Rhythm can be thought of as a pattern in movement. You can hear it in varied sounds to create music or in the steady drip of a faucet. It can also be seen; think about lines in the sidewalk and how your footsteps relate to the regular breaks. Rhythm can be seen and heard throughout nature and in our built environment through repetition, alternation and progression. These three methods of achieving rhythm can be applied to interior spaces as a way to introduce order, interest and focus, and to help lead your eye through a room.
Repetition is the simplest way to attain rhythm and can be achieved by repeating any of the elements of design (line, colour, texture and pattern, light, and scale and proportion) or other design concepts in an organized and regular way.
Rhythm can also be achieved through progression. Examples are a gradation of colour or a series of objects that start small and become large in a very regular manner.
Transition is a little harder to define. Unlike repetition or progression, transition tends to be a smoother flow, where the eye naturally glides from one area to another. The most common transition is the use of a curved line to gently lead the eye, such as an arched doorway or winding path.
Balance refers to the arrangement of objects that create an even feel in a room. It brings equilibrium to the space. This means large and small items in the room should be distributed evenly. The entire room should be comfortable to the eye. There should be nothing annoying or awkward. If something seems out of place in the room, take it out.
Just as it sounds radial balance is almost circular – distributed arrangement of items around a central point either extending outward or inward. Common examples of radial balance translated to the interior environment include chairs centered around a table, the structure of a circular rotunda, or even a circular lighting fixture. If you wish to create focus on a central item, applying radial balance (so that the your attention is directed inward) is a great way to achieve this.
Emphasis is the design principle that deals with the dominance of area of interests, or focal points. If you want to achieve an effective, engaging design, you should aim to have a coexistence of dominant and subordinate elements to draw the eye around the interior.
Contrast is best explained in the cliché, opposites attract. It is achieved in all elements of design by using one element that differs in color or shape among objects. Contrast can be used to create interest in a room. The décor in your room should maintain the same style but vary in the elements of color, pattern, size, and others.
When you put one rough-textured furniture in a room full of smooth textured ones, you achieve contrast.
Interior designers are sometimes become too pre-occupied with monotone colors for area rugs, sofas, and drapery or matching all wood finishes. Contrasting colors can be pleasing to the eye if done well, especially if combined with textures in furniture and accessories. Some examples are contrasting dark wood furniture with white or ivory colored and textured fabrics. Adding texture to fabric or furniture also tones down the contrast effect. A rattan- or banana leaf-woven chair with a white herringbone tweed-covered cushion is not as cold in a room as a black lacquered chair with white polyester cushions.
Interior design’s biggest enemy is boredom. A well-designed room always has, depending on the size of it, one or more focal points. A focal point must be dominant to draw attention and interesting enough to encourage the viewer to look further. A focal point thus must have a lasting impression but must also be an integral part of the decoration linked through scale, style, color or theme. A fireplace or a flat tv is the first example that most people think of when we talk about a room focal point.
Scale and Proportion – These two design principles go hand in hand, since both relate to size and shape. Proportion has to do with the ratio of one design element to another, or one element to the whole. Scale concerns itself with the size of one object compared to another.
Harmony results when all the design elements relate to one another in some way, creating a visually pleasing space. One way it can be achieved is by using one color throughout a space, but in different textures shapes or sizes. Or you can combine patterns and prints as long as they have the same scale, motif or color palette. They don’t have to match, just share something similar.
unity refers to the blending of all elements and principles of design. Unity exudes a feeling that all objects in a room look like they belong together.
Variety is the spice of life. Can you imagine living in a world where everything was the same colour or every person had the same personality? Boring! In everything we do and everywhere we go, variety makes things interesting and exciting. Variety in interior design can come as a unique shape or form, a contrasting colour, or as varying patterns or textures; the use of it adds diversity to interiors. Variety can be achieved by using opposites or strong contrasts, changing an angle or a point of view, or by breaking a repeating pattern to create a focal point.
These are basic building blocks for any kind of design. In interior design, a designer uses these element to create the desired effect in a space or to evoke a certain feel or atmosphere.
Primary Colours - These are colours that cannot be created through the mixing of other colours. They are colours in their own right. The three primary colours can be seen below RED - YELLOW - BLUE.
Primary colours can be mixed together to produce SECONDARY COLOURS. The table below shows the combination required to produce secondary colours.
The colour wheel can be seen below and this can be used to help remember primary and secondary colours. The secondary colours are in between the primary colours - for example - between red and blue is purple. Quite simply, mixing the primary colours of red and blue paint together will produce the secondary colour purple.
An important rule of the colour wheel is that colours opposite to each other on the colour wheel usually work well together as a colour scheme. These are known as COMPLEMENTARY COLOURS. Complimentary colours are often used together in graphic design as they tend to give the image/graphic a sense of balance and are visually more aesthetic.
COLOURS AND FEELINGS, EMOTIONS AND ATMOSPHERE
Designers have a large range of colours at their disposal and most are well aware that certain colours are associated with feelings and emotions. The diagram below show a number of popular colours and the feelings/emotions to which they are associated. Designers, companies and manufacturers use colours cleverly to promote a certain feeling about their products.
Colours also have an effect on your visitors before they begin to read the content of your web site or printed design. Thus, it is very important for you to consider your target audience, the psychology of color, and the corporate image you wish to project BEFORE you complete your design.
When colour is used correctly, it can add impact and clarity to your message and highlight important points. Alternatively When colour is used incorrectly, it can compromise your message and confuse your target audience.
Colour can work for your web site and printed materials in various ways:
Colour emphasizes, highlights, and leads the eye to important points or links.
