11/30/07

Rex Ray + Art Basel

The shy guy above is reported to be the gracious San Francisco artist, Rex Ray, who recently stopped for a moment to speak with TT, before heading out the door to Miami's giant, city-wide spectacle, Art Basel.

If you go, don't miss seeing RR next Thursday night (Dec. 6) at the Jonathan Adler store on Lincoln Road Mall. He'll be the one signing his brand new book, Rex Ray Art + Design, and charming the crowd. Get there early and you might be lucky enough to snap up one of his colorful, graphic resin panels, too. Now available through Jonathan Adler, as well as www.rexray.com, each work begins with paper cutouts, which are then collaged onto plywood panels or canvas. "A rare combination of sophistication and decorative appeal" and "abstract and hand-crafted", his work can be seen in "high-design hotels, world-class museums, and hip restaurants."*

With a line of note cards, journals, gift wrap, and calendars coming out soon through Chronicle Books, RR is also working on a line that will be exclusive to SFMOMA. A very busy man, for someone who describes himself as "too feral" to work a regular job. RR says he had to invent a way to make a living, and it seems he's done that one better - he's making a great living doing work that he loves and never tires of. In the little downtime he gets, you might find RR carousing the many wonderful restaurants in San Francisco, or perhaps just hanging out with friends and his trusty sidekick Skeeter.

TT won't be going to Miami, so we'll have to be content with our soon-to-arrive copy of Rex Ray's self-published book of paper collages. (Still available through his website.)

Here are a few of our favorite pieces by Rex Ray.
* Chronicle Books








THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
"There's no retirement for an artist, it's your way of living so there's no end to it."

Henry Moore

11/28/07

Out of Africa

The Giraffe Manor, Nairobi, a British manor house
which neighbors a game preserve.

Inside Africa North & East
Photos by Didi Von Schaewen, Text by Frederic Couderc & Laurence Dougier

Didi Von Schaewen spent 4 years traveling across the continent of Africa. Inside Africa North and East, is the culmination of that adventure: two volumes of stunning interiors and panoramic vistas featuring homes, gardens, landscapes and wildlife.

These books are large (10"x13"), with most images shown full page or as 2-page spreads, and have remained on my coffee table longer than any others. The covers are gorgeous, and the inside pages are equally compelling. TT is fascinated with tiles of all kinds, and there are plenty of examples of fabulous tiled floors, walls and ceilings. Interiors range from a blend of African tribal symbols and designs to Middle Eastern and Arabic influences to British Colonial.

"Many of the African interiors shown in this book may vanish forever in the next few years. I have tried to do my best to show the boundless beauty and diversity of African houses and interiors in the broader hope that a better understanding of the continent's heritage will give its cultures the strength to regenerate."
Didi Von Schaewen
Prices start at $179.95 for the set.








Click on images for a larger view.


From top: At the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, Tanzania, the "baroque ethnic" decor in this lobby area features English sofas, a Venetian chandelier, and banana leaf ceilings.


A bedroom at Hotel Al Moudira, Luxor features frescoes painted by a Lebanese artist. The suzani is from Jordan.


Dodo's tower, a 100' tall oriental pagoda in the middle of an African forest on Lake Naivasha, Nairobi.

Inside Dodo's tower, a view of the study with the staircase that runs up the whole tower.


This bathroom at the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, Tanzania, features zinc basins, and mirrors edged with gold leaf.


A bathroom of Dar en Nadour, with turquoise wood panels and tiled walls and floors.








THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:

"Taste is in realizing the essence of a place."

Nancy Lancaster, English Country House Style
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11/25/07

Make room for chairs

A chair can give your home personality, create drama and
be functional, all at once. Witty, charming, serious, pretentious, quirky
or arty (sounds like some people we know); here are a few that caught our eye ...
Clockwise from left: Bergere Canopy chair with linen upholstery, Jayson Home & Garden, $2695; Maison Janson 30s fanciful side chair, dressed in red patent leather, 1st dibs, $9800 pair; African beaded chair, 1st dibs, $3600 pair; Frank Gehry cardboard Wiggle chair, plushpod, $875.


From top left: Rex chair, Design Within Reach, $128; Photo by Jonathan Becker, from Bright Young Things, by Brooke De Ocampo; Oscar de la Renta armchair, Century Furniture; Photo by Jonathan Becker, from Bright Young Things, by Brooke De Ocampo; Starquinze chair by Pucci de Rossi; Photo by Jonathan Becker, from Bright Young Things, by Brooke De Ocampo.


THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:

"Personal quirks give a room its human qualities."
Steven Sills and James Huniford
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11/23/07

Postcard from Paris




Topsy Turvy just can't get enough French style.
Where the Axel Vervoordt interior featured on Wednesday was reminiscent of rustic French country style, Jacques Grange's interiors epitomize chic Parisian style.

Refined, witty, intelligent, and classic with a modern interpretation: the surprise element of these rooms is that patterned wall-to-wall carpet which runs throughout the apartment. Grange tweaked the colors of a Madeleine Castaing design, and we think it serves several wonderful purposes. The crisp navy & white provides a masculine edge to what could be very girly, hot pink (living room sofa) and light pink (daughter's bedroom) furnishings. In the master bedroom, it knocks the floral out of the floral stripe wallpaper pattern, and becomes a classic foil for a sophisticated adult retreat. Ooh-la-la.
Photos at top from House & Garden.
Photo of Jacques Grange from the New York Times
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The husband and wife team of decorative artists and sculptors, Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne, create an assortment of beasts, most of them cast in bronze, such as owls, sheep, and apes; and playful, organic expressions of nature in whimsical jewelry and furniture. Au courant with interior designers of late – the large sheep, which double as furniture.

