The Hero’s Journey of Noel Batt

What is the best thing that I love about my work?

The variety, I generally work one of two ways – on a client brief or self initiated projects, I have had some quite diverse clients, many with different needs and my own self initiated projects are often in different areas.

What is my idea of perfect happiness?

It has to be spending time with friends and family by or on the sea. I grew up by the sea in Lymington on the South coast of England so I miss it if I am ever landlocked for too long.

What is my greatest fear?

Wasting time, it’s good in a way because it motivates me and helps me to focus.

And to have regrets, so if I’m faced with making difficult decision I say to myself will I regret this? It helps me get the idea out of my head and think about it like you might solve any problem.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?

Impatience – I guess there’s a balance to be had, too patient and you can lack drive or urgency but some things take months and years to achieve so you simply have to keep at it. I have to work at it though.

Which living persons in my profession do I most admire?

Terence Conran has achieved so much, and he’s always been very unconventional in that many of the now obvious design professions didn’t really exist before his time, he’s part designer, part businessman and no doubt a huge foodie before that term was even coined. He has a great eye and great taste and you can’t teach taste. Taste is something you start to develop as a child without you even knowing it and so I reckon he must have had an interesting upbringing.

I did work experience at The Conran Shop buying office when I was studying my Bachelors degree and then worked in The Conran Shop on Fulham Rd in London whilst doing my Masters. I met some great characters then as customers but also colleagues, There were a lot of other creatives working there to fund their studies or passions.

What is my greatest extravagance?

Travel – I travel for work sometimes, mostly in Europe and I always feel energised exploring new places.

My mother always wanted to travel and didn’t really get the opportunity like my generation has so it’s something I really appreciate.

On what occasion would I lie?

I’m English and we’re not so direct so I think we tell a lot of white lies because we’re conditioned to be too polite that it stops us being honest.

I generally try to avoid and questions about it.

It’s what I love about the Netherlands, no bullshit.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?

The time it takes to get new clients, I am not a natural networker so it takes more energy.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work?

This last year which has also been my first year in Amsterdam has been great, it’s been challenging financially as it’s been quieter on the freelance side but I have been able to focus a lot on a new start up.

If I could, what would I change about myself?

I’d love to be better at selling… we all have to do it and you can’t be too good at it.

What is my greatest achievement in work?

Simply staying in business, it’s been hard freelancing in my industry.

Where would I most like to live?

I have been thinking about Portugal a lot these last few years but I love Amsterdam and the Netherlands. Both have open, honest and friendly people and that’s really important to me.

What is my most treasured possession?

My Red Wing carpenters boots, they’re old and a bit battered but very comfy and pretty indestructible. A good friend got me into them and now they’re the one item I know I will always own a pair of. They can be completely resoled which is great so you don’t need to break a new pair in and I never liked  brand new looking shoes anyway.

What is my most marked characteristic?

I don’t think that’s something you can see in yourself, you would have to ask my friends and family.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city?

Any of the brown cafes, I love stopping in a new one but the ones in Jordaan are probably my favourite.

They feel like they’ve not changed in a 100 years and I love that link to the past, they’re down to earth and stuck in time which is why they’re so charming.

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city?

De Reiger in Jordaan is great for food – we go there with friends as it’s quite traditional and a bit away from the main tourist areas.

What books influenced my life and how?

Our mother read us all the C.S Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia books when we were kids, I think they really fuelled my imagination at a time when anything felt possible. I am a firm believer that in order to create something you need to first have a vision for it so the imagination is key to creativity in my eyes.

Who are my favourite writers?

I don’t read much but one of my favourite books is – A Voyage for Madmen, by Peter Nicholls.

It’s the true story of the 1968 Golden Globe Race, a non-stop single handed yacht race around the world and the first of it’s kind.

Some incredibly brave people, some naively stupid too but all courageous to even give it a go. I once sailed across the Atlantic Ocean with my brothers and that made me respect them even more, this was in 2009 with all the modern GPS navigation equipment.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?

I love the decades mixes by Flight Facilities, it could be a run through of my life in music until the last song.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?

Batman, mostly because of my surname and I was called it at school but I also like the fact he’s just a smart regular guy who’s tough and doesn’t have superpowers. Which is attainable for most people if you train hard.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?

My siblings – we are all incredibly close and supportive of one another.

Which movie would I recommend to see once in a lifetime?

Goodbye Lenin. It’s got a great soundtrack and the backdrop of the film is the Berlin wall coming down / end of the Soviet Union and as kid it felt really exciting after so many years of the cold war.

What role plays art in my life and work?

Art has no doubt moved culture on in general which can only be a good thing. I don’t feel it directly influences my work but maybe from afar it does.

‘Art’ is so broad and so it’s a tricky question to pin down what it even means these days.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?

Maria my partner and my siblings.

Whom would I like to work with in 2020?

Some local manufacturers in Europe that want to bring sustainable products to market. Being close to the production and to your local customer base has lots of benefits but economics have made it harder and harder in recent years and customers are used to cheaper throwaway items. My Mum always said ‘buy cheap buy twice’ and it’s phrase I stick too also.

I’d also like to collaborate with people in other fields that seem unrelated on the face of it – more for the experience than anything else.

Which people in my profession would I love to meet in 2020?

Just some nice down to earth people.

What project, in 2020, am I looking forward to work on?

I’ve been working with a new partner in London, Sam Hagger, we have a new lighting collection we want to explore and feel there’s some potential with it so that will be fun to start in the Spring.

Where can you see me or my work in 2020?

We have some new products launching at Ambiente in Frankfurt in early February and then also an as yet undecided coffee show in March / April.

Instagram – ‘‘, we have a new website launching in the Spring too, also

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?

I feel lucky that I’ve found a few things I am very passionate about, so I can’t imagine ever not feeling passionate about something.

I can get passionate about small stuff like my next meal or the weekend so maybe I am just easily pleased.

Which creative heroes should Peter invite to tell their story?

I have a good friend Bastian Tolhuis who’s a true creative and I think he would be a good recommendation.

How can you contact me?

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