Colour identifies recurring themes (i.e. titles and subtitles are usually the same colors).
Conversely, colour can differentiate, such as different colors in pie charts and bar graphs.
Colour symbolizes and triggers emotions and associations.
The interpretation of a colour depends on culture, profession, and personal preference. In general, the colours red, orange, and yellow are "exciting" colours and the colors purple, blue, and green are "calming" colours.
Interpretation of colour is not always a matter of personal preference. For example, in Western cultures the colour white symbolizes purity; however, in China the colour white symbolizes death.
To summarise, it is very important to consider your target audience, the psychology of colour, and the image you wish to project before you construct your web-site, printed materials, and logo.
Warm colors include red, orange, and yellow, and variations of those three colors. These are the colors of fire, of fall leaves, and of sunsets and sunrises, and are generally energizing, passionate, and positive.
Cool colors include green, blue, and purple, are often more subdued than warm colors. They are the colors of night, of water, of nature, and are usually calming, relaxing, and somewhat reserved.
Blue is the only primary color within the cool spectrum, which means the other colors are created by combining blue with a warm color (yellow for green and red for purple). Greens take on some of the attributes of yellow, and purple takes on some of the attributes of red. Use cool colors in your designs to give a sense of calm or professionalism.
Neutral colors often serve as the backdrop in design. They’re commonly combined with brighter accent colors. But they can also be used on their own in designs, and can create very sophisticated layouts. The meanings and impressions of neutral colors are much more affected by the colors that surround them than are warm and cool colors.
While the information contained here might seem just a bit overwhelming, color theory is as much about the feeling a particular shade evokes than anything else. But here’s a quick reference guide for the common meanings of the colors discussed above:
Value could also be called “lightness.” It refers to how light or dark a color is. Lighter colors have higher values. For example, orange has a higher value than navy blue or dark purple. Black has the lowest value of any hue, and white the highest.
When applying color values to your designs, favor colors with different values, especially ones with high chroma. High contrast values generally result in more aesthetically pleasing designs.
A shade is created when black is added to a hue, making it darker. The word is often incorrectly used to describe tint or tone, but shade only applies to hues made darker by the addition of black.
In design, very dark shades are sometimes used instead of black and can serve as neutrals. Combining shades with tints is best to avoid too dark and heavy a look.
A tint is formed when white is added to a hue, lightening it. Very light tints are sometimes called pastels, but any pure hue with white added to it is a tint.
Tints are often used to create feminine or lighter designs. Pastel tints are especially used to make designs more feminine. They also work well in vintage designs and are popular on designs targeted at parents of babies and toddlers.
Chroma refers to the purity of a color. A hue with high chroma has no black, white or gray in it. Adding white, black or gray reduces its chroma. It’s similar to saturation but not quite the same. Chroma can be thought of as the brightness of a color in comparison to white.
In design, avoid using hues that have a very similar chroma. Opt instead for hues with chromas that are the same or a few steps away from each other.
Tones are created when gray is added to a hue. Tones are generally duller or softer-looking than pure hues.
Tones are sometimes easier to use in designs. Tones with more gray can lend a certain vintage feel to a design. Depending on the hues, they can also add a sophisticated or elegant look.
Texture refers to the surface quality of materials.
Tactile: the three-dimensional qualities can be felt (bricks, wood, stones etc.)
Visual: the materials reveal a textural pattern under a smooth surface (fabrics, laminates, wall coverings)
Pattern relates to the repetition of a graphic motif on a
material. Remember that texture refers to the 2D quality of a surface, where as
a pattern relates to illustrative perception.
In commercial interior design, pattern is often applied
using wallcoverings, tile, carpeting, and other graphic elements. Like texture,
pattern can also define surfaces, impact scale, convey a design style, and add
visual interest to a space. Be careful when applying pattern; if it’s not well
balanced it can really overwhelm an interior environment.
To achieve a feeling of correctness in Combining Patterns:
Representation that simplifies the subject, emphasizing its basic qualities.
The Egyptians developed post-and-lintel construction—the type exclusively used in their monumental buildings—even though the use of the arch was developed during the dynasty of Snefru (2780–2689 B.C.). Walls were immensely thick. Columns were confined to the halls and inner courts. Roofs, invariably flat, suited to the lack of rain, were of huge stone blocks supported by the external walls and the closely spaced columns.
Ancient Egyptian Symbols and Motifs to Remember (because they show up a whole bunch throughout Egypt’s architecture and culture). The list is quite vast of just how many the Egyptians worshiped and swore by, yet here are six important and reoccurring symbols and motifs.
#1: The Lotus Flower: symbol of sun and creation
#2: The Golden Ratio: ties toward eternal life and nature.The great Pyramids of Giza were constructed in the Golden Ratio: 1 to 1.618.
#3: The Ankh: a symbol of eternal life, often carried by Gods.
#4: The Feather of Maat: represents truth, justice, and balance.
#5: The Dieties: Ra (the sun), Anubus (the jackel), Bastet (the feline), Sekhmet (the lion), and Isis (the wigged female).
#6: The Scarab: represents the rolling sun across the sky.
The Egyptian Pyramids are colossal structures used by the ancient world for religious purposes. The largest and most remarkable of the pyramids occur in several groups on the west side of the Nile extending for a distance of twenty five miles reaching as far as Cairo (the capital city). The are built from hard limestone and large blocks of limestone, especially on the outside surface. They date from 3000 BC to 2300 BC. Great skill was needed to quarry these large blocks, transport them and then place them in position. The Ancient Egyptians were very well organised and they required a good understanding of technology, science and mathematicsto enable them to build what has become known as one of the wonders of the ancient world.
