Antonio Ballatore | Interview

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Antonio Ballatore

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Antonio Ballatore, Interior Designer | Inspiration = Taking Chances

Monday, October 29th, 2012

For Design Bureau's second anniversary issue, we asked eight guest editors a question: What inspires you? In September and October, we’re posting the words and images that demonstrate each of these guest ed's creative passions. Today, we’re featuring interior designer Antonio Ballatore.

Interview by Delia Cai

Antonio is an interior designer, winner of HGTV's Design Star, and star of his own series, The Antonio Treatment.

From the way I live my life to designing now, it’s all about taking these crazy chances. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but I still push forward. 

I grew up in a household that was all about art, all about being creative. My parents never pushed me to go to college. I didn’t even really graduate school. 

When I was young, I started out playing in metal bands, punk rock bands, hardcore bands, and toured a little bit. That’s what I really wanted to do. I kind of fell into design by accident. 

I never picked up a color wheel in my life. I never went to interior design school. I never took any classes. 

I consider LaChappelle the Andy Warhol of my era. Working with a guy like that —he would get pissed at people, but he would never get pissed at me. Only when I didn’t take a chance, only when I was not pushing it enough.

Doing set design for so many years brings imagination for the things you do. How many people can say they built an 18-foot rocket ship or a hand for Madonna to sit in?

I like to be like the anti-designer. I like to be more of a creator than a designer. I’ll build a car, I’ll do autowork, I’ll build a house. 

Throughout my whole life I’ve always taken these chances, and just said ‘Fuck it’ and gone for it. 

Ballatore likes bling, and he isn’t afraid to bring it into his own designs, even if it's a fireplace. “Antonio had us build a custom stainless steel fascia for the guitar player of a famous metal band,” says Jonathan Burlingham, President of Starfire Direct, a bespoke fireplace design company. “We custom fabricated 304 stainless steel fascia with hundreds of little two-inch studs that installed individually to give it that ‘Rock Star’ look.” Burlingham refused to give up the rocker’s name, but thanks to his craftsmanship and Ballatore’s outrageous design, the fireplace inside definitely lives up to the rock 'n' roll attitude.

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