Ginger jars by Global Views
When one thinks of Colonial Williamsburg (and the museum shop) , deeply traditional thoughts come to mind. We have all gotten those catalogs in the mail featuring brass candlesticks, ornate silver trays and wipeable placemats depicting pastoral scenes or fruit.
The bold colors, sexy shapes and contemporary styling that home furnishings company Global Views is known for seem quite far from a rural town in 1774.
Yet Global Views has been a successful product licensee of Colonial Williamsburg since 2004, with more than 100 products inspired by items in the Colonial Williamsburg collection.
While nothing Global Views makes is an exact reproduction, it is fascinating to compare how the designers interpreted elements from the 18th century, modernizing them for today.
Back when the license first began, Global Views spent several days going through the collection and archives, digging through catalogs and photos. Designers were struck by the variety in the collection and by how much color they found in Williamsburg.
For example, there were urns in the archive in fresh spring green. And that sexy shape in the ginger jars shown above? It comes from this finial on a bed in the Governor’s Palace at Williamsburg.
Bed finial in the Governor's Palace in Colonial Williamsburg
To the Global Views designers, nothing was sacred. They played with scale, form, materials and color–inspired by history but giving it an entirely new life.
For example, looking for that perfect media storage solution? You would not expect to find that in Colonial Williamsburg. But the Global Views designers did.
This very 18th century blanket chest was re-imagined as a console, ideally scaled to sit below a 21st century flat screen TV.
There are no boundaries in the GV designers’ thinking. So darn creative! Love how the fretwork back of a bamboo chair was blown up. colored and loomed as a contemporary rug.
I am entranced by how the pieces in Global Views’ Williamsburg Collection celebrate our heritage and our future simultaneously.
I know I always preach how history can inform today’s design (most recently it was that fabulous bed at the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum with its period, yet on trend, orange and lilac bed coverings), but the innovativeness of this particular collection blows me away.
Want a little for yourself? While Global Views is a wholesale company, their website has a retail locator to help you find where you can get the goods in your area.
I recommend one of their peacock plates or pillows drawn from an 18th century peacock painting on velvet. A perfect summery update for your home.
Global Views’ Williamsburg Collection is the epitome of tradition with a twist.
Photo credits: Photo of the console via Jennifer Reynolds Interiors. All other photos courtesy of Global Views.