Architecture

Feb 132014
 

Classical Addiction has showcased many blogs on the great beauty that is in Russia; from the Amber Room, Alexander Palace Catherine Palace  and  The Hermitage.  I was unfamiliar with Sochi and am really enjoying all aspects of this beautiful location for the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

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View of  Sochi with its 90 miles of waterfront on the Black Sea.  It is geographically located entirely within European Russia with the Caucasus Mountains falling on the Asian side.

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Sochi has a humid subtropical climate with mild winter temperatures of 52 degrees in the day and 39 degrees at night from December through March.  It is a beautiful location for the Winter Olympics.

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Luge - Winter Olympics Day 5

The Opening Ceremony was very impressive.  Here are some memorable pictures.

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The scale was enormous.  It must have been quite an experience to be in this venue which was created just for the opening and closing ceremonies.

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Like the Chinese Opening Ceremony they had images projected on the floor and the latest technology using a computer operated gantry system to move these huge light sculptures through the space.  Multi-Dimensional painting is most certainly the theater experience of the future.

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They have the fabulous onion domes which added a surreal portrayal to the unfolding of Russian history.

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Their Peace Dove was my absolute favorite.

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Beautiful Sochi

Sochi National Park Waterfall

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Sochi Arboretum

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St. Vladimir Church

 

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Summer Theater

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Feb 032014
 

It has been awhile since I have blogged.  We have been working on our new E-store which I am happy to announce is now online .   We are still tweaking things, but overall we are very happy with our new look.   It is  a rather gray day and time of year for those of us who live in the East.  So here are just some beautiful images.   Beauty is a big inspiration and  focus for this blog and as stated by Oscar Wilde,  “All Beautiful  things belong to the same age.” Beauty is a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, esp. the sight.

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Palace of Fine Arts
San Francisco

There are some things of beauty that appeal universally, such as a gorgeous sunrise or sunset.   Here is one of my sky paintings.

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The Beauty of Nature.

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Queen-Red-Lime-Zinnia

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The Beauty created by humans  is a never ending source of  joy, pleasure and inspiration.  Enjoy….

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Jan 082014
 

Happy New Year.  After a much needed vacation and wonderful holiday I am excited to be back with this blog showcasing the work of some of the top architects and designers at the forefront of global design today that are in Architectural Digest’s AD100.

Their work  is based on classically inspired details, proportions and principles of scale and harmony with 21st century comfort and style.  You will see a lot of bold colors, eye catching art, beautiful wall panels, craftsmanship and artistry.  Enjoy.

Alberto Pinto

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This firm specializes in Orientalism.

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Brian McCarthy

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Bunny Williams

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gottwald, richmond, virginia

gottwald, richmond, virginia

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gottwald, richmond, virginia

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David Kleinberg Design Associates

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Dec 092013
 

Just bought a great book on the Empire Period Empire by Madeleine Deschamps. Here is some food for thought from the Introduction.   “The end of the eighteenth century was a tumultuous and remarkably rich period that laid the foundations of modern times.”  This can be said of our times,  the end of the twentieth century laying the foundations of the new age.   ”In the course of the century the philosophy of Enlightenment had opened minds to realities veiled until then, and it had awakened hopes of social and political change in many lands.”  Once again, this can be said of our times with the expansion of knowledge, technology and physics all contributing to powers we could not have imagined just 30 years ago.  ”In France this new consciousness culminated in a major cultural rupture, the Revolution.  The fall of the Bastille in 1789 and the death of Louis XVI in 1793 marked the end of a monarchy that had shaped France, its society, and its economy for ten centuries.”

It goes on to establish that the Revolution did not immediately find a language to express the social order they were striving to establish.  So there was no real break in the styles and art forms that characterized the reign of Louis XVI and the subsequent Directoire, Consulat and Empire Styles. The Empire style was a natural development of the neoclassical art born in the preceding decades, which explains why Empire also includes styles that predate the coronation of Napoleon.  ”Despite a strong connection to its stylistic preedecessors, the Empire style was highly influenced by the personality of one man, Napoleon Bonaparte.napoleon Once in power he not only wished to dominate European countries but also to control their trade. “He also wished to give grandeur and splendor to his reign, a purpose best served by the arts. Thus the short years of his rule were a period of extraordinary development for arts and crafts in France and in the countries he controlled.”