The Egyptians were experts, as we well know from museum pieces, in marquetry decorating furniture with inlays of wood or ivory. Royal or upper class furniture featured rare woods and elaborate inlays, such as a box from Tutankahamens tomb that is composed of an estimated 33,000 individual pieces of wooden inlay. Middle-class furniture was somewhat simpler in style and made from cheaper materials. Working class Egyptians had a full range of furniture that still had a sense of style but were made for more functional than aesthetic use. Of course, very poor people might have only had mud brick benches, covered with mats, in their homes as their primary furniture.
But for those who could afford it, furniture in ancient Egypt was much more than something to use for physical comfort. It was, in addition, another outlet for artistic perfection and connection with the beauty of the natural world. In royal circles, furniture was so prized that it was often given as a diplomatic gift either in individual pieces or whole suites to rulers of foreign lands. Little did they know, these ancient Egyptian craftsmen, that their extreme skill would still be coveted four thousand years later.
In ancient Egypt chairs appear to have been of great richness and splendour. Fashioned of ebony and ivory, or of carved and gilded wood, they were covered with costly materials and supported upon representations of the legs of beasts or the figures of captives. Egyptians believed that the chairs need to represent natural forms to avoid creating chaos in the universe, by creating an artificial object. This tendency is seen all over Egyptian art and manufacture. An arm-chair in fine preservation found in a tomb in the Valley of the Kings is astonishingly similar, even in small details, to that "Empire" style which followed Napoleon’s campaign in Egypt. The earliest monuments of Nineveh represent a chair without a back but with tastefully carved legs ending in lions' claws or bulls' hoofs. Others are supported by figures in the nature of caryatides or by animals.
The most common feature in Egyptian homes was the stool, which was easily moved from place to place. And according to archaeologists, stools have lasted more than any other furniture items. Throughout Egyptian history, stools were made of a variety of materials and styles wood, wicker or leather; animal-legged with papyrus side rails, lattice worked stools, three-legged and squared-legged stools.One stool that became very popular in the Middle Kingdom (2000-1630 B.C.E.) was the folding stool, which probably had its origins in the military as a portable camp stool. Because of the military association, the folding stool became a status symbol, and wealthy homes featured stools with elaborately inlaid decorations of graceful animal figures, such as ducks. Many Egyptologists believe that the high-back chairs often depicted in banquet scenes evolved from the stool through the addition of a increasingly higher back. The Egyptians enjoyed seat pads, mattresses and cushions that were often quite plush and stuffed with goose down or dried leaves.
Tables, another very common furniture piece in the Egyptian home, were often made of wood and stone, and sat quite low to the ground. Therefore, the ancient Egyptians must have stooped down at them for meals, game playing or writing or other activities. Most of the tables were small and portable and made for individual use. According to Sibal, there were other types of tables: There was the offering table that held food the ancient Egyptians symbolically gave to their deceased. The people also used displayed vases and other ceramics on these small tables. The large permanent dining table that seated several people is only a couple of centuries old in Egypt.
Bed styles in ancient Egypt remained very much the same for over 2000 years. They are among the most intriguing of furniture items because of their structure. Many were slanted down at an incline from the headboard. A footboard ensured that the sleeper would not slip off in the middle of the night. Furniture makers also constructed side rails on many beds. Almost all beds featured legs in the form of animal legs, ranging from heavy bulls legs to gazelle-like forms with hooves, and the feline type with paw and claw, frequently identified as lions legs. The mattress was usually made of wooden slats, plaited string, or reeds, which then held woolen cushions or some other soft material. Sheets were made of linen.
In ancient Egypt, color was an integral part of the substance and being of everything in life. The color of something was a clue to the substance or heart of the matter. When it was said that one could not know the color of the gods, it meant that they themselves were unknowable, and could never be completely understood. In art, colors were clues to the nature of the beings depicted in the work. For instance, when Amon was portrayed with blue skin, it alluded to his cosmic aspect. Osiris' green skin was a reference to his power over vegetation and to his own resurrection.
Of course, not every use of color in Egyptian art was symbolic. When overlapping objects, such as when portraying a row of oxen, the colors of each animal is alternated so as to differentiate each individual beast. Apart from these practical considerations though, it is safe to say that the Egyptian use of color in their art was largely symbolic.
The Egyptian artist had at his disposal six colors, including black and white. These colors were generated largely from mineral compounds and thus retain their vibrancy over the millennia. Each of these colors had their own intrinsic symbolic meaning, as shown below. However, the ambivalence of meaning demonstrated by some should be carefully noted.
The color green (wadj) was the color of vegetation and new life. To do "green things" was slang for beneficial, life-producing behavior. As mentioned above, Osiris was often portrayed with green skin and was also referred to as "the Great Green". Green malachite was a symbol of joy and the land of the blessed dead was described as the "field of malachite." In Chapter 77 of the Book of the Dead, it is said that the deceased will become a falcon "whose wings are of green stone". Highly impractical of course, it is obvious that the color of new life and re-birth is what is important. The Eye of Horus amulet was commonly made of green stone as well.
The pigment green could be produced from a paste manufactured by mixing oxides of copper and iron with silica and calcium. It could also be derived from malachite, a natural copper ore.
Red (desher) was the color of life and of victory. During celebrations, ancient Egyptians would paint their bodies with red ochre and would wear amulets made of cornelian, a deep red stone. Seth, the god who stood at the prow of the sun's barque and slew the serpent Apep daily, had red eyes and hair.
