Monday, August 22, 2016

Luxury Wood Panels by Tabarka Studio

Arizona-based tile company Tabarka Studio has just released a new collection of engineered French oak parquet panels called Orly, which is based on the design of vintage luggage (ahem...Vuitton?). Each large scale panel (26" x 26") has some kind of brass detail so that when the tiles are placed together, they create a marvelous edge reminiscent of the strapping on steamer trunks. They are listed as flooring material but really, there's no reason why they couldn't be used on a, say, a powder room for a unique, high-impact look!

This feature in September's Elle Decor shows what an installation of panels side by side will look like:

Happy designing!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Salty Wings For Your Walls

I really prefer to use original art in my designs. Ready made or factory art can be so uninspired. But Michael Goetze and Jampal Williamson, the amazing photographers behind the fine art company Salty Wings have hit upon a beautiful product. They photograph the coastline and beaches high above Western Australia via drone cameras and sell their gorgeous results on their website. The images seem like lovely, contemplative abstract paintings--the color palette of the blues and tans is just lovely--and can come framed or unframed and in a variety of sizes. I am itching to put a large-format version of one of these beauties in a clients' house. And I think I have a current client who would love them (hey CH, I'll be showing these to you very soon)!

Happy designing!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Know Your Chairs: The Elda

For this installation of Know Your Chairs, I want to share with you a marvelous chair I have loved for decades.

Created in 1963 by Italian artist and product/furniture designer Joe Colombo, the Elda chair is a classic known only to a few. Not as popular as other pieces of furniture from the Mid Century, such as the Barcelona chair or the Tulip chair, the Elda is both puzzling and inviting. A hard shell of fiberglass (one of the first such pieces of furniture to incorporate the material) on the outside protects a soft leathered inside, shaped and contoured into puffy rectangular tubes. While Colombo took his cue for the exterior from the hull of boats, there is something almost organic about the interior upholstery configuration, like intestines.

Designer Joe Colombo with sketches for his Elda chair

Even now, the chair's object-oriented quality makes it a fascinating addition to an interior plan. It looks retro, it looks modern, it looks soft and cushy, it looks shiny and sleek. Originals are highly sought after and can cost up to $10,000. Considering that the Elda is on display at both the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan and at the Louvre in Paris, it is small wonder the chair can be so pricey.

Here is the Elda chair in a luxuriously minimalist living room by Portuguese interior designer Cristina Jorge de Carvalho.

This next image is from the home of vintage furniture collector Catherine Bujold...and it segues nicely into my next point:

The Elda chair was featured heavily on an English science fiction television show from the 70s called "Space: 1999" starring Martin Landau. It took place in the future when mankind had established a colony on the moon, Moonbase Alpha. The set designer utilized lots of great 60s and 70s Italian furniture and lighting since it all appeared so futuristic at the time... and it still does. Below are some screen shots of the chair in various episodes.

And more recently, the Elda was featured in "The Hunger Games," again, for the reason that the chair looks like it has yet to be invented!

Thankfully the Elda is still in production through Italian furniture manufacturer Longhi. I'd love to have one in my own home. If you'd love one too, give me a call!

Happy designing!

Monday, August 1, 2016

The Mid-Century Starburst

Back in March of this year, I published a month-long series of posts about Mid-Century Modern design. I started the month with a post about George Nelson Associates clock designs in which I mentioned the iconic starburst pattern. The post-war years saw a lot of change. The end of World War II was brought about in part by atomic bombs, and the atom and science were now a part of everyday life. "Better Living Through Science," the motto promised. A sudden boom in the middle class meant the explosion of suburbs brimming with open-plan ranch homes to be filled with furniture and products. And many of these products naturally sported the atomic starburst pattern! Dinnerware, glassware, and lamps as well as drapery and upholstery fabrics were peppered with stylized starbursts or stylized atomic models.

And consider also that, at the time, there was a suspenseful race to space: the United States and the USSR were in competition to see who could make it to the stars, and the Soviets won the first round by launching Sputnik 1 to orbit our planet and then later put Yuri Gagrain in orbit, the fist man in space. We were living in the Atomic Age and the Space Age at the same time!

Vintage objects like these, or even reproductions offer a fun, retro moment for interiors! A bar set with the starburst pattern is actually quite current, as is a ceramic lamp with the classic fiberglass shade, seen in the last two images below. Such collectible items can be judiciously mixed in with contemporary interiors...remember Design Mantra #1: "Contrast brings interest!"

Happy designing!

Monday, July 25, 2016

When In Rome!: Five Types Of Roman Shades

If you're thinking of window treatments for your windows, there are so many options, with a myriad of not only drapery styles but also shade styles. As with anything in interior design, there is a whole encyclopedia of terms, forms, and details within the world of shades themselves. Let's take a look at a few of the more common types of Roman shades in particular.