What will be said of this time in terms of the development of the arts and crafts.  The decorative arts business had products and technologies which will enable today’s artists, artisans, architects and designers to surpass anything that has been created.  Hopefully there will always be patrons to support today’s masterpieces and with the advantage of technology the middle class will be able to create interiors rich with artistry.

“When Napoleon came to power he found a country that had been torn apart by civil war and lay in partial ruin. He also inherited royal residences that had been stripped bare by the Revolution.  Today’s interiors are in a sense are stripped bare with large expanses of drywall.  In his ten years as emperor he not only refurbished palaces and chateaux throughout France and Europe but also gave France one of its most superb collections of decorative arts. To accomplish this he provided massive help to workshops and nascent industries, encouraged and publicized technical inventions, and instituted schools, competitions and prizes. No one since Louis XIV’s minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert had been so concerned with the economic status of France and the international image of its arts and crafts.  Just as Napoleon knew how to surround himself with the best political and military counselors, so too did he call some of the best artists in Europe to his service.”

Let’s look at the glory of the Empire Period and dream about our expression of the decorative arts in the 21st Century.

The Chateau de Malmaison, Paris is a country house in the city of Rueil-Malmaison about 12 km from Paris. It was formerly the residence of Joséphine de Beauharnais, and with the Tuileries, was from 1800 to 1802 the headquarters of the French government.

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Mythological Frieze, Chateau de Malmaison

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Josephine’s  Bedroom

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Today’s Mansion - The Enchanted Home

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Hotel de Beauharnais, Paris

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Salon of the Four Seasons – The paintings of the four seasons were formerly attributed to Pierre-Paul Prud’hon and now to Anne-Louis Girodet, who painted works on the same theme for the Platinum Study in the Casa del Labrador in Aranjuez, Spain.

Salon of The Four Seasons

Salon of The Four Seasons

 

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Bathroom at Hotel de Beauharmais

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The Turkish bath in the Hotel de Beauharnais

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Beaux-Artes designed and executed this Powder Room using technology to create the pietre dure design on the vanity and reproduce it below the chair rail with venetian plaster.

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Inspiration vanity.

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Empire has a section on wallpaper since it was becoming a convenient and attractive way to decorate an interior.  Manufacturers as Jacquemart et Benard, Dufour and Zuber made papers of great artistic and technical quality in lavish colors.  It was a young industry when the Revolution broke out.  Wallpaper answered the demand of a clientele that could not afford expensive silks for decorating the home.  The extension of the Empire opened Europe to their production.

Great article by Barbara Clark in Artisphere Online showcasing the work of Alan Carroll

“My old business partner, Mark Kusek, really opened my eyes to the digital world. Without him I never would have embraced computers as a tool for decorative artists in the same way. More importantly, he taught me that you can be true to the same creative spirit that flowed through the old guys while at the same time embracing new technology.

You don’t have to be mired in the past, trying to copy stuff that was done way better hundreds of years ago. ”

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“Imagine you have a piece of artwork on your computer. You’ve either painted and scanned it, or created it directly on the computer. Want to make fabric? Wallpaper? Flooring? ceiling murals? Area rugs? verre eglomisé? You can do all those and tons more from the same piece of artwork now by combining the power of digital printing with traditional skills. We are only beginning to touch on the possibilities.”

“We even developed a way to print gold size. You could get a sheet of ebony veneer for example, and literally print from any design you have on your computer screen in gold size right onto the wood – no masking/stencilling necessary – then gild it. The computer is used just to expedite the hand-done finish, not to supplant it. It’s still a hand-gilded product.

Or forget about printing the size. What about printing the ‘painted’ image on the reverse of glass before you gild it? Mark is now in the middle of printing verre eglomisé polychrome designs right onto glass from ornamental panels that I painted using a Wacom tablet and some computer software. This is groundbreaking stuff. Print the image onto the reverse of the glass, and then gild it. He even printed the patina onto the sheet of glass before gilding it. Time savings are huge, and that’s just with this one thing!

“I think that’ll be my theme for the future: exploring how to expand and truly incorporate digital technology into the decorative artist’s toolkit. I don’t mean simply painting something by hand, then selling prints. But how about this other experiment we did with the Glass department of OSU in Ohio: We printed our gold size directly onto paper in super-detailed ornate designs. then we simply applied leaf, and dusted off the design. The gold only sticks to the areas we printed. Then we took these gold leaf designs on paper to the glass furnace. The guy blows a vase out of molten glass, then rolls it carefully across our design. The paper burns off completely, and the gold design is instantly transferred to the glass. Never been done before, but we just came up with it by experimenting.

