Mar. 31

 

Revivals: A Surprising New Trend at the 2014 Architectural Digest Home Show

by Lynn Byrne

Art Deco Revival piece created by Virginia Blanchard

Art Deco Revival vanity and stool created by Virginia Blanchard

Furniture revivals, perhaps undeservingly, often have a negative connotation.  Some folks recall with distaste the overblown styles of  Renaissance Revival, Rococo Revival and Gothicl Revival furniture that appeared during the late Victorian period.   Then there is at the rife amount of Duncan Phyfe look-alikes which muddy the waters for some who are trying to purchase a true federal period antique. These pieces, now known as Centennial furniture, first surfaced to celebrate our nation’s centennial anniversary which occurred around the same time as the Victorian Revivals.

Victorian parlor installed at the Brooklyn Museum of Art

Victorian parlor installed at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Just. too. much.

A tour around the aisles at this year’s Architectural Digest Home Show indicates that we are in the midst of a new period of revivals.   Handcrafted furniture in the  Biedermeier,  Art Nouveau,  Art Deco, and even Victorian style were all on display.  

Woodworker Virginia Blanchard, who happens to hail from my town of Pelham, showed a striking Art Nouveau screen, complete with whiplash curve decoration. (If you need a refresher course on furniture from the Art Nouveau period, head over to this Design Dictionary).

Screen in the Art Nouveau Style created by Virginia Blanchard

Screen in the Art Nouveau Style created by Virginia Blanchard

Detail  showing whiplash curve from an Art Nouveau style screen created by Virginia Blanchard

Detail showing whiplash curve from an Art Nouveau style screen created by Virginia Blanchard

Virginia also showed this gorgeous jewelry box with inlays and a stepping detail characteristic of the Art Deco period.

Art Deco Revival jewelry box created by Virginia Blanchard (top) compared to a period Art Deco jewelry box (bottom)

Art Deco Revival jewelry box created by Virginia Blanchard (top) compared to a period Art Deco jewelry box (bottom)

A visit to Virginia’s website unearthed more  stunning Art Deco revival pieces like the  vanity and stool seen above.  Look closely at the roofline of this building from the Art Deco period found in the Bronx, NY  for an example of  Art Deco stepping and see how it directly relates to Virginia’s stool.

Art Deco building in the Bronx showing a stepped detail

Art Deco building in the Bronx showing a stepped detail

virginia blanchard art deco revival stool

Art deco revival stool created by Virginia Blanchard

There’s more.  Take the furniture created by Gaisbauer   They have been in business in Austria since 1888, about 40 years after the end of the original Biedermeier period.  Their furniture bears all of the  hallmarks of the period, including a sculptural form sometimes framed by architectural elements, highly polished lighter woods,  veneers used to create bold pattern such as a  sunburst and references to the Empire period which include ebonized columns and gilt ornaments in classical motifs.  Gaisbauer uses high quality woods like walnut, cherry and birds eye maple.  You can have their furniture handcrafted in 6-8 weeks.

Biedermeier Revival sofa made by Gaisbauer

Biedermeier Revival sofa made by Gaisbauer

Biedermeier revival furniture by Gaisbauer

Biedermeier revival furniture by Gaisbauer

Compare Gaisbauer’s stuff to the real deal.  What do you think?? Awfully close.

Biedermeier

Antiques from the Biedermeier period

Coming full circle, I even spotted a large, tufted chair that  had a whiff of Victoriana at Victoria and Son’s booth.  It would be perfectly at home in a Victorian-style parlor.

Barroux chair by Victoria 7 Son

Barroux chair by Victoria & Son

Would you incorporate these revival pieces into your home?  Designer friends–please do tell me what you think of this trend.   I am most curious.

Photo credits: product photos from the vendors, Biedermeier antiques, Art deco jewelry box, Bronx building, Victorian parlor

 

Mar. 30

 

NOW INSPIRED: Brittany’s Young Women Make the Case for Lace

by Lynn Byrne

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I stumbled upon these stunning photos by Charles Freger while flipping through the April 2014 National Geographic.  Some may consider lace too “granny,” but not me.  I find it utterly romantic.

If anything makes the case for lace, it is this staunch hold on tradition by the young women of France’s Brittany region.  At one time, the women of Brittany always wore lace caps, and some of those evolved into tall, fantastical shapes during the 19th and 20th centuries.  There are many different varieties depending on village, location and time period.  While these headdresses inspired painters like Paul Gauguin, most woman abandoned the style in the 1950′s.

"Breton Women Chatting" Paul Gauguin

“Breton Women Chatting”
Paul Gauguin

Happily, today’s young Breton women have recognized the importance of their beautiful heritage costumes.  Today, they have formed social groups called Celtic circles where they train year round to compete in full costume in summer dance festivals, sometimes also appearing at weddings and religious festivals.  Donning the full costume takes about a half an hour, and may seem impractical in this wet, windy region.  But the women are determined to keep the practice alive.  Lucky for us. It would be a shame if such beauty faded into obscurity.

Can’t you just imagine that gorgeous lace translated into an interior?

Spring Blossom Lace from Timorous Beasties

Spring Blossom Lace from Timorous Beasties

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I dare you to say this is all too granny.

National Geographic photos by Charles Freger.  Paul Gauguin painting  Lace in the home.

 

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