Monday, September 17, 2018

September Saloom Sale!

For my local Bay Area clients, I am happy to announce the Fiorito Interior Design September Saloom Dining Furniture Sale exclusively featuring handmade pieces from this artisan company located in Massachusetts!

Now is the time to take advantage of the best of exquisite handcrafted Saloom furniture including tables, chairs and benches (wood and upholstered), stools, buffets, credenzas, and hutches! Save 35% off retail prices from one of the most respected furniture manufacturers in the industry.

This sale is for a limited time only!
Orders must be placed before 5PM, Friday September 28, 2018.

Go to Saloom to make your dining furniture choices and either email or phone me (visit my website for contact information) to order and take advantage of this exceptional 35% savings!

Happy designing!

Monday, September 10, 2018

The Textile Designs of Martyn Thompson

Now it's time for you to meet Martyn Thompson.

I feel a bit of kinship with Martyn Thompson. Born in England but raised in Sydney, Australia, the teenaged Martyn was very influenced by glam rock, punk, and especially the New Romantics. In fact, his website bio says, "He was particularly captivated by the aesthetic of Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s subversive early collections and the music of artists such as Siouxsie and the Banshees." I too was entranced with the New Romantics as well as Westwood and McLaren!

Thompson began designing clothes just after leaving university in Sydney in the early ’80s. But after photographing his creations, he discovered it was the photographs people truly responded to: moody settings, natural lighting, and a sense of place that went beyond the frame. He decided to try photography and, essentially self-taught, he ended up shooting for Australian fashion magazines! He moved to Paris to further his career and after three years there, decamped for London where his work morphed from fashion to interiors. Finally, in 1999, he moved to New York City where he now lives and runs Martyn Thompson Studio, photographing campaigns for companies like Jo Malone, Tiffany & Co., Gucci, Hyatt, Ralph Lauren, Grey Goose vodka, Hermès, FLOR, and MAC cosmetics, and creating his own textiles and rugs.

I love his utterly unique, patchwork, frayed look: a bit Georgian (if Mr. Darcy had been clothed by gypsies), and a bit Icelandic gnome, with a sprinkling of 70s funk (I'm in love with his chunky platform shoes!). And look at the red Vivienne Westwood squiggle socks below! You go, hermano!

His textiles are fascinating. He created a jacquard fabric (the design is woven into the fabric itself, previously here) he calls Rock Pool which looks like a view of rocks just below the surface of a shallow sea...

His website shop describes another jacquard, the Accidental Expressionist series:
"Layer upon layer of paint flecks cover this design that beautifully captures the spirit and texture of an artist's drop cloth. The layering of colors gives the fabric a sense of history, a patina developed over time with each new paint speck."

And his floral design Cézanne's Shadow is a tapestry that can be used for pillows, soft goods (one could stitch several together for bedding or drapery), and placed for upholstery.

And he turned the paint-splatter pattern into a rug for Perennials available here!

His on-line shop also has a wonderful selection of bags, totes, pillows, blankets, and scarves. Take a look!

Happy designing!

Monday, September 3, 2018

Legends of Design: David Hicks

For this installment of Legends of Design, we are going to look at British interior and product designer David Nightingale Hicks (1929–1998).

Even though he was working in the advertising world for J. Walter Thompson (still a major player today in marketing and communications), Hicks had an abiding passion for art and design. But it wasn't until 1954 when the British magazine House & Garden featured the London house he decorated (at 22 South Eaton Place) for his mother and himself that his true career was born. Soon he was creating public spaces like restaurants and pubs in early 60s swinging London as well as private residences for the likes of Vidal Sassoon, Helena Rubinstein, Violet Manners (who became the Duchess of Rutland), Mrs. Condé Nast, Mrs. Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., and Lord and Lady Londonderry. He created an apartment for his brother-in-law, film producer Lord Brabourne, and Prince Charles' first apartment at Buckingham Palace, as well as a new house in London for Hicks's father-in-law and a great-grandson of Queen Victoria, Earl Mountbatten (Hicks married Lady Pamela Mountbatten, cousin to Prince Philip, in 1960).

Hicks expressed his taste and style in the freewheeling 60s, a time of social and cultural change. He eschewed traditional spaces and the typically restrained British approach to interiors in favor of unexpected, bright colors and bold patterns. But he did not turn his back completely on tradition and judiciously mixed seemingly clashing antique pieces with modern furnishings and abstract art. The fresh results were something no one had ever seen before in interior design. In his 1968 book DAVID HICKS ON LIVING--WITH TASTE, he said, "My greatest contribution as an interior designer has been to show people how to use bold color mixtures, how to use patterned carpets, how to light rooms, and how to mix old with new." Since there wasn't much available at the time, his pioneering penchant for such colors and patterns forced him to design and create rugs, wallpaper, fabrics, and linens for David Hicks Ltd. which eventually had boutiques in eight countries.

For cosmetics legend Helena Rubenstein, he created a space featuring purple tweed walls and magenta leather upholstery for her Knightsbridge apartment!

Hicks also elaborated on the idea of the "tablescape," a collection and artful arrangement of decorative objects.

David Hicks had three children: Edwina, Ashley who followed in his father's footsteps and is a designer/artist/architect, and India who also kept it in the family by creating a lifestyle brand with four books to her name. Ashley has relaunched interpretations of some of his father's rug designs, but venerable English wallpaper manufacturer Cole & Son stocks the original Hicks' Hexagon paper as well as a larger scaled version called Hicks' Grand!