It’s not just about coming up with ways that save time over traditional methods. It’s also about creating new hybrid techniques that could not be conceived of any other way. That’s the future.”

Josephine and her Entourage at Lake Garda, 1805-6 by Hippolyte Lecomte.  Available as a 12″ x 15″ print for $181.

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Chateau de Compiegne

 

Chateau de Compiegne

Chateau de Compiegne

 

The Ballroom

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Empress Marie-Louise’s Second Salon later called the Salon of Flowers.  Would love to do a variation of the panel art in this room.  The Book Empire has a wonderful closeup of the panels.

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Hotel de Charost

Hotel de Charost

Hotel de Charost

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The Sala di Marte near Naples

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Sala di Marte

Beaux-Artes Arabesque Panel

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Casita del Principe, El Escorial, Spain

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Platinum study in the Casa del Labrador, Aranjuez, Spain

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Charlottenburg Castle, Berlin

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Queen Luise’s Bedroomcharlottenburg-castle-queen-luise-bedroom

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Dec 032013
 

I love Old Town. I bought my first condominium on the fringe of Old Town behind the Masonic Temple. That was almost 40 years ago now and the expansion and development of the area between the heart of Old Town which borders on the Potomac River and the Masonic Temple is a great example of planned development and an architectural vision.  Photo by David Zanzinger. masonic-temple

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 They have joined the historic look of the Old Town Waterfront with shopping, offices, hotels and apartments.

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Wyndham Hotel

Hampton Inn

Hampton Inn

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Morrison House Hotel

I have eaten at the Morrison House and it is excellent.

Old Town has  blocks and blocks of a great collection of boutiques and favorite chain stores like Anthropologie.  Old Town was ‘comfortably’  bustling with shoppers for Small Business Saturday.

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shops

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It is a healthy walk from the Masonic Temple to the waterfront.  We hopped on a Trolley and got off at M and M Fine Art and Antiques who were advertising a clearance sale to make room for new inventory.  A great collection of beauty in a very small typical townhouse style shop.  Here are some outstanding pieces that were hard to photograph because there were things in front of them and on top of them.

Italian Pietre Dure table 46″ diameter.

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Mixed Metals Table with Cherubs.  I am purchasing this beauty tomorrow.

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Lovely mahogany inlaid end table with a center drawer.

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Empire fainting couch.

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MandM-sculpture

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Fabulous……………

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Next Stop Random Harvest.  Antique accents, comfortable upholstery, contemporary lighting and accents.

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Love this side chair with the lovely painting on the back.

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Topiaries are a favorite holiday, anytime accent.

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The best bow of the season so far $12.

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old-town-waterfront2We had lunch at a new sandwich, salad and sushi restaurant, The Waterfront Market.  My salmon and kale quinoa salad was delicious.  View of the waterfront.

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The Torpedo Factory ‘Aethenium’ – A combination artists working studios,  stores, and galleries.

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City Hall

City Hall

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Old Town is a great place to shop, eat and visit.   I am fortunate to have it near me and I am so excited about my fabulous purchase.   The wall design for room the table will be in;  mirrors, aluminum leaf with shellac, verre eglomise, and of course ornament.

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Oct 142013
 

The best-known ‘first World Expo’ was held in 1851 in The Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, under the title “Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations”.  It is sometimes referred to as the Crystal Palace Exhibition in reference to the temporary structure in which it was held.  The expo was organized by Prince Albert, Henry Cole, Francis Henry, George Wallis, Charles Dilke and other members of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce as a celebration of modern industrial technology and design. Its prime motive was for Great Britain to make clear to the world its role as industrial leader.  Although the Great Exhibition was a platform on which countries from around the world could display their achievements, Great Britain sought to prove its own superiority. The British exhibits at the Great Exhibition apparently held the lead in almost every field where strength, durability, utility and quality were concerned, whether in iron and steel, machinery or textiles. Great Britain also sought to provide the world with the hope of a better future with technology, particularly its own, as the key.

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The Crystal Palace was a cast-iron and plate-glass building.  More than 14,000 exhibitors from around the world gathered in the Palace’s 990,000 square feet of exhibition space to display examples of the latest technology developed in the Industrial Revolution. Designed by Sir Joseph Paxton, the Great Exhibition building was 1,851 feet long, with an interior height of 128 feet.   Because of the recent invention of the cast plateglass method in 1848, which allowed for large sheets of cheap but strong glass, it was at the time the largest amount of glass ever seen in a building and astonished visitors with its clear walls and ceilings that did not require interior lights, thus a “Crystal Palace”.

