Through the Heart of Europe: Design Inspiration
Published: November 16th, 2015
The tragic events in Paris come only one month after my recent visit there. No city embraces life and culture as fully as the City of Light. It is a place where designers have traditionally found immense inspiration. So I write this with sadness, to be sure, but also with appreciation for the freedom that has fostered some of the finest art, architecture and design in the world. In addition to Paris, my journey took me to two other great capitals, Berlin and Brussels. In all of these, design inspiration abounds.
Berlin’s famous Pergamon Museum displays room after room of dazzling examples of ancient architecture, wall coverings, rugs and objets d’art, all of which set my design mind into high gear.
Complex and colorful wall coverings are highly fashionable now, so I was particularly drawn to their historical roots. Check out these ancient painted wall carvings along with a reconstruction from the home of a merchant in Aleppo, Syria in 1600.
The ornate circular patterns framed between vertical panels remains a strong decorative form. Upon returning home, these images compelled me toward a more modern interpretation: the “Oudayas” wallcovering from Elitis.
It’s just beautiful, and perfect for a home I’m currently designing.
I am also always blown away by French furniture design. At the Musee D’Orsay in Paris, I spied this stunning turn-of-the-century banquette designed for the artist Lucien Levy-Dhurmer. This piece amazed me with it’s languorous depth and relaxed style, along with sofa arms that incorporate spaces for display. What beautiful and distinctly Parisian sophistication!
But don’t assume I was always thinking about work on this trip. I did discover the oldest shopping mall in Europe, Brussels’ magnificent Galeries Royales St. Hubert. Like many of you, I am probably at my best when shopping!
Wishing our European friends comfort, courage, and renewed joie de vivre.