Happy designing!

Monday, August 27, 2018

Now You Can Sleep On A Masterpiece!

A collaboration between London's National Gallery and English bed-maker Savoir Beds (first created for The Savoy Hotel in London in 1905) has yielded the possibility of sleeping on any piece of artwork in The National Gallery's collection!

Savoir Beds says:
"Adorn a Savoir bed with one of the world’s finest paintings from the prestigious National Gallery in London. In an exclusive collaboration, Savoir Beds and The National Gallery have joined forces to deliver an inspiring approach that takes art in interiors to another level.

Housing over 2300 pieces of art dating from the mid-13th century to the 1900s, The National Gallery showcases paintings by the world’s greatest masters, including Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Monet and Van Gogh. Now Savoir’s clients can create their own masterpiece to treasure. Working closely with our design and upholstery specialists, we can incorporate and customise any National Gallery owned painting.

Once commissioned, the design is specially printed in the UK, by Andrew Martin, using the latest technology on a selection of three fabrics – lustrous velvet, textured linen viscose and versatile cotton. Finished with a bespoke plaque detailing the portrait and artist, every commission will be personally approved by The National Gallery to guarantee the design preserves the essence and integrity of one of the greatest art institutes in the world. The fine art of sleeping beautifully.

A design from our collaboration with one of the world’s greatest art institutes, The National Gallery, this Harlech No 2 features Claude Monet’s, Water-Lilies, Setting Sun. With the vast number of paintings in the National Gallery to consider, Monet was a destined choice, considering our historic connection to the iconic artist. In 1899, 1900 and 1901, he stayed at The Savoy, on a Savoir bed and it is from the fifth floor he would spend his mornings painting the sun rising over London. We’ve worked with the National Gallery closely to apply the artwork to the design, with the calming water lilies in the sunset, flowing from the headboard down to the base in a beautiful velvet specially printed in the UK, by Andrew Martin. The detail is incredible with the brushstrokes in a range of deep purple and rich pink hues, complemented by the simple bed design. Finished with a bespoke plaque detailing the portrait and artist, this bed has been personally approved by The National Gallery.

A design from our collaboration with the prestigious National Gallery, the Felix No 4 features Gherardo di Giovanni del Fora’s, The Combat of Love and Chastity. Part of a series illustrating the ‘Triumphs’ by the poet Petrarch, our design and upholstery specialists worked closely to perfectly incorporate and position the painting on the Savoir Felix design to create maximum impact. This commission is specially printed in the UK, by Andrew Martin, using the latest technology on a luxurious cotton fabric. In this exclusive collaboration, we’ve joined forces with The National Gallery to deliver an inspiring approach that takes art in interiors to another level.

The Felix No 4 with Van de Cappelle’s, A Shipping Scene with Dutch Yacht firing a Salute, is a design from our collaboration with The National Gallery. A painting that is a notable example of a calm seascape with billowing clouds is the perfect scene to be upholstered on to a Savoir bed. Savoir’s skilled design team worked closely with The National Gallery to carefully take elements of the painting and incorporated them in to the Felix design, ensuring the headboard revealed the mood of the scene and the base featuring the calming clouds. The painting has been specially printed in the UK, by Andrew Martin, in a cotton fabric, which shows the minute detail of the painting. Our skilled craftsmen then being their magic, upholstering the headboard, ensuring the exactly placement and hand tapping every nail.

Happy designing!

Monday, August 20, 2018

A Bronze Sheep In Sheep's Clothing

There are many items that are icons or legends in terms of interior design: Pedro Friedeberg's Hand Chair is one, along with the Thonet Chair, the Fornasetti etching of opera singer Lina Cavalieri’s face, and a host of others...but one of the most whimsical and inventive iconic design items is the Lalanne Sheep, created in 1965 by French sculptor François-Xavier Lalanne for the Salon de la Jeune Peinture in Paris.

Although they are now known as the Moutons de Laine, François-Xavier’s bronze sheep sculptures were presented at the Salon de la Jeune Peinture with the title Pour Polytheme, a reference to a passage in Homer’s Odyssey which recounts how Ulysses and his comrades blind the cyclops Polyphemus, and escape from his cave by clinging to the bellies of his giant sheep. Lalanne's work is highly sculptural, owing a debt to Surrealism in its whimsy, and highly functional. His moutons serve as either seats or foot stools! Below you can see Lalanne with his wife Claude, also a sculptress whose surreal whimsical work focuses on the botanical instead of the animal world, lounging on a flock. Claude has been quoted as saying, playfully, "They are not furniture, they are not sculpture--call them 'Lalannes.'"

The realistic cast bronze sheep are covered in sheep skin but Lalanne created outdoor versions where the "wool" is cream colored stone epoxy.

Yves Saint-Laurent was an early patron of Lalanne and collected a flock of sheep to populate his library in the home he shared with his partner Pierre Bergé.

Other designers have collected the sheep over the years. Valentino invested in a flock...

...and a Lalanne sheep can be spotted in this image of Marc Jacobs' home.

If you keep your eyes peeled, you can spot them grazing peacefully in so many homes in shelter magazines.

In case you're wondering, a flock of the outdoor Lalanne sheep went for a record $7.5 million at a Christie's auction in 2011...and original sheep go for just under a million. Just sayin'.

Happy designing!