After the exhibition, the building was rebuilt in an enlarged form on Penge Common next to Sydenham Hill, an affluent South London suburb full of large villas. It stood there from 1854 until its destruction by fire in 1936.

This expo inaugurated World Expos as the hallmark events of a world aspiring to strengthen its connections, celebrate its cultural diversity and marvel at its technological ability that have continued to be held to the present time.  The next World Expo takes place in Milan, Italy, in 2015.  The focus: “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”.  The UAE is bidding to host the World Expo 2020 in Dubai under the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’.  The World Expo has never been held in the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia in the history of the event.

Every five years and for a period of six months, World Expos attract millions of visitors who explore and discover pavilions, exhibitions and cultural events staged by hundreds of participants including nations, international organizations and businesses.  World Expos remain a key meeting point for the global community to share innovations and make progress on issues of international importance such as the global economy, sustainable development and improved quality of life for the world’s population.

Each World Expo is a catalyst for economic, cultural and social transformation and generates important legacies for the host city and nation.  Here are some highlights.  Shanghai 2010 World Expo helped transform a heavily industrial city-centre area into a thriving cultural and commercial district while also bringing its theme “Better City, Better Life” to the attention of 73 million people.

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The 1958 Expo in Belgium is best known for the construction of the Atomium.
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1962 Seattle

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1901 Buffalo. Niagara Falls powered all those lights.

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1889 Paris.

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Sep 272013
 

Today we are experiencing the latest in a series of renaissances that have periodically refreshed the classical tradition throughout the history of Western art.  This revival is fueled by technology.  I have blogged about how Beaux-Artes is utilizing the latest technology to recreate our Arts and Crafts decorative HVAC grilles.  Here is a combination of technology, imagination and innovation representing the beauty and artistry of today.

Dubai Architecture is amazing.

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Recycled bicycle chain chandeliers by Carolina Fontoura Alzaga

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Ceasarstone

CaesarStone’s inspirational new masterpiece collection, the unique Concetto range, is an unmatchable collection of extraordinary surfaces hand-made from individually cut and bound semi-precious stones. A harmonious blend of art, nature and technology Concetto is created by fusing nature’s hues and designs with individually cut semi-precious stones to form the ultimate luxury stone surface – a dream for designers and architects alike.

Some of the semi-precious stones in the Concetto Collection are breathtakingly translucent and can be backlit for added effect. With its vivid colors and awe-inspiring designs, the Concetto range brings out the innate brilliance of the stones while enhancing the luster of their natural hues and shades.

Highly heat, stain and scratch resistant, Concetto

Violet

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Violet backlit

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Enignum_Canopy_Bed_Joseph_Walsh2Waterjet Cut Marble Floor

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Fiber Optic Fabric for Nursery window and glow pigment.  I designed and painted the nursery.

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Mural with Glow pigment by night

arl nursery mural at night after

Ceiling Medallion

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Jacuzzi Chromotherapy

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Pae White

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Sep 172013
 

panthenon interior
Steven Semes masterpiece, The Architecture of the Classical Interior is a comprehensive, thematic study of the architectural conception and treatment of classically designed rooms.  In his preface he states so eloquently, “..this book is intended neither as an historical survey nor as an academic theoretical treatment but, rather, as an exploration of perennial themes that have shaped the classical interior throughout history, regardless of style or period. ”

That is our interest as well.  The classical tradition has a rich heritage of architectural beauty and as Mr. Semmes points out,  it was all there was until contemporary arrived.  ”The classical tradition is the mainstream of Western art.  From its origins in ancient Greece to the decline of Rome, and again from the middle of the fifteenth century until the second quarter of the twentieth, it would have been unnecessary to define or explain it.  Rich and varied in its ideas and its products, the classical point of view was the way most European artists and architects during this period-and their artistic progeny around the globe-thought about the world and their work.”

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The Parthenon

parthenon replica- Nashville

Parthenon Replica, Nashville

 

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Pompeii

panthenon

Pantheon

Roman House

Roman House

Verseille

Verseilles

 

Library-of-Congress

Library of Congress

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John Adams Syon House

The three countries that have done the most to define the classical interior as a work of art are Italy, France and England. The United States has done more than any other to sustain the tradition into the present. Semmes offers a “how to do it” rather than “what it means”.  His hope is to inspire interest in classical architecture to readers in general and deepen an appreciation for the artistry of the interior in those already devoted to the classical muse.  Classical Addiction shares the same interest.