Pictured above: Francois-Xavier's Moutons de Laine, wool sheep; and Claude's Couverts Iolas flatware, and a bronze collar.

The couple are described as "prized darlings of an exclusive set for decades but until recently below the radar of a wider public." Among their collectors are "the chicest people in the world---many from fashion, like Yves Saint Laurent."
Photos and text from askart.com and style.com
Julie V. lovine, "Animal Instincts", Art & Auction, December, 2006, pp. 49-50


THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:

"An interior is the natural projection of the soul."
Coco Chanel
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11/21/07

Enjoy your holiday!

I'll be in the kitchen, listening to French music, and cooking my traditional southern-style Thanksgiving dinner.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:

My favorite quote lifted from the spine of Domino:
"Housekeeping ain't no joke."
Louisa May Alcott
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11/20/07

All things French

Axel Vervoordt, more than any other designer, speaks directly to my inner French girl. Ok, he's Belgian, but the Belgian design aesthetic is quite similar to the French. Both typify the use of the rustic next to the refined, & the pedigreed next to the mundane.

Vervoordt calls himself an "eclectic collector and dealer, who treasures the timeless and disdains the trendy." As much as we all enjoy & appreciate trendiness in design, it seems that many of the colors & mid-century modern styles so popular right now (those revived from the 50's-70's) might soon feel dated. Is there already a move away from that era? TT has sensed that the paragon of "modern", Metropolitan Home magazine, is starting to show interiors that are more of a mix - where the 50s-70s pieces are sublimated to the whole & used as accents alongside modern and even classical antiques & accessories. Or is that just our imagination?

It also seems to us that furniture & accessories are starting to be shown in a modern way, as opposed to just being modern. Vervoordt speaks of the importance of "meditation, empty space, a love and respect of nature and of human existence." What could be more modern than that?
Photo from House & Garden








Line Vautrin, 1863-1997

At the age of 28, Line Vautrin opened her first boutique near the Champs-Elysées, where she gained fame for her bronze creations: necklaces, bracelets, earrings, sculptures and boxes.

In the 50s, she began working with cellulose acetate, which she made into a new material christened "Talosel". She shaped, carved and heated it to make lamp bases, screens and above all, the wonderful mirrors shown above.

Line Vautrin retired in the early 80s, but a few years later a collector was instrumental in bringing about the re-discovery of her work, organizing exhibitions all over the world.

In 1992, she was awarded the National Arts and Crafts Prize for her research in decorative techniques. She died in April 1997, two years before the exhibition devoted to her work at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris.

"Her constant search for femininity, refinement, sensuality and subtlety, combined with her love of words and her humour, were constants throughout her life. She was a creator who never had a master, an artist who did not follow fashions and she belonged to no particular school. She is truly original, unique."

To learn more about Line Vautrin, her work, and her fascinating life, check out www.line-vautrin.fr.

Love the look of her sunburst mirrors? Check out this affordable version at Wisteria, for $449.


* Book by Line Vautrin, available on www.amazon.com

Excerpts and Line Vautrin photo from www.line-vautrin.fr

11/19/07

Inspiration


TT kneels at the altar of design genius Muriel Brandolini. Her rooms have it all ... depth, complexity, vibrant colors, eccentricity and elegance ... down to the last detail. Ms. Brandolini is a true original. Take a look at her website for more images. (She also designs fabric and clothing.) Photo from Muriel Brandolini website.
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If one wanted to channel MB, the quirky, "Old World Lamp" TT spotted at Anthropologie in Tampa's Hyde Park Village, could be a good starting point. The shade is an antiqued cotton/linen globe with the continents stitched on in a patterned fabric, and looks like it was shipped over from China about a century ago. When the light is on, the globe takes on a romantic golden glow. $248. .......................................................................................................................................

Peak of Chic, a lovely and informative design blog, has a history lesson today (not to be missed!) on the wonderful Turkish tents, war tents and garden follies– which brought to mind some fabulous note cards that I've been wanting to order. Architectural Notecards feature watercolor illustrations of tents, chinoiserie pavilions, garden follies, and more. Shown here are just a few. A set of these cards could be framed for an inexpensive wall grouping. At $3 each, these are definitely going to be on my Christmas list. architecturalwatercolors.com


THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
"The details are not the details. They make the design."

Charles Eames, American designer, architect and filmmaker
who, together with his wife Ray, is responsible for many classic iconic designs of the 20th century.
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11/18/07

Interior of the Day


Rustic & refined, modern juxtaposed with antique –
to me, this mix is what makes a room interesting and exciting.
Sure, the old-world architecture is a big part of it, but the modern lines of the sink, pedestal and elegant lamp provide the perfect foil for the drop-dead gorgeous mirror. (Sorry, it's an antique - Italian, steel.)
Every single item in this vignette is an important part of the whole.


Here are a few more fabulous rooms from McAlpine Booth & Ferrier:

Images from their website.







THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
"Minimalism needn't mean a lot of white and precious few things – it's about valuing colour, texture, light, and space."

Yasumitsu Miamoto, Japanese architect based in Florence
from Elle Decoration UK edition

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