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.”
Parthenon Replica, Nashville
- Library of Congress
- 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
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.
Foyer after Robert Adam
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
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.
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.
Custom Digital Wallcovering – Digitally painted, foliated, scrolling grottesque wall panels in polychrome.
Neoclassical Architectural Wallcovering - Neoclassical, trompe l’oeil architectural wall frieze. Digital image on Type ll Class A wallcovering.
Ornament for wall and for frieze bands. Digital image on Type ll Class A wallcovering.
Neoclassical Faux Plaster Relief - Digitally imaged, faux plasterwork.
Patterned Veneer - Horizontal striped pattern in Amboyna Burl, Ivory and Padauk. Digitally imaged, patterned veneer wallcovering.
Digitally imaged, faux marbre wall panel.
Out of time for today. More to follow.