Meet Martin Kesselman of INCOLOUR
Sep 29, 2023
Meet Martin Kesselman of INCOLOUR and read about our partnership in NYC!
As our tenth birthday year, 2023 already felt notable for us, but with eyes forever focused on the future, we felt it wasn’t a time to look back over what we’ve already achieved, but instead look forward and think about ways we could build on it. The result? Officially launching the business overseas for the first time ever, with a brand-new presence in New York City.
We’ve partnered with Martin Kesselman, the New York City-based colour expert behind INCOLOUR, at his paint + colour studio and showroom in Tribeca, 100 Lafayette Street to create a Bert & May design experience.
We’re beyond thrilled to have not just crossed the pond but also to have joined forces with someone who’s as obsessed with shaping and creating great interiors as we are. And while our tiles have been featured in many US projects over the last decade, we’re excited about seeing the Bert & May look in even more spaces stateside.
Bert & May founder, Lee Thornley, comments: “We are a design brand with a clear aesthetic and not merely a tile company. We help create spaces with the customer, giving them the unique Bert & May look and feel. Our tiles have a distinct patina and palette, which we can’t ignore the demand for in the states. We couldn’t be happier to be partnering with Martin and as New York City is a design capital it’s such a great place to launch our arrival in the US! Martin’s knowledge for colour and it’s use in interior spaces is a great match for our approach to design; we are so excited to see how he works with clients to create amazing spaces with Bert & May tiles”
Here, Martin shares more about what he does - and why he’s excited to be working with our tiles…
Can you tell us about your expertise & your showroom, INCOLOUR?
INCOLOUR is a colour studio, consumer retail centre, designer meetup/collaborative space and I even host events in the evening from time to time. I do a bit of everything in the creative arena, but my forte is INCOLOUR – as a colour consultant, colour creator, stylist, tastemaker, brand ambassador and trend forecaster.
You’re deemed a colour expert - what do you consult homeowners and decorators on?
I provide overall design direction and concept. I assist in curating palettes and materials for their projects, to create moments, moods, and fresh and/or functional spins on things. The experience is customisable. It can be a straightforward two-hour colour consultation at a client’s home, or a large-scale project that has many players and intricate pieces involved.
I believe I’m very in tune with space - I instinctively have a sense of what it could, or should, be. That being said, things seem to often take form and expand organically in conversation, which is exciting and is often the best work. I enjoy when the client is a partner in all of this, a combination of what I envision for them and how they respond with feedback. It’s key to listen to the subtle cues between the lines and go from there.
What influences your work, and where do you find inspiration?
Contemporary art is a real passion of mine and so is architecture. I’m someone who’s constantly on the move, and good art and impressive architecture - from any period, and in any style - often stop me in my tracks. I consider myself privileged to work with spaces that have amazing bones and structure and some real special art pieces to riff off. I listen to improvisational jam band music as I work - a lengthy layered guitar solo gets me into my flow and in a groove.
We’re thrilled you’re partnering with Bert & May for our US debut in New York City, and that this marks your first foray into tiles. What are you most looking forward to about working with tile?
Yes it’s super, I’m really happy. For the bulk of a space and of my work, I typically have the opportunity to introduce a handful of colourways into a project. Now I have expansive freedom in a single tile. With shapes, patterns, customisation of colour combinations and how it comes together on a large scale, the possibilities are limitless.
You’re used to working in historical brownstones, contemporary lofts and a multitude of city spaces in between - what from our collection do you think New Yorkers will respond to for their spaces?
Any of the tiles that are handmade and have an artisan feel. The reclaimed tiles, no doubt - certainly for restoration work, but with new-builds too. I like to lean into the unexpected - it evokes some deeper thought, maybe even raises a few questions. Not to mention, New Yorkers love a story. Beyond the aged beauty and timeless colours, these finds have tons to tell.
If you could choose some of your favourite hues from our curated colour palette, what would you pick?
There is a vibrant blue called Azure in the palette that catapulted me into a world of brightness. It’s something that was more vibrant than I’m accustomed to. I’m looking forward to experimenting with things out of my standard range and comfort zone. I’d love to pair a few or more of these bolds together to really make a statement. Perhaps add in some ochre, a colour from earth, for balance, warm-up the design, ground it a touch.
For those who are a bit cautious when it comes to colour, what from our range would you suggest for neutral lovers?
Interesting that you ask about neutral. I’ve been experimenting with the idea of a neutral palette and illustrating examples of non-traditional neutrals in some of my work.
A neutral doesn’t necessarily have to be white, off-white, some value of grey or black. Beyond being known for my monochromatic design, simply from a stylistic point of view, if a particular colour has a quality, depth, radiance to it - and the Bert & May tiles do, no matter the colour - it can be used in a neutral way. What I do is use more of it, surrounding the space in it, walls, floor, ceiling and more. When there are little and or no contrast points, nothing to challenge the colour, whether it's high contrast or something from the other end of the colour wheel and again it’s well done, it reads neutral! Try a relaxed pink. I often use it as a good background colour in a soothing, neutral way.
If you’re in New York, you can visit Martin and see Bert & May’s collection at INCOLOUR, at 100 Lafayette Street, Tribeca, NYC! Get in touch with Martin to arrange a consultation or pop in when you’re in town!
100 Lafayette Street
(Corner of Walker, Tribeca)
NEW YORK, NY 10013