Baptistin Spade was born in Marseille on March 13, 1891. From 1905 to 1908, he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Marseille. He settled in Paris in 1908, where he continued to study drawing, painting, and sculpture. In 1910, he modestly established himself as a decorator, gradually setting up his own workshops for cabinetmaking, tapestry, and design.
Over his already long and fulfilling career, Spade has undertaken significant projects in the fields of interior architecture and furniture for private clients in Paris, the provinces, and abroad, including Belgium, Switzerland, North and South America. He has also designed offices for major shipping, insurance, and banking companies. Concurrently, Spade has worked with the Mobilier National, creating furniture for various ministries and executing larger ensembles for the Ministries of Labor, Merchant Marine, Posts and Telecommunications, and Finance, as well as playing a role in the installation of French embassies in Warsaw and Ottawa.
Furthermore, Spade has collaborated in decorating and furnishing around thirty ocean liners for companies like Compagnie Générale Transatlantique, Navigation Mixte, and Paquet, as well as the Société Générale des Transports Maritimes, among others. His projects include the first-class dining room for the "De Grasse," first-class and cabin dining rooms and the Chief Commissioner's apartment for the "Ile de France," the first-class grand salon and music and bridge salons for the "Liberté," the smoking room, lido, and first-class swimming pool, as well as the grand staircase and luxury apartments for the "Flandre," and various ensembles for the "Ville d'Alger" and the "Ville de Tunis." He also designed first-class interiors for the "Kairouan," "Lyautey," and "El Djezair" ocean liners.
Spade believes that France is a country with a great tradition, taste, and technical expertise in all fields of art, especially in cabinetmaking and decoration. He emphasizes the importance of staying faithful to these solid foundations and drawing essential constructive and ornamental themes from them while adapting to new conditions and the styles of our time. Although Spade himself remains a painter for personal pleasure, he values quality and unique furniture. However, he also addresses more modest and currently necessary design challenges due to the limited space of apartments and the restricted number of rooms.
He has always had a preference for light woods, particularly rift-cut ash, but he also willingly employs walnut and rosewood, which he tries to soften through the judicious use of colors, fabrics, drapes, tapestries, and carpets, for which he designs the models. Whenever possible, he incorporates new materials, but he tends to use lacquer, especially for luxury ensembles, adorned with touches of gold, either plain or engraved, for wall coverings and certain pieces of furniture.
Spade often calls upon the collaboration of contemporary masters of decorative art, who contribute to the sumptuousness and refinement of the decorative ensembles he orchestrates.
Sources : Mobilier et Decoration N°1 de 1954