BEAU RHEE is a designer & artist. She founded ATELIER DE GESTE in New York after completing her MFA at the Haute école d'art et de design (University of Art & Design) in Geneva, Switzerland in 2012. The studio launched its first designs in fall of 2013, meanwhile continuing performance explorations. AdG is a synthesis of her artistic vision, contemporary art & fashion background, and Swiss design training. She is trilingual, fluent in English, Korean and French.
Rhee's choreographic work has been exhibited internationally, including at X-Initiative/DIA, Exit Art, PS1/MoMA (NY), Musée d'art et d'histoire, Musée Ariana, St Valentin Espace d'Arts, la Maison Blanche de le Corbusier, Kunsthaus Baselland (Switzerland). She has guest lectured at the Swiss Master Symposium for the Arts, Parsons School of Design and the ICP/Bard MFA program. Her pieces are in prestigious private collections such as the Sacklers and Art Observed.
The flare for "geste" started young, as she was an avid dancer & jazz pianist throughout childhood in Boston. In college, she studied Art History & Dance at Barnard College/Columbia University, graduating with distinction and cum laude. She went on to an apprenticeship at Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company & gained work experience as a research associate at an int'l commercial art fair in Chelsea and as a visual/production manager at a fashion showroom in Fashion District.
ATELIER DE GESTE (The Gesture Studio) is a studio creating scents, limited edition designs and performances. Founder Beau Rhee informs AdG creations with body & movement research linked to her dance background. Since our début, we have been featured in publications such as British Vogue, Elle, Coolhunting, among others.
I saw humming bird...dancing in the wind...
Was growing up was scent a large part of your life?
Yes, all around me. Coffee in the morning, Korean spices in the kitchen during lunch and dinner, my father’s collection of colognes and potions in the bathroom, the aroma of grass and gardens in the summer.
How do you think that smell in general, affects the growth of a child into a adult?
Smell is directly linked to the limbic system of the brain; thus, scents are instrumental in stamping foundational memories of spaces and places. I will never forget the smell of my first dance studio, dad’s lab, my first real perfume, horses, icy parking lot. I remember these scents in a primal way. Children are very instinctive and quick, but adults lose intimacy to smell as we get older. Our society privileges visual, digital and textual stimulation to olfaction.
What is your background and how did you begin working within the fragrance world?
I came to olfaction and scent through my M.F.A. program at the Haute école d’art et de design de Genève (University of Art & Design). In the program, I focused on Applied Arts & Design, and I was encouraged to explore the connection between my background in dance and scent design. I thought they were similar: ephemeral, temporal art forms that had a visceral effect on the viewer/wearer/audience. A small historic perfumery in Grasse encouraged me to start research and understudy.
Tell us about your work and your brand?
Atelier de Geste is a New York-based studio that I direct, now almost 3 years old. The studio works at the intersection of design, art, and performance. The work merges gestural and body-space concepts with physical, tactile objects and pieces. ADG produces commercial design such as limited edition scents, design objects, bespoke garments, and painted textiles. I have also worked on custom projects & commissions for clients. Movement, Color & Geometry are motifs that create a dialogue between ephemeral gestures & materials. Many of the pieces are originally designed for the mise en scène of performance (sets, scents, costumes, allegorical objects). Hors-cadre, the pieces take a life of their own and create a sense of ritual, motion or rhythm. The studio takes sustainability and design-for-good seriously in creation & production. The studio has shown work at NYC Design Week/Sight Unseen, the Hammer Museum LA, Baryshnikov Arts Center, White Box NY, Maison Blanche de le Corbusier, Kunsthaus Baselland. ADG has been featured in publications such as British Vogue and Coolhunting, among others, and had the honor of being nominated for the Art & Olfaction Awards.
BLOOD SWEAT TEARS
What are your thoughts on how the fragrance industry is changing?
There is a growing interest in scent, simply because most of us in contemporary life deeply lack sensorial stimulus. I think the consumer base of niche/artisan perfumes and scent, in general, is growing, as people find it rewarding to awaken their sense of smell in unexpected ways. I am excited by the growing interest in olfaction as an art form (a key example is Saskia’s Institute and the recent fair at the Hammer Museum) and the growing opportunities in art & design for explorations in smell.
How does background or culture play a large role in your work?
I come to all design (scent, textile, garment, object) with the perspective of a choreographer and dancer. Movement, proportion, time, gravity, phrasing. These are my innate references. I studied Art History in college and it is well known that have a profound admiration for artist/designers such as Sonia Delaunay, Eileen Gray…to name a couple of main role models. I love seeing what is out there in contemporary culture, especially in art and design. I am always going to exhibitions in NYC and scanning articles, to stay informed and aware of what is going on now. Dialogues in mainstream culture and my family culture undoubtedly have formed my mind and my life, but I wouldn’t say it directly influences the work. Maybe in deep subconscious choices that only a psychoanalyst would know
THE GOOD EARTH
What would be your favourite smell?
So basic, but probably coffee in the morning. I love the smell of all woods, freshly cut or cedar. Fireplaces burning. My favorite perfumery smell at the moment has to be vetiver which is in Stones. Obsessed with it at the moment.
Where can we purchase your scents?
Twisted Lily in Brooklyn, www.twistedlily.com Indigo Perfumery in Cleveland, www.indigoperfumery.com W Ming Art Gallery, www.wmingart.com www.atelierdegeste.com, In NYC, also available at the CFDA Retail Lab space with Timo Weiland at 330 Hudson Street, 11am-7pm all week long Various online sites: Olfactif.com, Scent Trunk, Parfum Abo in Europe
At the moment fragrance is a artform, how do you feel about arts in all forms to the importance in the life of a person.
The arts at their best have the capacity to awaken our vision, spirit, and intellect and to fight the mundane entropy of life. The best artists have always seen something unique and shown us their vision in their life’s work.
How would you describe your work?
Gestural, colorful, ritual, alive!
Is there anything else that you would like to say?
I am becoming more and more passionate about the impact of sourcing, materials, labor and farming in relation to all design, and in regards to perfumery. Blues is my latest limited edition scent that was created using solely sustainable sourced and farmed essences. I think a greater part of my future mission is to further integrate sustainability in every level of design, creation, and production.