Red was also a symbol of anger and fire. A person who acted "with a red heart" was filled with rage. "To redden" meant "to die". Seth while the god of victory over Apep, was also the evil murderer of his brother Osiris. His red coloration could take on the meaning of evil or victory depending on the context in which he is portrayed. Red was commonly used to symbolize the fiery nature of the radiant sun and serpent amulets representing the "Eye of Re" (the fiery, protective, and possibly malevolent aspect of the sun) were made of red stones.
The normal skin tone of Egyptian men was depicted as red, without any negative connotation.
Red paint was created by Egyptian artisans by using naturally oxidized iron and red ocher.
The color white (hedj and shesep) suggested omnipotence and purity. Due to its lack of color white was also the color of simple and sacred things. The name of the holy city of Memphis meant "White Walls." White sandals were worn at holy ceremonies. The material most commonly used for ritual objects such as small ceremonial bowls and even the embalming table for the Apis Bulls in Memphis was white alabaster. White was also the heraldic color of Upper Egypt. The "Nefer", the crown of Upper Egypt was white, even though originally is was probably made of green reeds.
The pure white color used in Egyptian art was created from chalk and gypsum.
In ancient Egypt, black (kem) was a symbol of death and of the night. Osiris, the king of the afterlife was called "the black one." One of the few real-life people to be deified, Queen Ahmose-Nefertari was the patroness of the necropolis. She was usually portrayed with black skin, although she was not a negro. Anubis, the god of embalming was shown as a black jackal or dog, even though real jackals and dogs are typically brown.
As black symbolized death it was also a natural symbol of the underworld and so also of resurrection. Unexpectedly perhaps, it could also be symbolic of fertility and even life! The association with life and fertility is likely due to the abundance provided by the dark, black silt of the annually flooding Nile. The color of the silt became emblematic of Egypt itself and the country was called "kemet" (the Black Land) by its people from early antiquity.
Black pigments were created from carbon compounds such as soot, ground charcoal or burnt animal bones.
The color yellow (khenet, kenit) was created by the Egyptian artisans using natural ochres or oxides. During the latter part of the new Kingdom, a new method was developed which derived the color using orpiment (arsenic trisulphide).
Both the sun and gold were yellow and shared the qualities of being imperishable, eternal and indestructible. Thus anything portrayed as yellow in Egyptian art generally carried this connotation. The skin and bones of the gods were believed to be made of gold. Thus statues of gods were often made of, or plated with gold. Also, mummy masks and cases of the pharoahs were often made of gold. When the pharoah died he became the new Osiris and a god himself. In the image to the right of the Opening of the Mouth Ceremony, note the skin tones of the mummy and Anubis. Both are divine beings and both have golden skin. Compare this to the priest and the mourning women, who have the classic reddish-brown and pale pink skin tones of humans.
"White gold", an alloy of gold and silver (electrum), was seen as being the equivalent to gold and sometimes white was used in contexts were yellow would typically be used (and vice-versa).
"Egyptian blue" (irtiu, sbedj) was made combining iron and copper oxides with silica and calcium. This produced a rich color however it was unstable and sometimes darkened or changed color over the years.
Blue was symbolic of the sky and of water. In a cosmic sense, this extended its symbolism to the heavens and of the primeval floods. In both of these cases, blue took on a meaning of life and re-birth.
Blue was naturally also a symbol of the Nile and its associated crops, offerings and fertility. The phoenix, which was a symbol of the primeval flood, was patterned on the heron. Herons naturally have a gray-blue plumage. However, they were usually portrayed with bright blue feathers to emphasize their association with the waters of the creation. Amon was often shown with a blue face to symbolize his role in the creation of the world. By extension, the pharoahs were sometimes shown with blue faces as well when they became identified with Amon. Baboons, which are not naturally blue, were portrayed as blue. It is not certain why. However, the ibis, a blue bird was a symbol of Thoth, just like the baboon was. It may be that the baboons were colored blue to emphasize their connection to Thoth.
Romanesque architecture is an architectural style of Medieval Europe, characterized by semi-circulararches, and evolving into the Gothic style, characterised by pointed arches, beginning in the 12th century. Although there is no consensus for the beginning date of the style, with proposals ranging from the 6th to the 10th centuries, examples can be found across the continent, making Romanesque architecture the first pan-European architectural style since Imperial Roman Architecture. The Romanesque style in England is more traditionally referred to as Norman architecture.
Gothic architecture is a style of architecture that flourished during the high and late medieval period. It evolved from Romanesque architecture and was succeeded by Renaissance architecture.
Renaissance architecture is the architecture of the period between the early 15th and early 17th centuries in different regions of Europe, demonstrating a conscious revival and development of certain elements of ancient Greek and Roman thought and material culture. Stylistically, Renaissance architecture followed Gothic architecture and was succeeded by Baroque architecture. Developed first in Florence, with Filippo Brunelleschi as one of its innovators, the Renaissance style quickly spread to other Italian cities. The style was carried to France, Germany, England, Russia and other parts of Europe at different dates and with varying degrees of impact.
In the Quattrocento, concepts of architectural order were explored and rules were formulated. The study of classical antiquity led in particular to the adoption of Classical detail and ornamentation.
Space, as an element of architecture, was utilised differently from the way it had been in the Middle Ages. Space was organised by proportional logic, its form and rhythm subject to geometry, rather than being created by intuition as in Medieval buildings. The prime example of this is the Basilica di San Lorenzo in Florence by Filippo Brunelleschi (1377–1446).
