Our Director of Studies, Anthony Rayworth discusses how antiques can be used in a contemporary context in this month’s Theme of the Month.
Using antiques successfully within a contemporary interior requires a particular approach to design combined with an educated eye for detail. The effects and fine nuances of line, form, colour and texture evoked by fine craftsmanship are increased by the addition of time.
Antiques are often over-restored, in my view this removes the very thing that drew one to the objects in the first place. If a bright, shiny new object is required then choose a reproduction – there are some very good reproductions available on the high street. If, however, the mystery, romance and patina of centuries of use, or the mellow sheen (not shine) produced by countless hands on the arm of a chair is required, then there is no alternative. Browse these wonderful examples by masters of their craft for inspiration.
A great advantage of genuine antiques is that they don’t have to be large or terribly grand to achieve maximum impact as this bedroom in Robert de Niro’s New York penthouse evidences. The acknowledged master of the rare and the beautiful is Axel Vervoordt who used a 19th century walnut table top as a headboard in de Niro’s master bedroom.
In this South of France villa above, Vervoordt has paired an antique Steinway piano with a seascape painting by Japanese photographer, Hiroshi Sugimoto.
In a glowing, tantalising beauty of a house, which only gradually reveals its secrets. Anouska Hempel has united two Grade II listed houses in Holland Park in London as a home par excellence, with a formal Italian garden, topiary, conservatory and Orangery. Inside, the various elements of style, colour and texture and antiquity are seamlessly combined. Bringing together antique battered travelling cases and rare silk furnishings; the house reflects the well-travelled, perfectionist character of its creator.
This is a wall of carved marble alcoves, each of which contains a sixteenth century Turkish blue and white mosque lamp. Mashrabiya grillwork adds a beautifully light touch to the space, as these shutters not only bring a certain prettiness, they also allow the space to be filled with softly diffused daylight.
Casey Dunn is an Austin, TX based photographer who refined his technique on both coasts of the USA before returning to his hometown. Since then, he has built relationships with leading designers and creatives in the region and continues to seek opportunities to collaborate with local, national, and international clients. These examples of clean, spare interiors made stronger by the restrained inclusion of good antique furniture are typical of his output.
An exceptional New York interior by Shelton, Mindel and Associates which demonstrates the power of a well informed selection of furniture whose origins span the 20th century. Built-in storage and an assertively neutral floor allow the pieces to speak clearly to each other.
Stainless-steel modernism held no Renzo Mongiardino, who was born in 1916 and raised in a Baroque palazzo in Genoa. Its romantic shadows and sparkling chandeliers were the spirit behind the Proustian nostalgia of his work.
However, he was fond of quoting a maxim of Honoré de Balzac’s—”The wise man goes back to the origins of ancient times”— Mongiardino was a twentieth-century talent and therefore more than willing to harness up-to-date materials in his quest to resuscitate the past. It was a contradiction neatly mirrored in the designer’s ancestry: His father was a self-made millionaire who had introduced colour television to Italy, while his mother was from a venerable Genoese family.
Michael Trapp is a dealer in antiques and architectural fragments, who also runs a successful interior and garden design business. His highly individual style: juxtaposing old with older to create a timeless environment is a reflection of an aesthetic that permeates the way he lives and works. He specialises in the unusual and eclectic and has established a reputation for originality and excellence. This is his own master bedroom which epitomises his style and fresh use of antique – sometimes ancient – furniture and works of art.
Until next time, Anthony.
Axel Vervoordt (2015) [Online] Available from: www.axelvervoordt.com [Accessed 06.10.2015]
Remodelista (2015) [Online] Available from: www.remodelista.com/posts/axel-vervoodt-wabi-sabi-penthouse-greenwich-hotel-robert-de-niro-new-york [Accessed 25.09.2015]
Alt Magazine (2015) [Online] Available from: www.altomagazine.com/news/axel-vervoordt-4148066/#.Vg6ZlXpVhBc [Accessed 29.09.2015]
Anoushka Hempel Design (2015) [Online] Available from: www.anouskahempeldesign.com/residential/holland-park [Accessed 28.09.2015]
Alidad (2015) [Online] Available from: www.alidad.com/gallery/#oriental-rooms [Accessed 01.10.2015]
Casey Dunn Photography (2015) [Online] Available from: http://caseydunn.net [Accessed 25.09.2015]
Sheldon Mindel Associates (2015) [Online] Available from: www.sheltonmindel.com/PROJECTS/Apartments/Historic-CP-Triplex-33502/project.html [Accessed 25.09.2015]
Architectural Digest (2015) [Online] Available from: www.architecturaldigest.com/story/mongiardino-article-012000 [Accessed 03.10.2015]
Eclectix (2015) [Online] Available from: http://eclectix.com/lorenzo-mongiardino [Accessed 02.10.2015]
Text: Mitchell Owens (2015) Architectural Digest. Available from: www.architecturaldigest.com/story/mongiardino-article-012000 [Accessed 05.10.2015
Michael Trapp (2015) [Online] Available from: www.michaeltrapp.com/projects/view/42 [Accessed 05.10.2015]