Selecting an art piece for your home is a personal experience says Jérôme Touchard of YellowKorner. The Managing Partner of the limited edition art photography boutique in ION Orchard says that “like everything in life, you have to select what you love.”
You are struck by the looming presence of magnificent creatures when you walk into the boutique. A massively grand black-and-white image of a lion in repose, by photographer Laurent Baheux, hangs on a wall.
Touchard, a former patron of YellowKorner, discovered the boutique 18 years ago, as a business student.
No surprises why Touchard has chosen that to be prominently displayed in the consultation area in the gallery. Clients are seated on a comfortable Italian sofa where they are given a vantage point of the store. The walls are lined with still life, nature, and cultural moments, which the boutique carries worldwide.
Touchard, a former patron of YellowKorner, discovered the boutique 18 years ago, as a business student at IPAG Business School in Paris. “I had a small flat and I needed to decorate it,” he said.
He admits that he felt that he was “less intimidated” by process of purchasing a piece of art as he walked into the boutique.
The goal of YellowKorner when it first began in 2006, was to “democratise art photography and make it more accessible to people.” Their limited edition photo prints, are available in five sizes, to suit rooms of varying dimensions. The goal of the boutique, was to bring beautiful photographs to the masses without a hefty price tag.
YellowKorner now features over 250 photographers of various backgrounds in their galleries worldwide. All photographers are selected by an artistic committee made up of experts in the field of photography. Notable names featured at the boutiques include Arno Elias who is famous for his images of Cara Delevingne in the “I am not a trophy” campaign back in 2016.
Customers can select and purchase the images online, or at any YellowKorner boutique. Touchard also accommodates reservations for those not firm on choices. Yet should the piece be sold out, you will not be able to find another image at any of the 90 galleries worldwide — no matter the amount you are willing to part with. This is about providing clients with a “limited edition experience” as he describes it.
Each print come in five sizes: classic, large, giant, collector and exception; each in a numbered quantity in a price range of S$79 for a classic to S$9,800 for an exception print.
Touchard shared apart from the ease of purchasing the printed images, it is the quality that has clients coming back for more. All images are printed on photographic paper in a sterile laboratory located in Zeinberg. The images are then mounted on aluminium and sealed behind an acrylic plexiglass.
The acrylic glass amplifies the intensity of the image and colours. The effect makes it clear that a normal glass would simply provide you with an underwhelming experience. Apart from bringing out the beauty of the images, the acrylic glass also protects the prints from natural elements.
Conventional pictures when framed tend to age and yellow when exposed to Singapore’s temperature and humid environment. Sealed behind the acrylic glass, the images are protected and given a longer lifespan.
“I will never select a piece for the customer. [The client] need to be the one making the final decision.”
Jérôme Touchard, managing partner of YellowKorner
“There is a huge difference in terms of the temperature at home, throughout the day…after a few years it will look crumpled and dotted as well due to the humidity,” says Touchard. “With this technique, the photography will last a few decades.”
The Selection Process
Since YellowKorner opened in Singapore five years ago, they have seen distinct differences in what European and Asian clients look for. “People are more attracted to nature, animals and urban photos,” he commented when asked about the preferences of Singaporean clients. “They are looking for something peaceful and quiet.”
“They have different tastes, different backgrounds and different spending power,” he adds. Touchard and his staff regularly advise on purchases based on their future interiors and settings.
Touchard stands firm on one point though: “I will never select a piece for the customer. You [the client] need to be the one making the final decision…You are going to see the photo and live with it every day”.
His advice to clients is to build the design of the home or room around the art piece where possible. “Most of the time people work on the design, and they select the art piece, and then it becomes more difficult for them to select the right art piece.”
He also stresses that clients follow their instinct. “You will know almost instantly when you like a photo.”
Those unable to decide on the perfect size can also rely on YellowKorner’s art simulation service where the options are imposed on a picture of the space. The process gives clients a better idea of what the image will look like in their home. “They may be torn between two or three photos, so we do an art simulation for them and then it’s easier for them to make a choice.”
The Origin Story
His knowledge of art and what works well in a space does not come from extensive training in the field. After a decade working for big international companies such as American Express, Touchard found himself searching for a new venture. “I was brainstorming on a few ideas, and I was amazed by the (YellowKorner) concept.”
He saw the collaboration with YellowKorner as the “perfect combination of work and passion” given his love for photography as a child.
Touchard contacted YellowKorner’s founders, Alexandre de Metz and Paul-Antoine Briat, when he discovered a gap in the Asian market. Together with his Singapore-based business partner, they finalised their first location after much strategising.
“We chose Singapore because the arts scene is booming,” said the 36-year-old Frenchman. He added, “It’s a small country compared to Philippines, Indonesia or China.”
The venture into Singapore has been a success and Touchard says that it in two years, YellowKorner may have its own exhibition space or even a second store outside of ION Orchard.