Flat--Consisting of a piece of flat fabric without any pleats, folds, or channels, this type of Roman shade is good for windows where you will not be raising or lowering the shade often. The fact that it does not have any pleats means that the fabric does not fold up neatly or quickly when raised. But a flat Roman shade still provides light control and privacy while bringing color and pattern to a room. And this style in particular lends itself to prints since there are no channels or pleats to interrupt a pattern repeat.

Plain or Pleated--This style is much like a flat Roman but with seams every eight to ten inches to help ease the shade in raising or lowering. As you can imagine, a tight pattern repeat would be interrupted by the seaming. As with any genre of knowledge, nomenclature can vary and I have seen this referred to as a Rear Tucked Roman shade. The Pleated name also can refer to a different type of shade, one we will see a few points down.

Relaxed or European--Here we have another variation of the flat shade but with a drooping center bar at bottom which gives the shade a casual, country appeal. But done with the right fabric, it could also read as extremely elegant.

Hobbled or Soft Fold (I have also seen this style referred to as Teardrop)--This style of Roman shade is made of ripples of soft folds that fall on top of one another, giving the shade dimension and softness. I would advise judicious use of this style as it can look overblown or gaudy depending on material and location.

Knife or Ribbed (I have also seen this style referred to as Slatted)--For this Roman shade, dowels are sewn into pockets every eight to ten inches or so. They can be attached at the rear of the shade so the front has a seam, in which case it is called a Knife or Knife Edge Roman shade. If the dowel pockets are in the front (with seam in the rear), this is generally called a Ribbed Roman shade.

Knife Edge with dowel pockets in rear
Ribbed with dowel pockets in front

Happy designing!

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Yves Klein Table bleue

Frenchman Yves Klein (April 28 1928 – June 6 1962), member of the artistic movement of Nouveau réalisme/ Minimalist/ Performance Artist/ Pop Artist, at first seems an unlikely ally in interior design. Known mostly for his blue paintings and art works (in which he utilized the bodies of naked models as "paint brushes"), Klein actually invented a color with the help of Edouard Adam, a Parisian paint dealer. Klein and Adam discovered that if ultramarine pigment was suspended in a synthetic resin instead of linseed oil, as most pigments were at the time, the color became deeper and more vibrant. The hue to this day is called International Klein Blue.

In 1961, Klein made a sculptural conceptual art piece called Table bleue: a table of stainless steel legs supporting an acrylic box of the International Klein Blue pigment. The artist died of a series of heart attacks in 1962. But starting in 1963, the Yves Klein Estate in Paris has overseen the manufacture of these iconic tables ever since.

Below, we see one in the Manhattan loft of fashion photographer super-duo Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin.

Here is the Klein Table bleue in the Hong Kong home of accessories designer Fiona Kotur.

The dazzling IKB pigment shows up beautifully against the palm wood and brass inlaid walls and fireplace in this London Georgian home by Paolo Moschino for Nicholas Haslam.

In the New York City home of interior design superstars Glenn Pushelberg and George Yabu of Yabu Pushelberg, a Klein table lends color in an otherwise neutral space.

Authentic Yves Klein tables are available in the United States through Artware in New York
or in Paris through Galerie Omagh

Happy designing!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Know Your Sofas: The Lawson

In terms of the history of furniture, the Lawson sofa is a relative latecomer. Created for American businessman, author, and tycoon Thomas W. Lawson at the turn of the 20th century, this sofa features a silhouette simpler than any of its predecessors. Reacting to the Rococo Revival insanity of the Victorians (previously seen here), Lawson wanted something simpler, with comfort in mind. But what was revolutionary about this sofa was the fact that it had loose back and seat cushions. This silhouette has remained intact to this day and the Lawson is pretty much the most popular sofa style. The arms which are lower than the back (unlike a Chesterfield, previously seen here) can come in different versions, like a wide or narrow track, or even a traditional rolled arm--but you will never see a pillowed or overstuffed arm on a Lawson.

Since it is so neutral, there are a few details that can make a Lawson sofa stand out. The type of fabric chosen for upholstery can make the sofa seem sleek (fabrics with sheen or metallic thread) and modern (chenille and nubby fabrics in green tones can invoke a Mid-Century Modern feeling) or traditional (pastels or classic English cabbage rose chintz). A skirt at the bottom (which will hide the legs) can lend a more relaxed, cottage feeling. And finally, a nailhead detail can add some interest (shiny chrome nail heads on a black velvet sofa would make a dramatic, dressy statement!).

Happy Designing!