Our guest blogger today is Susan J. Slotkis, an interior designer, educator and author. She has practiced interior design through her design firm Profiles – Personalized Interiors, and has leveraged her knowledge and expertise into teaching and publishing at the collegiate level. Today, she is an adjunct assistant professor at Fashion Institute of Technology and lecturer at New York University. She has developed and taught interior design seminars and courses for private groups and colleges. Susan’s first book, Foundations of Interior Design, published by Fairchild Books in 2006, has been touted as the essential source book for students, seasoned practitioners and industry partners. Her second book will be published in 2012.
I slowly digested the newest collection to savor all it has to offer. Not only am I interested in color and texture, but historical references within a current context. What resonated for me was a language of Art Deco and Jazz. Some of the vocabulary:
Rhythm - Exotic - Tribal - Primitive - Geometric - Cubism - Abstract-Stylized - Sensual Zig-Zag
Here's my take on just one story from the latest Robert Allen Modern Library collection. Combine several of the faux skins and primitive geometric textures in the warm rich tones (e.g. copper and magenta); add saturated blues such as the vibrant Go Go in Abracadabra (think Kate's sapphire engagement ring). Then, let freedom ring!
Jazz Poster; Go Go, Abracadabra; Tracing, Magenta
Why jazz and Art Deco for inspiration? Jazz, considered true American music with its roots in Africa, peaked in popularity in the Art Deco period in the 1930s. Jazz is perhaps iconic in its fusion of tradition and modernism. Art Deco style has spread across fashion, jewelry, decorative arts, architecture, painting, sculpture and graphics. It synthesized primitive and progressive motifs for the entire world to see. The movement was in its heyday at the 1925 International Exposition held in Paris.
Vogue Cover; Zig Along, Copper; Go Go, Abracadabra
Both the Jazz Age and Art Deco are regaining attention and recognition as glorious modern art forms. Inspiration came from Africa then, influence comes from Africa now. The confluence of traditional and contemporary Africa on design, fashion and interiors creates a satisfying recipe.
Barkcloth; Menswear from Richard Chai
Midnight in Paris, a film by Woody Allen, a long-time jazz enthusiast and musician delightfully brought us cameo rolls from the avant-garde in Paris during the 1920s, among them Josephine Baker, Pablo Picasso and F. Scott Fitzgerald and Daisy Buchanan. Keep your eye out for the upcoming 3D film version of The Great Gatsby for more of the lush life.
Violin and Guitar by Pablo Picasso
Recent NYC museum exhibits provided wonderful glances into the design aesthetics of this early period of Modernism and its influence on contemporary design.
Color Moves: Art and Fashion by Sonia Delaunay at the Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt showed the range of this modernist painter, textile and fashion designer.
Clockwise from top left: Cape by Sonia Delaunay; Photograph of Delaunay; Painting by Delaunay; Center Square, Magenta
Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at the Costume Institute, Metropolitan Museum of Art paid tribute to the romantic and the exotic.
Alexander McQueen; Kidskin, Copper; Anaconda, Magenta
The Global Africa Project at the Museum of Art and Design was a complex and expansive view of the African Diaspora's influence on contemporary design and fashion. Amaridian "A New African Era" through its website and Soho gallery represents many contemporary African artists. One such treasure is the ceramicist from Cape Town, Martine Jackson, whose vases are pictured here.
Also shown: Go Go, Copper; Lady Tara, Prussian
In contrast, there is beauty. Here are my picks for hot and cool starters from the Modern Library collection:
Tracing, Magenta; Zig Along, Copper; Anaconda, Magenta
Center Square, Magenta; Kidskin, Copper; Snugglebug, Magenta
Salamander, Prussian; Lady Tara, Prussian; Square Link, Sunset