During the High Renaissance, concepts derived from classical antiquity were developed and used with greater surety. The most representative architect is Bramante (1444–1514) who expanded the applicability of classical architecture to contemporary buildings. His San Pietro in Montorio (1503) was directly inspired by circular Roman temples. He was, however, hardly a slave to the classical forms and it was his style that was to dominate Italian architecture in the 16th century.
During the Mannerist period, architects experimented with using architectural forms to emphasize solid and spatial relationships. The Renaissance ideal of harmony gave way to freer and more imaginative rhythms. The best known architect associated with the Mannerist style was Michelangelo (1475–1564), who is credited with inventing the giant order, a large pilaster that stretches from the bottom to the top of a façade. He used this in his design for the Campidoglio in Rome.
Baroque architecture is the building style of the Baroque era, begun in late 16th-century Italy, that took the Roman vocabulary of Renaissance architecture and used it in a new rhetorical and theatrical fashion, often to express the triumph of the Catholic Church and the absolutist state. It was characterized by new explorations of form, light and shadow and dramatic intensity.
Whereas the Renaissance drew on the wealth and power of the Italian courts and was a blend of secular and religious forces, the Baroque was, initially at least, directly linked to the Counter-Reformation, a movement within the Catholic Church to reform itself in response to the Protestant Reformation. Baroque architecture and its embellishments were on the one hand more accessible to the emotions and on the other hand, a visible statement of the wealth and power of the Church.
Rococo, also referred to as "Late Baroque", is an 18th-century artistic movement and style, which affected several aspects of the arts including painting, sculpture, architecture, interior design, decoration, literature, music and theatre. The Rococo developed in the early part of the 18th century in Paris, France as a reaction against the grandeur, symmetry and strict regulations of the Baroque, especially that of the Palace of Versailles. In such a way, Rococo artists opted for a more jocular, florid and graceful approach to Baroque art and architecture. Rococo art and architecture in such a way was ornate and made strong usage of creamy, pastel-like colours, asymmetrical designs, curves and gold. Unlike the more politically focused Baroque, the Rococo had more playful and often witty artistic themes.
Styles & Inﬂuences: English Renaissance, Gothic, Italianate, Flemish
Louis XIII furniture featured massive, solid construction with geometric carving. Furniture design was more opulent than during the Renaissance.Cherubs, scrolls, fruit, flowers and foliage were common decorative themes. Lathe-turning and moulding techniques also influenced appearance.The emerging middle class fueled the demand for furniture. For the first time people expected furniture to be comfortable as well as beautiful, and fixed upholstery was one of the great inventions of this period. Leather, tapestries and fine fabrics were nailed directly to the chair’s wooden framework; seats and backs were padded.The principal pieces of furniture included tall cupboards, full dressers, cabinets and buffets with carved doors and mouldings. Ebony was a commonly used carving material.
Louis XIV - 1640-1715
Louis XIV, also known as "The Sun King", had the longest reign of any European monarch. His focus on opulence and splendor was imposed upon France. The Palace at Versailles is a lasting example of his love of the arts and luxury. French court furniture was built for grandeur rather than comfort and only the king was allowed to sit in an armchair. Stoolsand benches were covered in velvet, silk, damask, and gold brocade. Chairs and settees were just as elaborate.
Furniture introduced in this period includes the writing table or deskand finely detailed chests, which became one of the most important furniture types of the 18th century. The finest materials were used and the furniture is characterized by intricate marquetry, elaborate carving, gilding, inlaying, lacquer, gold leaf decorations ofscalloped shells, lions' heads, dolphins, laurels and, of course, the sun and its rays.
There was an increasing fascination with the Far East and all things Asian. French craftsmen copied the style and added flourishes of their own. This was the beginning of "chinoiserie". The "Os de Mouton" chair is the one of the most significant pieces of the era. As the name implies, this chair had curved legs shaped like those of a lamb.
Régence - 1715-1730
Following the death of Louis XIV, his 5 year old great grandson (and heir to the throne) became Louis XV. Since he was too young to take the throne, his uncle Philippe, the Duke of Orleans, was appointed as Regent. The transition between the monarchs became known as the French Regency. Offended by the spectacle of Versailles during the Sun King's reign, the Duke moved the royal court to Paris, where courtiers lived in less extravagant hotel particuliers or private residences.
It was in this period that the apartment came into being. An apartment of this time, although lavish by today's standards, would have been a much more intimate setting than the fortress and cathedral like homes of the prior periods. The smaller scale of these homes introduced an era oflighter, more graceful furniture. Asymmetrical curved linesreplaced symmetrical straight lines and simple wood veneer replaced extravagant marquetry.
Flowing curves are found throughout Régence furniture. The "bombé"style commode was developed with plump sides and a convex curved front. Perhaps one of the most important characteristics of the period was the introduction of the cabriole leg. This carved 'S' shaped leg was used in armoires, bookcases, desks, sofas, and chairs.
Louis XV - 1730 to 1770
Louis XV reigned over the "Golden Age" of French decorative style. His rule was characterized by peace and prosperity during which the "Age of Enlightenment" brought about intellectualism and increasing influence by women of the court. Because of this, Louis XV style furniture (also known as rococo) was exquisite with graceful, feminine lines.
While the Baroque style of Louis XIV was focused on symmetry, rococo favored the asymmetry that came from the Régence era. Fruit woodsand rosewood took the place of darker woods. Wood would often be painted or lacquered. Extravagant marquetry and veneers were used as well as ornamental, gilded bronze. Many themes were used in the rococo style and decorative motifs included foliage, flowers, shells, fish, birds, vines, hearts, and ribbons. Parisian homes of this period had large crystal chandeliers and mantels with mirrored painted panels (trumeaux).
