I’m fascinated by the idea of private space and the extent that studies have remained unchanged over the last 500 years. I found this image of Andrew Carnegie’s study, completed in 1901. Note the paintings around the room and the bust on the filing case. And the dinosaur too! If you are in New York, come to the Cooper-Hewitt gift shop and walk around the inner room of the shop which is what is left of the study in the current incarnation of the Carnegie mansion. The paintings and the woodwork are all that remain.
I’ve always imagined that whenever it is I finally have my own house with rooms to spare, I’d have a room dedicated just to displaying photographs, floor to ceiling all in identical black frames. Flipping through a book on wallpaper in interior decoration I found this image from 1762 the Castletown House, County Kildare: bingo! This room was created by Louisa Connolly over the course of her life — each print was individual and pasted to the wall with an accompanying decorative border to achieve this effect.
I’m drawn to multiples in design. I love wallpaper with its often repeating patterns, I love blocks of stamps, I was drawn to the multiple prints at the Photography museum and today at the flea market saw multiples again in the repeating pattern of Christmas Trees from turn of the century Germany scrapbooking paper. I don’t see all the edges of this yet — I used to just think I was into wallpaper — but I’m beginning to think that its more about multiples in design. Just a note to myself (images to follow) and keep trying to identify what holds my attention about multiples and how to apply it to my business and art.
While I dislike the pollution, heat and general sense of dislocation I’m experiencing as a traveler in Paris, I would move here just for the bakery bags (and for Kayser). They are such lovely bits of design in the everyday. Scanned examples to follow PP (post Paris).
Today, at the flea market at St. Ouen I fell in love with the shop Daniel et Lili and I’m sure I’m not the first. It is stuffed to the brim, floor to ceiling, with clear plastic boxes full of buttons, hair clips, combs, earrings, beads, vintage ribbon, wallpaper, decals of all sorts of monuments in Europe, plastic bangle from the 70s and 80s (including some florescent colors I haven’t seen SINCE the 80s), cards, religious icons of the Mother Mary and misc. paper goods (more on that later).
I spent two hours looking at everything twice. A designer’s dream — a museum of sorts to accessory deign in the last hundred years. I felt like I was stuffing my face with the best buttery croissant except it was plastic bric-a-brac and paper goods I was gorging on. I ended up with red paper lobsters, gold paper elephants, tiny pink pigs, elegant blue and pink paper lovebirds nesting, cowboys, circus animals, christmas trees (in multiples), a decal or two, easter bunnies in elegant pastels, some interesting cards that I bought for their folds (they might become Abigail Stationery cards someday) and two pink art deco-y combs that made me feel cool and sexy in 90 degrees.
I’ll post images of all the loot as soon as I am home in Brooklyn with my scanner. UPDATE — Here they are!
I’ll keep it quick since its decidedly not on the topic of design: everyone has a favorite Paris bakery and this is mine. Bread is perfect and I’m hoping to try one of everything they make by the time we leave in a week and a half.
8, rue Monge Ve arr.
TÃ©l: 00 33 1 44 07 01 42
Ouvert de 7h Ã 20h30 (sans interruption)
FermÃ© le mardi
MÃ©tro: Ligne 10 Maubert-MutualitÃ©
I saw a formal garden today where the gardener had used RHUBARB in the most elegant and beautiful way. RHUBARB. My mother grew rhubarb in the back yard in Vermont and it was practically a weed. An unexpected daily pleasure here is the way the plants and garden design are taken seriously everywhere you turn — from a perfectly planted window box to the lush, clipped, perfectly manicured parks and yards. Photos to follow.
We went to the Musee de Cluny today to escape the heat. The site was originally Roman baths and then later an abbey — a somewhat odd juxtaposition. I could still smell the wet presence of the baths which make the museum all the more cool and lovely inside.
I visited Meeta in Oxford and we went to Bath and stopped at the Roman baths there — the smell there was identical to the smell at Cluny today — earthy, damp, limestone — which a perfect antidote to the heat, noise and pollution of Paris.
From the decorative arts perspective, however, the tapestry of the Lady and the Unicorn was the highlight of the museum. It has been superbly curated; you step up and around a corner into a darkened room and when you turn the corner, there it is, coolly glowing at you. Dramatic, yes, but deservedly so. I want to know more about it — how long it took to weave, how many weavers there were, why it was commissioned. Compared to the other art of the period, which to me appears religious and moody, this tapestry vibrates with a vitality missing from much of the other art in the museum.