Modern, Like You
For many of us, home has acquired new meaning, serving additional roles as our sanctuary, office, school, and gym. We are realizing just how versatile our homes can be as they function in more ways than ever. As we adapt, improve, and update our homes, aesthetics matter more than ever.
For these very reasons the interior design industry is robust and creativity is flowing. Products are evolving and modernizing like never before- traditional styles are getting fresh updates. Even the way in which we buy products for the home is changing- which means the creativity must extend beyond product design to digital marketing. Another thing we are seeing is a heightened focus on health and well-being and low maintenance, but I will get to that in a future post.
Today I am sharing some of my favorite modern finds, and if you love what you see, links will be provided at the end of this post.
Louis XV Refreshed
Brazil based Oficina Inglesa reminds us how well classics mix with contemporary, with the Trevisan Sofa. Their product line leans more to the traditional French styles, but as shown above, finishes and fabric can offer a lively update to a classic.
You might notice that a handful of the manufacturers mentioned in this piece are based in Portugal. Ottiu is one of them, and the above pictured Swanson Sofa, a nod to Gloria Swanson, blends mid-century with art deco styles.
The Tony Duquette Studio continues to create decorative home products under the direction of Hutton Wilkinson who has been Tony Duquette’s business partner since 1972. Maitland Smith’s 37 piece Tony Duquette Collection is solid gold for Hollywood glamourists- because when it comes to accessories, more is more!
Brabbu, another favorite contemporary Portuguese brand, has elegantly updated the stately wingback chair. Their new Iguazu II armchair in velvet modernizes the classic into a petite lounge chair with feminine curves and proportions- LOVE! Brabbu’s seating is consistently edgy and elegant.
Brabbu’s Bryce Console is equal parts furniture and art. Most of their product is whimsical and edgy. I love this brand. Although they don’t have a consistent US retail or trade show presence, you will definitely notice their product in high-end hospitality projects.
Regarded by many as an anomaly in the design world, Amsterdam’s creative genius Marcel Wanders is known for bringing a touch of surreal to contemporary design. His work excites and provokes, and never fails to surprise, celebrate, and entertain.
His above pictured Sofa So Good is a very customizable modular sofa system made of generous proportions and feather-like softness. Available in the US through Dallas showroom Scott + Cooner. (link below)
Classic French Gets a Facelift
“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist” -Pablo Picasso
The French company Moissonnier caught my eye because of their quality of work- both phenomenal reproductions for traditionalists AND the most incredible contemporary twists for modernists. Moissonnier, in business since 1885, describes their aesthetic as being at the crossroads of tradition and the avant garde.
Respect for the environment- Unlike 98% of the market, the wood that Moissonnier uses is not chemically-treated, it all has a traceable source and comes from sustainably-managed French forests.
Scroll down for two classical and two contemporary Moissonnier pieces:
Bold and innovative design: Defying accepted codes without breaking the rules is the Moissonnier way, and the results are remarkable. Princely furniture dressed in denim, and chests of drawers worthy of a Countess in shocking pink.
L.XV CHEST-OF-DRAWERS IN THE STYLE OF BERNARD II VAN RISENBURGH
As you can see, this cabinetmaker combines a commitment to traditional construction with the choice of exceptional finishes.
Next Level Modern Home Office
The Free Shapes Desk by Morocco based Atelier Landon provides a work from home fantasy.
Another beautiful updated classic is the Jacques desk, ebonized with gorgeous leather, yet completely customizable, by Oficina Inglesa.
Overdyes are such fun updates to traditional Oriental rugs, and Mineheart supercharges theirs with a vibrant pop of green. Love! Everything they create has an element of whimsy and humor. If you are not familiar with this UK based brand, the link is below.
We are seeing campaign style elements in some of the new product releases this year, such as this campaign-updated Klismos chair, the Mykonos Chair, available through John Richard.
Another campaign style update by New Orleans based Ave Home, the Small Carlyle Campaign Dresser. The smooth french navy finish adds a nice update as well.
