Thursday, April 29, 2010

Day of Wine and Roses

For two nights and one day we enjoyed a well earned break from Sample Board Online and other work commitments among beautiful roses and vineyards. Last month we took a quick drive over the border to South Australia to see my Mum. The visit to the world famous Barossa Valley wine region was a highlight of the trip. We have lived in South Australia and have visited the valley many times.

As you travel along the hills and dales toward the main villages of the valley the rolling hills, stone walls and delightful stone buildings are a sight to behold. Many of the settlers in the Barossa came from Germany.

However it is interesting to note the oldest family owned winery in Australia is Yalumba. It was founded in 1849 by Samuel Smith an English man. Over the years we have had great times in the Valley. One of Mum’s last outings was to a Big Band event performed by the Australian Orchestra at a Barossa winery.

On this visit we stayed in a room on a hill with a balcony overlooking the Chateau Barrosa and rose garden. I have not visited the Chateau before and was delighted to find not only a gift shop and cellar door but an amazing antique collection housed in the sparkling formal rooms with smooth shiny marble floors and three glittering Marie Theresa style chandeliers.

The antique collection was gathered over the years by Herman and Inge Thumm. Herman founded Yaldara in 1947 when he arrived from war torn Europe. After he had established his winery he and Inge started to research and collect antiques. Their collection of 19th century porcelain (Meissen, Sevre, Worchester, Chelsea and Stinton) is considered one of the best in Australia

Also on view a pair of 19th century rococo marble topped consoles, 19th century Chinese ebony table, English gilt wood sofa and chairs around an oval walnut salon table, a writing desk in the Napoleon III Louis XV style and a mahogany sideboard in the Sheraton style.

One of the most interesting items is an 18th century leather screen. The Chateau Barrosa was built to house this wonderful collection.

Hemann Thumm said

‘The happy relationship between wine,

art and creativity can be traced back into antiquity’

On this occasion we found this to be so.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sample Board Online looks at links between 1920's Sonia and 1970's Susan

Sonia was a painter, textile designer and set designer in Paris during the 1920’s and 1930’s making her part of the fashion scene of Cocco Chanel. She used geometric designs, colourful shapes and lines.

Jacques Heim a Parisian designer and manufacturer of furs shared a fashion studio with her and she participated in the Art Deco International Exposition in 1925.

Sonia Delaunay brought the intense colours and forms of Van Gogh, Gauguin and Cubism into textiles. She expressed colour in terms of musical scales, harmonies and rhythms.

The influence of the Russian patchwork quilts of her childhood were reflected in her work.

Susan Collier was inspired by the work of Sonia in the 1970’s. One of her most famous designs when she worked at Liberty Studio was the Kasak. I remember this style was still popular in the 1980’s.

Sonia stated: 

‘He who knows how to appreciate colour relationships, the influence of one colour on another, their contrasts and dissonances, is promised an infinitely diverse imagery’ 

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Coco Pablo and Others

During the continuous Paris party of the 1920’s Coco became famous. In the book ‘Getting Along Famously’ by Melissa Hellstern the columnist Henry Bernstein described Coco’s Faubourg Saint-Honore home in this way; ‘... delicate and endless reflections of mirrors, sumptuous lacquers and white violence of legions of peonies.....’     

Into this scene many up and coming artists drifted. For a time Pablo Picasso kept a room at Coco’s Paris apartment. The images in this blog will give you an idea of what Pablo was creating at this time. 

She also helped Igor Stravinsky and his family find a home and offered financial assistance. Igor the Russian composer, pianist and conductor became famous for the music for three ballets he composed for Sergei Diaghilev. Sergei was the founder of the Ballets Russes. Stravinsky went on to be considered one of the most (according to Time) influential people of the 20th century.

The artists, musicians and designers who worked with Sergi besides Chanel and Picasso, were Braque, Matisse and Miro among others.      
What a fascinating time this must have been and there was Coco in the thick of it. She had started out her fashion career making hats and she went on to become the first fashion designer to be properly received into Parisian society.  

Coco stated
‘Life as actually experienced is of little account. 
But the life one has dreamed of 
that’s what matters, 
because it will continue after one’s death’

The impact of Coco and the many other great artists who surrounded her life certainly continues today. I am very grateful that while studying visual art we had lectures with dance, music and drama students and studied these topics as well. This helped developed an appreciation of the links between all the creative arts and how the can inform and inspire each other.    


Thursday, April 22, 2010

A sample of Coco on Sample Board Online

Last week I came across images of Coco Chanel’s apartment on the website. I was particularly impressed by the staircase. What a remarkable women; Coco’s influence can still be felt today. Think Chanel No 5.

During 1922 the colour beige became the rage. Coco Chanel made the greatest impact on style in the 1920’s.She had her salon decorated in beige. Coco designed collarless tweed jackets in shades of subtle beige. She also used flesh coloured stockings with pale beige shoes to emphasize the length of the leg. The heels and toes of the shoes were black.