Louis XV favored furniture suited to conversation. His chair maker (Jean-Baptiste Tilliard) created the bergère, a curved armchair with a low seat and an exposed wooded frame which was highly carved and often gilded. This elaborate decoration showed that the chair was meant to be free standing and movable rather than placed against a wall.
Other new pieces to appear in this period included the secrétaire (fall-front writing desk), table-à-écrire (writing table), and bureau-à-cylindre (roll-top desk).
Louis XVI - 1770 to 1790
The Louis XVI period marked a return to symmetry, straight linesand classical ornamentation. In 1748, the unearthing of Pompeii brought about a classical revival in furniture making. This Neo-Classical style offered a contrasting response to the Rococo of Louis XV which came to be thought of as frivolous.
While the motifs of the natural world survived (garlands, urns, laurels, dolphins and eagles), they were paired with geometric designs. One of the popular woods of the period was mahogany, which had to be imported and was therefore used only for fine furniture. Instead of the cabriole leg of the Régence and Louis XV periods, a straight, tapered and (often) fluted leg was preferred. Case pieces, such as commodes and buffets, became more angular. Chairs of the period were fashioned in a wide variety of styles. The medallion and oval backed chairs are the most notable, although lyre or vase shaped backs were also common.
For the first time, during the Louis XVI period, chairs were made for solely for decorative purposes rather than comfort or function.
Directoire - 1790 to 1805
Following the French Revolution and execution of Louis XVI there was a natural break from the lavish royal style. The monarchy was gone and France was governed by the Directoire executif (executive directory), from which the name of the style derives. The Directoire period is much more subdued and austere (although many of the themes of the simpler late Louis XVI furniture continued). Geometric patterns were less extravagant. Motifs include arabesque and Etruscan themes, wreaths, torches, and other warlike emblems (reminiscent of the Revolution).
Overall, the circumstances of the war led to a decline in furniture quality and the availability of materials. Brass was often used in place of gilt-bronze and imported woods such as rosewood and mahogany were scarce. Most Directoire pieces were made of walnut and other fruitwoods which could be found in France.
Empire - 1805 to 1815
After many years of political instability, Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himself emperor of France in 1804. As the Empire period began, the economy boomed and a new haute bourgeois aristocracy who would desire fine furniture and decoration appeared.
Empire furniture is usually large and architectural elements such ascolumns and pilasters are common. Mahogany and rosewood, as well as ebonized wood were quite popular. Furniture would be decorated with brass and ormolu and inlaid with ivory or mother of pearl. Upholstering was done with embroidered fabrics and heavy brocade, often in bold stripes. Strong symmetrical designs replaced ornate carvings and rounded romantic shapes. Chairs often had stiff, square or rectangular backs and animal claw feet.
In its plainest form, Empire style is dignified and striking; however, furniture and decorative arts of the period are notable for exhibiting aconfusion of motifs. Artisans of the time were still heavily influenced by classical Greek and Roman design. A Napoleonic campaign into Egypt brought back a desire for Egyptian motifs, such as sphinxes. Napoleonic symbols were used regularly, specifically the initial "N", the emperor's monogram, and the bee (his emblem). Other design elements regularly found in Empire pieces are dolphins, swans, and mythical creatures.
Restoration - 1815 to 1830
Following the defeat and abdication of Napoleon in 1814, France restored the monarchy and Charles X took the throne. The royalty and aristocracy desired a return to luxury and opulence and there was a distinct shift to delicate, rounded forms, and fine decoration in furniture. The large form and geometric design of Empire furniture continued but lighter woods, such as elm and ash, were introduced and used with, or instead of, mahogany.
Arts and Crafts was an international design movement that flourished between 1860 and 1910, especially in the second half of that period, continuing its influence until the 1930s. It was led by the artist and writer William Morris (1834–1896) during the 1860s, and was inspired by the writings of John Ruskin (1819–1900) and Augustus Pugin (1812–1852). It developed first and most fully in the British Isles, but spread to the rest of Europe and North America. It was largely a reaction against the impoverished state of the decorative arts at the time and the conditions in which they were produced. It stood for traditional craftsmanship using simple forms and often applied medieval, romantic or folk styles of decoration. It advocated economic and social reform and has been said to be essentially anti-industrial.
The Arts and Crafts style started as a search for aesthetic design and decoration and a reaction against the styles that were developed by machine-production.
Arts and Crafts objects were simple in form, without superfluous or excessive decoration, and how they were constructed was often still visible. They tended to emphasize the qualities of the materials used ("truth to material"). They often had patterns inspired by British flora and fauna and used the vernacular, or domestic, traditions of the British countryside.
Art Nouveau is an international philosophy and style of art, architecture and applied art—especially the decorative arts—that was most popular during 1890–1910. English uses the French name "Art Nouveau" ("new art"), but the style has many different names in other countries. A reaction to academic art of the 19th century, it was inspired by natural forms and structures, not only in flowers and plants, but also in curved lines. Architects tried to harmonize with the natural environment.
Established in 1903, the Wiener Werkstätte (engl.: Vienna's Workshops) was a production community of visual artists in Vienna, Austria bringing together architects, artists and designers.
The enterprise evolved from the Vienna Secession, founded in 1897 as a progressive alliance of artists and designers. From the start, the Secession had placed special emphasis on the applied arts, and its 1900 exhibition surveying the work of contemporary European design workshops prompted the young architect Josef Hoffmann and his artist friend Koloman Moser to consider establishing a similar enterprise.
