhood in any way?
We tried to do something nice with a decaying corner and the neighbours seemed pretty happy, we got a lot of good reviews.
Can you talk to us about the other businesses located in your neighborhood? Do they have any similarities between each other?
Our neighbours are: the bakery Le Saint Aulaye; the cheese shop Julien Hazard; Thierry Boutemy is our florist; François is the fishmonger. If you want to grab some food you can go to the Bistrot Urbain and if you have kids Amstamgram it’s the right place for you. All of them choose to work with quality products. We support little business; they usually have more ethic and humanity.
What, if anything, do you hope to change with this new opening?
We want to inspire people to look at beautiful things. Go for a walk in their neighborhood just for fun… there could be some important changes.
What did you least expect about starting this business?
To challenge myself constantly.
What would you tell the beginner?
What would you tell the potential customer?
Don’t be afraid, come on in!
Can you name one other concept that proved to be an inspiration? A concept who moves you follow.
It’s more than a concept. The artisan mostly inspires us, the most important thing for him is the quality of work.
What does success looks like to you?
When you can’t answer your customers demands.
OLIVIER BILTEREYST (Design XX°) & LAURENT BOUCHAT (Art books XX°)
2, Rue Général Mac Arthur
Open Wednesday to Saturday from 12h00 to 18h00