Monday, October 27, 2014

Know Your Chairs: The Panton Chair

Aside from vivid, vibrant, psychedelic interiors in the 60s and 70s, Verner Panton created quite an array of mind-bogglingly modern seating in his years as a designer. But none of them can surpass the popularity of the eponymously titled Panton chair.

The deliberate sensuality of the curvy, S-shape keeps the design from being sterile. Created from a single piece of molded plastic, the chair is stackable and, of course, quite durable.

Of course they look good in a sleek, modern setting, but they also look good mixed in with vintage pieces. Remember Design Mantra #1, "Contrast brings interest."

Above: Design, styling, and photography by Emily McCall. Photo used by permission.

Black Panton chair lurking behind the table...

The iconic has inspired modifications and other designers as well.

St. Bartlomiej Church in the Czech Republic was designed by Maxim Velcovsky and Jakub Berdych from Qubus Studio and features Panton chairs instead of pews!

The Him and Her chair by Fabio Novembre was inspired by Panton. It's a logical extension of the sunsuous form.

Vitra UK's National Panton Chair Competition in 2010 asked designers and architects to modify or reimagine the Panton chair. First place went to Jump Studios for their highly conceptual (and non-functioning) design of a hollowed the Panton chair strungt with fishing line.

Although Verner Panton died in 1998, there is an online museum of his work at:
His interiors are amazing and look like sets from sci-fi films in the 70s.

And of course his chairs can still be purchased through:
Vitra, the company that originally produced the chair and
Design Within Reach

Happy designing!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Bunk Beds

Sometimes family head count or space dictates that children share a bedroom. And often said bedrooms can't afford the floor space for separate beds so a great solution is the classic bunk bed. Here are some stylish and fun configurations for bunk beds. Most of these photos show four beds--clearly for adults in summer cottage situations (what a delightful, convivial way to cram a lot of weekend guests into a smaller space!)--but there is no reason why these ideas could not work for two in a regular home setting.

Happy designing!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Hotel du Pantheon

The Hôtel du Panthéon in Paris last year completed a total renovation with rooms designed by interior designer Valérie Manoïl.

According to the Hôtel du Panthéon's website, each one of the newly renovated guest rooms "celebrate the great women of France, the ones who dared, the ones who loved, those with passion, those that decided their destiny - free, independent women. Valérie Manoïl’s project was not to imagine a literal retelling of their life stories, but to use them as the inspiration for sumptuous interiors that would evoke the past. Through a subtle mix of contemporary creations and original period furniture, the 35 rooms on 6 floors all have feminine influences, some obvious, some subtle…

Les Cocottes
The flamboyant ‘cocottes’, the high-class escorts of the 19th century, including Valtesse de la Bigne

Edith Piaf and Marcel Cerdan
The love affair of Edith Piaf and Marcel Cerdan in the 1950s, with its very particular design

George Sand and Alfred de Musset
The house of George Sand, of a more classic style, and the passage from the 18th to 19th century

Juliette Gréco and Miles Davis
Juliette Gréco, as the starting point for a choice of graphic fabrics that evoke the jazz of Saint-Germain in the 1940s

The Signares
The ‘Signares’, French-African women from French Senegal in the 18th and 19th centuries, referenced in a joyous melting pot of contemporary and traditional African influences

Marguerite Duras and l'Amant
Marguerite Duras’ emblematic novel 'l'Amant,' giving rise to silky, colourful, refined interiors"

Indeed, the furnishings and especially the wallpaper and fabrics specified by Manoïl are eye-popping. I can't decide if I want to stay in a Piaf/ Cerdan room or one of the Signares rooms...

Marguerite Duras and l'Amant

Edith Piaf and Marcel Cerdan

George Sand and Alfred de Musset

Juliette Gréco and Miles Davis



Marguerite Duras and l'Amant


Les Cocottes

There is a marvelous Tumblr page dedicated to the women themselves, with historical photos and informative but brief text. Visit it to see Valérie Manoïl's mood-board inspiration!

And if you are going to be in Paris, visit their website for reservations.

Happy designing!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Cabin Style

Autumn is here... time to hibernate! If you are lucky enough to have a cabin in the woods to retreat to, most likely you are familiar with the classic cabin style which uses a lot of wood and stone. Exposed log beams, river rock fireplaces, and rustic lanterns give an authentic vibe.

But a cabin doesn't have to mean "roughing it." Here are some luxury cabins that bring style to the great outdoors. The wood and stone may remain, but the addition of select antiques, sumptuous draperies, or contemporary and comfortable furnishings elevates the humble cabin into a different experience!

And a cabin can even incorporate modern elements as evidenced by this sleek bathroom. The minimalist lighting and smooth ceramic vessel sink are marvelous contrasts to the wood floor and walls.

If you'd like to bring the cabin feel to your space, give me a call! A little wood and a little stone...

Happy designing!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Fabric: Toile de Jouy

Toile de Jouy was originally produced in Ireland in the mid 1700s, but jumped from the island to England and to France where it was dubbed "Toile de Jouy," which literally means "cloth from Jouy-en-Josas," a town in northern France. Christophe-Philippe Oberkampf moved to Jouy-en-Josas and started a factory there in 1759, which produced the now eponymous "toile de Jouy." Thanks to advances in wood block printing in the 18th century, the cotton fabric, and subsequent wallpaper (there are many other applications for this pattern) consists of printed self-contained, repeated scenes of historical figures or landscapes inspired from true stories, novels, operas, or legends. This type of patterned fabric was eventually produced in other areas of France and other countries, yet the name remains.

Toile is a fabric that garners either love or loathing. The traditional application is to put toile on everything in sight, which can be perceived as fun and textural, or oppressive and fussy, depending upon one's history and aesthetic outlook. Since toile usually consists of a small-to-medium-ish repeating pattern, the effect can be a little overwhelming. But taken in a design context, it can be seen as an historical reference, or as more of a statement than a stuffy affectation.

If toile seems too Marie-Anottoinette-via-your-Grandma's house, there are some wild and wonderful modern takes on toile de jouy. Check out the "toile de jouy de Manhattan" as well as the "toile de jouy de-what-looks-like-Kansas" designed by Wendren Setzer below!

New York City based interior designer and television personality Sheila Bridges designed a Harlem toile. She states, "Harlem toile de Jouy tells a rich yet satirical story about African American life through the often distorted lens of the media. I designed it to remind people of many of the stereotypes that have historically been and continue to be associated with African Americans living in rural parts of the country as well as urban areas like Harlem." Pretty and provoking!

The Brooklyn Toile is from Flavor Paper and features scenes and characters one might encounter in that particular borough such as Coney Island, the subway, and Hasidic Jews. It was designed by Vincent J. Ficarra and Adela Qersaqi from an idea by Mike Diamond of The Beastie Boys.

And as we have seen in a past post about the wallcovering manufacturer Timorous Beasties here, the Scottish company has made their own London-themed toile (you can clearly see the Gherkin, St. Paul's, and The Eye).

But you don't have to use a modern, tongue-in-cheek toile to achieve a modern look. Used judiciously, toile can be incorporated into any style. It can reference the past without being archaic.

The Toile de Jouy museum is located in Jouy and maintains a marvelous historical archive of patterns and fabrics. If you find yourself in the vicinity, consider visiting!

Stay tuned for a fantastic wallpaper post next month in which I will feature a Scottish company creating some outlandish, modern toiles!
In the meantime, happy designing!