From as early as 1905, the Wiener Werkstatte produced occasional textile designs for use in interiors. From 1910, the Wiener Werkstatte established a textile workshop where textiles were both designed and printed. Though sources differ, at least 1,800 different designs were produced in multiple colorways by 80-100 artists. These textiles were used in Wiener Werkstatte designed interiors and fashions and were also purchased by other designers. Paul Poiret was particularly fond of Wiener Werkstatte textiles, using them in his own designs and establishing the Atelier Martine textile workshop, which was modeled on the Wiener Werkstatte. Though the textile designs certainly stand on their own, Poiret's interest probably helped Wiener Werkstatte textiles become the "Wiener Werkstatte's greatest international success."1 When the Wiener Werkstatte workshops began to shut-down in 1930-31, the textile workshop was the last workshop to close, a certain testament to its success.
Though the aesthetic of the Wiener Werkstatte leaned towards relatively unornamented geometric shapes and solid colors, Wiener Werkstatte textiles are exuberant in both color and design. Despite the sheer number of designers, Wiener Werkstatte textiles are generally united in their use of bright colors and fairly dense stylized patterns. All textiles produced by the Wiener Werkstatte were printed with "Wiener Werkstatte" and the pattern name in the selvedge. Though our textile swatches don't bear this information, we have been able to identify the pieces below through extensive research.
The beauty of Wiener Werkstätte jewelry — the first products made after the workshops began, in 1903 — lies in the way it blurs the line between precious ornament and miniature sculpture. Seeing jewelry as art was central to the Wiener Werkstätte philosophy. Its ideal was the gesamtkunstwerk, or total work of art, in which all elements of art, design and craft cohered into a visually unified entity.
The value of Wiener Werkstätte jewelry came not from the raw materials but from its aesthetic, the purview of artists and designers, and its craftsmanship, handled by the workshop’s expert artisans. So there is gold and silver, yet almost no diamonds, emeralds, rubies or other expensive gems.
In general, the celebrated Wiener Werkstätte artistic vision relied on geometric, simple, and abstract aesthetics, and is often credited with setting the tone for “Modernism” of the 20th century.
De Stijl Dutch for "The Style", also known as neoplasticism, was a Dutch artistic movement founded in 1917. In a narrower sense, the term De Stijl is used to refer to a body of work from 1917 to 1931 founded in the Netherlands.
Bauhaus, was a school in Germany that combined crafts and the fine arts, and was famous for the approach to design that it publicized and taught. It operated from 1919 to 1933. At that time the German term Bauhaus, literally "house of construction", stood for "School of Building".
The Bauhaus school was founded by Walter Gropius in Weimar. In spite of its name, and the fact that its founder was an architect, the Bauhaus did not have an architecture department during the first years of its existence. Nonetheless it was founded with the idea of creating a "total" work of art in which all arts, including architecture, would eventually be brought together. The Bauhaus style became one of the most influential currents in Modernist architecture and modern design. The Bauhaus had a profound influence upon subsequent developments in art, architecture, graphic design, interior design, industrial design, and typography.
Art Deco, or Deco, is an influential visual arts design style which first appeared in France after World War I, flourishing internationally in the 1930s and 1940s before its popularity waned after World War II. It is an eclectic style that combines traditional craft motifs with Machine Age imagery and materials. The style is often characterized by rich colors, bold geometric shapes, and lavish ornamentation.
Deco emerged from the Interwar period when rapid industrialization was transforming culture. One of its major attributes is an embrace of technology. This distinguishes Deco from the organic motifs favored by its predecessor Art Nouveau.
Historian Bevis Hillier defined Art Deco as "an assertively modern style [that] ran to symmetry rather than asymmetry, and to the rectilinear rather than the curvilinear; it responded to the demands of the machine and of new material [and] the requirements of mass production".
Scandinavian design emerged in the 1950s in the Scandinavian countries Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland. It is a design movement characterized by simplicity, minimalism and functionality.
Mid-Century modern is an architectural, interior, product and graphic design that generally describes mid-20th century developments in modern design, architecture and urban development from roughly 1933 to 1965.
The sun-kissed countryside bordering the Mediterranean Sea has inspired a timeless decorating style with a rich combination of influences from countries such as Spain, Italy, France, Greece, Morocco, Turkey and Egypt. The diversity of influences from European, African and Middle Eastern cultures gives Mediterranean style a distinctive, eclectic look that appeals to a wide audience. French Mediterranean is not a distinctive style itself, but more of a generalized term that can include traditional elements of French Country and French Provincial styles; the modern, upscale look of coastal French Riviera homes; and a hint of exotic, Moroccan and Middle Eastern styles as well.
Interiors that reflect the mediterranean style are typical of most coastal styles in that they celebrate the colors of sand, sun, sky and sea, as well as a love of sunshine and natural lighting. The color white is a common neutral color in the mediterranean color scheme, but these lively coastal dwellers will often through in a bold red to contrast the coast's natural colors. A warm sunshine yellow often makes a great accent color and contrasts beautifully with the blues and greens of the sea.
When decorating in a mediterranean style, think airy colors with grounded furnishings, lots of natural light, and interiors that embrace a fellowship with the sea and sky.
Cool white walls, warm red tiles, strong blue accents...