Coco created clothes modelled on the Englishman’s tailored styles. This included pullovers in pale shades. She also introduced the little black dress, bell bottomed trousers and was famous for the Chanel suit still in style today.

Chanel moved in artistic circles. Pablo Picasso, Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Diaghilev and Salvador Dali were among the men she met at dinner parties held by her great friend Misia Sert. The Paris of 1925 was a perpetual party according to George Auric.

Coco Chanel changed the fashion of the masses. She transformed women’s fashion by removing corsets, whalebone stays and chokers from her designs. She also encouraged women to cut their hair. She advocated sunbathing and bathing suits rebelling against the conventions of the day.

At this time glitter was introduced into the home, glossy lacquered furniture and screens, shiny floor tiles, and varnished walls. Gold, silver, bronze, steel and chrome were combined with marble and glass as ornaments on furniture. In the early 20’s silver and black were high fashion colours in decor.

Sonia Delaunay brought the intense colours and forms of Van Gogh, Gauguin and Cubism into textiles. She expressed colour in terms of musical scales, harmonies and rhythms.

I was going to finish this subject in one blog but I will finish for today and continue the discussion later giving Coco the last word today.
‘Fashion is not something 
that exists in dresses only. 
Fashion is in the sky, in the street, 
fashion has to do with ideas, 
the way we live, what is happening.’ 
Coco Chanel

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Old becomes new again

Can you remember linoleum floors? I can remember both my Irish grannies having lino floors in their Belfast homes. Maybe that is why in my mind linoleum has always seemed old fashioned. Yet Linoleum is made from renewable resources and is biodegradable making it a good environmentally sustainable choice for flooring.

A number of years ago I was ill for a long time. During my recovery I would visit the library and select books to help me pass the time. Since then I have continued the habit. I always select a number of books on design. Last week I found a great book on Linoleum by Jane Powell. The 1920's and Retro images are from the book.

Frederick Walton an English rubber manufacturer invented Linoleum in the 1860’s. It is made from linseed oil, wood flour, rosin, cork powder, quarried lime stone, jute, natural tree resins and pigments.
When vinyl flooring became popular in the 1960’s the old fashioned styles and colours of linoleum fell out of favour. In recent years architects and designers have encouraged the eco friendly lino makeover. It is now available in about 100 colours and a range of patterns and textures.

Linoleum cost more than vinyl, but is cheaper than many other flooring materials. However lino does last longer, does not show scratches and scuffs, it is waterproof and fire resistant. Lino can also help indoor air quality and has antibacterial properties. It can be easily cleaned without harsh chemicals. This makes lino a great choice for use in hospitals, clinics and surgeries.

With so many materials creating the sick house syndrome linoleum can be a healthy alternative for flooring in the home.

I read this quote by James Baldwin in a biography on Morris West 

‘History … does not refer merely,
or even principally to the past. 
On the contrary, the great force of history 
comes from the fact that we carry it within us, 
are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways 
and history is literally present in all that we do’  

I believe this is true of interior design. Understanding the past can inform our present. The old can become new again.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Designers cosmopolitian, green garden party and feather and lace treat

Last year I came across the brilliant work of a young graphic designer. How I discovered her was another of those serendipities of life. An Australian design show called homeMade was screened last year. I followed the show and advised my students to watch the show.

During one show they mentioned a new type of floor surface. But I was interrupted and did not get the full details. The next day I did a web search and discovered the young graphic designer Lyndsay. She was following the show and writing about it in her blog.

The amazing thing was Lyndsay lives a few streets away. I did not discover this until another graphic designer I was working with on a Sample Board Online project mentioned Lyndsay. We were talking about design in general and then he said ‘I know Lyndsay Rosena she lives only a few streets away.’

Isn’t life amazing?

Lyndsay runs a company called It’s A Date Event Design. Besides offering brilliant graphic design she coordinates the decoration for the event with the stationary.

Look at the wonderful examples of her work.

The examples of Lyndsay's work published here were created for a wedding expo. I am sure many brides would have been delighted with her work. I know I am. I just love good design

Friday, April 2, 2010

Gold Luxury at Sample Board Online

Adicolor Decorative Paints have added a new product to the Desire Luxury range ‘Gold’. The paint has been used as part of the redecoration of the Rockford Novotel at Darling Harbour.

Gold is eco friendly and non-toxic as are all the Adicolor ranges. After applying the pre tinted Fondo universal undercoat it takes just one coat of the Gold to create a great affect. This range is offered in 96 colours. The V.O.C content of Desire Luxury range is 36gr per liter.

A 250ml sample pot is available for $19.95 au. The cost for the 2 liter is $114 and the 4 liter is $221.50. The Adicolor range of Decorative Paints can create a funky contemporary look or an authentic traditional look. The possibilities are endless.

I have selected some of the Adicolor range of paints on the sample boards shown here.

Irish Joke
‘Where was Solomon’s temple? On the side of his head’