A huge round of applause for Dallas based Denise McGaha, who has given the traditional fireplaces a revitalizing update with her incredible McGaha Collection of seven style options in five natural stone variations. Available through Materials Marketing, Link below.
Modern Walls Need Modern Art
Self-taught Mexican painter Pedro Bonnin creates hyperrealistic paintings in oil that combine whimsy and provocation. His stylish paintings of tumbling, lingerie-clad people wearing sunglasses call to mind the cheeky and subversive work of fashion photographers like Helmut Newton and Guy Bourdin. Represented by California based Madison Gallery, link below.
Lino Lago‘s Fake Abstract (Gold on Ingres) is oil on linen with gold leaf. The art history major in me loves this whimsical nod to a classic. Represented by California based Madison Gallery, link below.
Lighting As an Art Form
London based Square In Circle Studio’s Signature Pendant. The studio explores lighting design in minimal, geometric forms inspired by the Modernist Era. Materials such as marble, metal and glass combine to make each sculptural piece a ‘total and complete work of art’.
Ornamental elements of French Gardens and architectural topiaries inspire the lighting of French Company Forestier. This fashionable Gravity Pendant Lamp promises to update and bejewel a room. Forestier lighting is represented by Lumens.
Another Portuguese company, Castro Lighting, has a beautiful offering of abstract architecturally inspired contemporary lighting. Pictured above: Labics Suspension.
Modernization of how we buy product
and the power of social media
Times are changing in interesting ways – so we are going to switch gears to focus on direct to customer shopping. Cool new products are now more accessible, with social media as a powerful accelerator for entrepreneurs. Here are three examples of shopping in the New Now that I LOVE:
The House of Spoils mission is simple — to support emerging photographers and to provide customers with exceptional artwork for their walls. Gallery quality, fine art photography, from a global collective of artists- wow. The photography is super cool- and scalable- and the framing and shipping are free. If you are not familiar with House Of Spoils, be sure to check out the link below.
Here’s an interesting one. Cool distressed vintage looking oriental rugs that are washable and extremely affordable. To answer your likely next question of how affordable, think a 9×12 in the $350 range.
I don’t believe that these rugs are designed to fool an expert. Advertised as ‘made for a living room not a showroom’, they are made for families with high traffic or high living scenarios like kids and pets. These rugs can be LAUNDERED at home. Legions of customers who saw these items on social media, liked what they see enough to place orders, and then share their photos and experiences in reviews. The customer has become the advertiser. The two who dominate this space are The Rug Collective (pictured above) and Ruggable.
Another social media success story. Super soft and affordable bedding-see the common thread here? This next company offers a straight forward product line geared to people who want to refresh their bedding game while shopping from home during the pandemic. Buffy offers something that I have long searched for – product designed with temperature regulation in mind: “Breeze” duvets for hot sleepers and “Cloud” duvets for cold sleepers. The breeze duvet is the world’s first 100% plant-based comforter made for the mass market, made entirely from eucalyptus, making for a highly breathable fill and outer layer. Both comforters are resistant to mold, mildew, and dust. All products are made with sustainable products and practices. The limited product line also offers sheets, duvet covers, and pillows. Surprisingly soft and better by the wash, everything is nicely packaged and promptly sent.
The digital media aspect of these last three is important to the success – customers who are open to discovering and buying product through social media are also going to advertise their experiences and share images (good or bad) on the same platform where they discovered the product. The world gets a front row seat to how issues are handled and resolved. Transparency breeds trust. Welcome to a modern way of shopping-
Atelier Landon (Maison & Objet)
Ave Home (High Point)
Brabbu (Maison & Objet)
Buffy (online only)
Castro Lighting (Maison & Objet)
Forestier (Maison & Objet)
House of Spoils (online only)
John Richard (High Point)
Mineheart (Maison & Objet)
Moissonnier (Maison & Objet)
Oficina Inglesa (Maison & Objet)
Rug Collective (online only)
Square In Circle Studio (Maison & Objet)
The Tony Duquette Collection (High Point)
Revised show schedules for 2021:
Maison & Objet– March 26-30 2021
Spring High Point Market has been moved to June 5-9
ICFF November 14-15