Back to our monthly "By Invitation Only" post under the helm of Marsha Harris of Splenderosa. Frankly, it is a gorgeous sunday morning, I am still totally sore from kayaking with my sons all day Saturday, and have little in me to address any deep heavy topic. I am getting ready to go to Maisons et Objets in Paris, to check out anything new and interesting, so I feel a design theme is in order.
My first recollection of design is a little blurry but I recall a very specific episode when the family house was redone, refurbished, out with all the beautiful antiques, in came in the new design furniture. New houses were built on our family compound to accommodate guests, with daring open floorplans and furniture that even in my then very young age, I would qualify as hideous, with strange configurations. I missed the old huge armoires in which I would hide during games of hide and seek, the creaking floors, the stone fireplaces... My family had embraced the new age of the fifties. Our guest house was designed by a french architect, very much inspired by Saarinen's Miller House
Icon architect of the 50's: Eero Saarinen
image from Moderndesign.org
Interior of the house with its sunken living room
Image from Galerie Patrick Seguin , Paris
One of my favorite piece by Charlotte Perriand, single bed 1956-59
Image from Galerie Patrick Seguin
Let's move on to the 60's
Let's move on to the 60's
As an adult, it took me a while to warm up to the 60's style, as a child, these were my very first years in nursery school and "cours preparatoire" when I started to learn how to read and write. I have been an avid reader ever since, never without a book by my side. The 60's brought us innovative materials and furniture, moulded plastics, bright primary colors, an introduction to the age of space discoveries.
Escher-Saarinen Hyperdimensional Transport Terminal
photo by Sam Rohn
image via Flicker
Most recognizable icon of the 60's: Panton's Chair a one piece cantilevered design has been in production since 1967
My favorite 60's pieces whose re-editions I use in my design projects: Saarinen Tulip table and Norman Cherner 's chairs
70's.. Catholic boarding school, became a little rebellious, learned how to fly, to drive, wanted more out of life, wanted to see more, wanted more adventures, wanted to escape the normality of french bourgeoisie, in the last year of that decade I moved to London, then to school in Boston.
Icon of that decade: Pierre Cardin
His famous Palais des Bulles, designed by architect Antii Lovag with its thousand portholes was built in 1975 and constantly evolving until 1989. It recalls of the Jetsons cartoons age, but to pierre Cardin this house evoked the sensuality of the woman's body.
image: Ken Sparks photography
image: Ken Sparks
The good old 80's...these 10 years are a blurr...business school, parties, falling in love...marriage...my first house, a 1668 saltbox my husband and I restored. I fell in love with American history, the William and Mary style. Meanwhile the world of design brought us the do-it-yourself spirit, as well as the London based designers Tom Dixon and Ron Arad. The flamboyant kitsch post-modernist was brought to us by Ettore Scottsass from Milan and France gave us Philippe Starck.
This period of furniture design focuses primarily on the industrial sector.
This is the age of shopping malls, restaurants, hotels are starting to pay attention to design. Perforated metal became very popular.
La Pyramide du Louvres by IM Pei, the most controversial architectural project ever. France was in an uproar!
image via Flick
Tom Dixon armchairs
Example of what I view as bad 80's design...lots of black bathrooms, kitchens with not much appeal
In the nineties, I was involved in the world of fashion , traveling constantly between Europe and the US.I was, however spending more time reading interior design magazines than fashion magazine. When the opportunity arised, I grabbed it and Interieurs started.
Italian designs flooded the US market and contemporary Italian showrooms opened throughout the country, B and B, Minotti to name a few.
Meanwhile american interior designers were still draping their interiors in chintz, styles were mixed, from traditional english, anything Louis french, contemporary italian. Our store Interieurs brought in a new, curated approach to the New York retail scene and we started our own trends, from French distressed country furniture to sophisticated parisian style in ebonised woods.
The new age of minimalism affected drastically architecture and design.
And now we enter the new millennium. I feel that this millennium celebrates designers. The designer creates his or her own style. They become celebrities and clients hire a designer for their particular look. I would name just a few, Amy Lau, Vincente Wolf, Steven Gambrel, Clodagh, Chritian Liaigre, Aurelien Gallet.... the list is quite long.
It all brings back to CYCLES... some of the highest prices fetched at international auctions are mid-century, such as pieces by Jean Prouve and Charlotte Perriand. The fifties, the sixties are re-introduced in our present decade.
Life is a cycle, life and death, ice age and warming cycles. the importance is how to embrace the cycles, re-energized the best of a period.
I will end with a few images of my latest projects which best reflect my design and life philosophy... perfect imperfection.