by Lynn Byrne
Interior design firm, Franklin Eighth created a jewel box of a ladies lounge for this year’s Holiday House benefitting breast cancer research. Designer participants in Holiday House select some type of celebration as the theme for their space. The trick here is to not go overboard so that your room becomes more of a theme park. The somewhat precarious goal is to have viewers “get” your theme, while still creating a comfortable and innovative room.
Principal designers for Franklin Eighth, Sarah Sarna and Tina Ramchandani, neatly step through this mine field. Choosing “Jazz Appreciation Month” as their celebration, they manage to convey their concept with nods to the Art Deco styling that defined the Jazz Age while creating a thoroughly modern and inviting space.
How did they do it?
Sarah and Tina drew upon a solid knowledge of design history. They selected a few important motifs from the Art Deco era and then expressed them in a contemporary way. This allowed the designers to evoke a Jazz Age feeling, while staying firmly in the here and now.
For example, a major feature in Franklin Eighth’s room is the fan pattern wallpaper, “Feather Fan” by Cole & Son. The fan is one of Art Deco’s most popular motifs, seen everywhere from such iconic buildings as the Chrysler Building to Art Deco jewelry. And of course the designers did not forget the bling with their choice of sexy sconces from Porta Romana.
Tina and Sarah also pay homage to the exotic Egyptian influence found in Art Deco styling, most notably the lotus flower and leaf.. We see it in their choice of the gold pillow fabric ( Caitlin Wilson’s “Gold Lotus”) , in the coffee table from Stephanie Odegard and in a grouping of Lladro vases on the window sill. Compare those selections to the c. 1924 panel by Art Deco artists Jean Dunand and Jean Lambert-Rucki in the upper right of the collage and the Art Deco style lotus leaf earrings and you clearly see the strong grasp Franklin Eighth has on design’s rich history.
Additionally, Franklin Eighth brought in the geometric elements favored in the Art Deco period with a black and white hair hide rug overlaid with a black leather hide rug in an effort to suggest tile. They had me fooled! I at first thought the black and white rug was a tile installation, it was done so cleverly. Despite all these Art Deco motifs, Franklin Eighth did not get stuck in period decor. Instead, they brought the geometric concept right up to date by contrasting the floor with a very interesting, contemporary, geometric art installation by Petta Thompson.
Perhaps my favorite nod to the Jazz Age and Art Deco was one of the designers’ smallest choices. I love that they included a mini skyscraper, the Lladro Metropolis vase.
Franklin Eighth’s ladies lounge is a perfect example of designers using their knowledge of design history to create great design today. These girls know their stuff!
Photo credits: Fan collage: room shot by Michel Arnaud, wallpaper detail by me, jewelry by Tiffany viaelle.com. Chrysler Building by James Maher photography. Lotus flower collage: Coffee table shot by Michel Arnaud, pillow shot by me, panel via Christies, earrings via artfire.com