Metropolitan Museum of Art Period Room

Metropolitan Museum of Art Period Room

He goes on to note, “But the most important contribution to the present-day renaissance of classical art is unquestionably made by the patron, without whom the aesthetic sensitivities of artists come to nothing, the skills of craftsmen go unused, and schools no longer teach the traditional wisdom.  Hence, this book is addressed to the patron as well as the student and practitioner.”

This blog is an opportunity to look at  the amazing work that is being done today in the decorative arts.  I love to feature artists and designers.  So what a  pleasure to show this amazing work by Alan Carroll of Decorative Imaging, for the Kips Bay Show House.  Decorative Imaging designed and produced the surface treatments for this room using a combination of digital and traditional decorative arts techniques. The floor and doors are inlay designs using their revolutionary new digital marquetry process. They have been imaged to wood veneer and applied to the respective surfaces.

John Adam design

Foyer after Robert Adam
Decorative Imaging
34th Annual Kips Bay Decorator Show House

The Neoclassical, architectural moldings surrounding all of the doors were designed and produced as custom digital wall coverings on mural canvas. The 3D effect has been digitally composed into the print to create the illusion of depth. Digital Imaging controls the angle of the light and shadow effects to match the direction of light coming into the room.  The  2006 Kips Bay Show marked the debut of this process.

Adams Style Ceiling Kips Bay Show House Decorative Imaging

Adams Style Ceiling
Kips Bay Show House
Decorative Imaging

This “Adam Style,” design was created and digitally imaged to mural canvas as a custom trompe l’oeil ceiling. Simulating the appearance of carved, plaster relief, this design mirrors the basic layout of the floor, an Adam trademark.

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Digital images on wood veneer applied to a pair of large metal fire doors.  These door treatments were designed for their stately impact.

These rooms are definitely today’s wall art masterpieces.  Some more examples of Decorative Imaging’s products for walls.

Grottesqua

Custom Digital Wallcovering – Digitally painted, foliated, scrolling grottesque wall panels in polychrome.

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Neoclassical Architectural Wallcovering - Neoclassical, trompe l’oeil architectural wall frieze. Digital image on Type ll Class A wallcovering.

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Ornament for wall and for frieze bands. Digital image on Type ll Class A wallcovering.

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Neoclassical Faux Plaster Relief - Digitally imaged, faux plasterwork.

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Patterned Veneer - Horizontal striped pattern in Amboyna Burl, Ivory and Padauk. Digitally imaged, patterned veneer wallcovering.

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Digitally imaged, faux marbre wall panel.

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Out of time for today.  More to follow.

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Aug 142013
 

I have a fabulous collection of beautiful classical entrance foyers.  Foyers are an interesting space to design since most of them do not need furniture.  That is exactly what I love about foyers.  It is all about the  architecture, architectural details, the walls, floor, ceiling, railing, balustrades and lighting.   This post is full of great ideas.

 

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I mean what else do you need in this space.  Maybe I am in my less is more phase.

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Of course, a gorgeous table when you have the space is always a winner.

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This foyer appears cluttered for my taste.

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This one is perfect!

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Gorgeous

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Remarkable balustrades.

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This handsome duo Slovak Designs, and finishing Segreto Finishes.

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Design by Andrew Skurman

Vidalakis Residence

Andrew Skurman

Continue reading »

Jul 252013
 

Finally a break in the heat wave, but I  was in the mood to dream about cooling off in a beautiful pool.  The Versace Mansion,  Casa Casuarina Pool.

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Fleur de Lys, Beverly Hills

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Hearst Castle

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Mariah Carey, The  Bahamas.

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I also love, love, love, historic homes.   Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild

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Versace Mansion, Florida

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The Versace Mansion is overflowing with mosaics,  decorative painting, and murals……It is way too much for my tastes, but the artistry is superb.

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Fleur de Lys Mansion, Beverly Hills

 

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If you loved the Houston Limestone chateau that was featured in the August edition of Architectural Digest that I wrote about, you must visit Secrets of Segreto Blog for more pictures and information about the project from the company responsible for all the beautiful plaster work and finishes.

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The winner of the Architexture applique is Marisa, The Artemesian.  Would love to see a picture of your selection,  Decor Klimt,  installed.  Thank you Architexture.

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