Furniture options for a French Mediterranean-style home include heavy, oversized, Old World pieces with detailed carvings, rustic iron hardware and rich, dark finishes. Lighter rustic wood furniture such as simple pine plank tables, pieces made from naturally weathered reclaimed wood, and cottage or shabby chic-style painted wood furniture with distressed finishes provide a lighter, more casual feel, common in French Country homes. Formal period furniture such as Louis XV-style pieces, mixed with the laid-back, contemporary coastal-style furniture found in modern French Riviera homes, creates a sophisticated, transitional style that retains the comfortable, welcoming atmosphere of Mediterranean-style design.
Moroccan decor is a blend of styles borrowed from various cultures. European influences from Spain, Portugal, and France are combined with Persian, Islamic, and African elements to produce a unique and colorful style. This ethnic room decor is characterized by vibrant textiles, colorful mosaics, and wooden furniture covered in natural materials that harmonize to create an opulent, multicultural theme. Ceramics, rugs, and paintings add splashes of vivid color, and geometric patterns are commonly seen.
This unique decor tries to bring elements of the outdoors into the home by using colors from the natural landscape. Blue and green are popular colors in traditional Moroccan decor, while the colors of the sunset and desert are also commonly used. Red, orange, gold, and jewel tones are used in mosaics, paintings, and fabrics.
Moroccan architecture typically features arches, and walls are often covered with intricate designs or hung with colorful tapestries. Hardwood floors and Persian rugs are characteristic of this unique style of decor. Texture is also an important element, with embroidered fabrics and plush pillows providing contrast to carved wooden furniture, metal scroll work, and plaster walls.
The lighting used in Moroccan decor is unique. Oil lamps, wall sconces, and hanging pendant lamps are common. Arabian style lanterns are also popular for the dim lighting characteristic of the traditional Moroccan home. Moroccan lights are frequently made of intricately carved wood, metal with fancy patterns cut out, and stained glass in jewel tones.
This decor can generally be classified as either urban or rural. The former style is contemporary, while the latter is more traditional. Urban Moroccan decor generally uses a few colorful decorations such as pillows or a colorful area rug and contrasts them with furniture that has a modern design and is covered in natural fabrics or leather. Rural or traditional Moroccan decor has much more ornamentation with lots of colorful textiles in vibrant tones.
Lush rugs and pillows are key for low-to-the ground seating and often come in bright colors that contrast with the traditional dark wood of the floor. Use traditional Moroccan patterned tapestry as rugs and wall hangings. Sheer silks in jewel tones can be draped across walls, bedposts and windows for movement and effect.
You might want to choose deep, blues – these are a very popular choice of color – especially for shutters, windows, woodwork and doors – probably because the color was thought to ward off evil spirits – which can’t be a bad thing!
For this look, base your colors around reds, pinks, oranges and yellows. These colors work very well used in cool climates, to help get that hot, desert feel.
A splash, or accent, of cobalt blue, will give a very Moroccan feel.
Again accents of gold and silver will bring that sumptuous feel to mind.
Zellige, zillij or zellij (Arabic: الزليج) is terra cotta tilework covered with enamel in the form of chips set into plaster. It is one of the main characteristics of the Moroccan architecture. It consists of geometrical mosaics made of ceramic used mainly as an ornament for walls, ceilings, fountains, floors, pools, tables, etc.
Morocco is home to the world’s best artisans and woodworkers who enjoy crafting high-end pieces of furniture and decorative products. The realm of Moroccan furniture has expanded over the years and now includes many designs and materials, from varying influences.
Intricately patterned lighting fixtures and lamps made of hand-tooled metal instantly evoke Morocco in your decor. Some may include tiles or stained glass mosaic work and come in the form of lanterns, chandeliers or sconces.
Bohemian style is difficult to create, because the very key to doing it successfully is to make it look completely effortless and unplanned. There are some must-haves: fabrics and patterns from around the world, art (especially old art), books and a certain devil-may-care messiness.
There are no rules when it comes to bohemian decorating, yet warm earthy colors are quite common, as are metallics. Think brown, terra cotta, gold and other colors in that family. Jewel tones like saturated purple, fiery orange and electric blue often make appearances in accessories like tapestries and art. The key to using color in bohemian decorating is to think warm. White has no place in a bohemian room. Be sure to mix lots of patterns and don't be afraid to use colors that wouldn't necessarily go together in a conventional way. Layer throws on top of furniture and hang try hanging tapestries and area rugs on the wall.
Bohemian furniture can't be bought in just any old store. Bohemian rooms tend to be full of furniture collected over time. Second hand and vintage items are right at home in these rooms. Shapes and sizes aren't nearly as important as they are in other styles of rooms. Each piece should be special and tell a story no matter what it looks like. No one should be able to walk in to a bohemian room and be able to tell where you got the furniture. With all that said, the most common type of furniture you'll find in bohemian rooms is Victorian in nature. Not dainty mind you, but the kind of furniture you could become engulfed in as you peruse the works of literary masters. Think chaises and fainting couches in saturated colors with dark carved wood frames.
Accessories in bohemian rooms should tell the story of the people who live there. Ornate boxes, vintage bottles, maps, and mismatched china – you name it. Bohemians travel so the items in a bohemian room should look like they've been collected from the world over. And keep in mind that just because bohemian tends to be offbeat it doesn't mean it can't be glamorous. Don't be afraid to use drippy crystal chandeliers and ornate gold mirrors. The only rule is that every item in the room should tell a story.
The key to using materials in this style of room is to mix and match. Use natural materials like burlap and sisal and mix them with silk and chenilles. The materials should have a slightly worn look (not damaged, but not shiny and new either). Everything can have fringe on it – from pillows, to curtains to lampshades.