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July 24, 2012

Gabriella Crespi, and why you should know her! She is one of my favorites!!

Filed under: Art and Accesories,gabriella crespi — Tags: — jherzlinger @ 9:35 am

Any of us today, especially those of us who have attained a certain age without withering under the weight of it all, have lived multiple lives — either in tandem or in sequence. We have hyphenated identities that often reveal a colorful collage of karmic convergences.

So it is with Gabriella Crespi, who at 82 can look back on having been a designer, artist, manufacturer, marketing genius, glamorous socialite and, since 1987, ardent follower of Shri Muniraji, an Indian guru with whom she studies for months at a stretch high in the Himalayas, seeking Satya (truth), unity and a feeling of infinity.

Today, her furniture and decorative objects are beginning to bring high prices, as the design world turns its focus from midcentury French to Italian. Suzanne Demisch, a New York dealer in 20th-century furniture who has sold a number of Crespi’s pieces, considers her work ”much more innovative than what other Italians were doing at the time.” It is also more difficult to find, according to Liz O’Brien, another New York dealer, because ”people still treasure it.” O’Brien recently sold an elliptical brass coffee table for $15,000.

The Tavolo 2000 table features retractable leaves and was envisioned by Crespi as furniture of the future. Originally designed as rectangular forms made of stainless steel, the tables were eventually reworked as ovals made of brass, a material the Italians were crazy for in the 60′s. Similarly, a square end table called the Magic Cube later evolved into a brass cylinder. In a taller form, it opened into a bar.

While the furniture looks like sculpture, it moves with the precision of a fine watch, and her mechanisms are patented. This is due, no doubt, to her architectural studies at the Politecnico Institute in Milan. ”I was in love with Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright when I was young,” she said. But it was also familial. Born in Milan in 1922, she was raised in Tuscany near Florence, where she first developed her love of nature. Her father was a mechanical engineer, and her mother taught her ”to be generous with others,” a trait that has been most apparent in her spiritual wanderings. By 1945, she was already on a spiritual path, having spent many months at the end of the war in isolation in the Hebrides, off the coast of Scotland. ”The desire for silence and infinity had already been born inside me,” she said. She met her husband, Giuseppe Maria Crespi, at a tennis club in Milan. After their marriage in 1948, she lived with his family, one of the richest in Italy.

February 18, 2011

The Craft of Kilim

Filed under: Art and Accesories,Rugs and carpet — Tags: , , , , , — jherzlinger @ 7:45 am

I have recently become more and more interested with Orientalism and the style Boho chic. It it very popular right now if you have seen the top fashion lines for spring. Many familiar interior designers and architects are also bringing the influence of Morocco and India into their work. The style is characterized by the use of natural materials and the integration of complex motifs and detailing. With that being said, I wanted to talk today about Kilim carpets and Rugs.

The name is Kilim is Turkish and “and comes from the Persian gelim ‘to spread roughly’, which is probably of Mongolian origin.” The construction of a Kilim is want makes them unique because their extremely delicate. They do not have a pile to protect the warp and weft and therefore are very rare because such few originals have remained over time.

I am not an expert with the technical terms if weaving, so I am going to let wiki do the talking: “Kilims are produced by tightly interweaving the warp and weft strands of the weave to produce a flat surface with no pile. Most kilim weaves are “weft-facing”, i.e., the horizontal weft strands are pulled tightly downward so that they hide the vertical warp strands. When the end of a color boundary is reached, the weft yarn is wound back from the boundary point. Thus, if the boundary of a field is a straight vertical line, a vertical slit forms between the two different color areas where they meet. For this reason, most kilims can be classed as “slit woven” textiles. The slits are beloved by collectors, as they produce very sharp-etched designs, emphasizing the geometry of the weave. Weaving strategies for avoiding slit formation, such as interlocking, produce a more blurred design image. The weft strands, which carry the visible design and color, are almost always wool, whereas the hidden warp strands can be either wool or cotton. The warp strands are only visible at the ends, where they emerge as the fringe. This fringe is usually tied in bunches, to ensure against loosening or unraveling of the weave.”

These rugs typically have a lighter coloration then those rugs that your see coming out of the east. The motif design is often geometric and almost tribal looking with a simple motif woven in around the border. It used to be that collectors prized pile carpets as opposed to Kilims but recently Kilims have become more desirable and can be very pricey. Of course like everything, if you want a Kilim imitation rug for cheap there are always places to find them. A kilim rug is definitely a unique alternative to the overused oriental rug. Consider purchasing one from your breakfast room or study.

January 31, 2011

Based Upon…Genius

Filed under: Art and Accesories,materials and finishes — Tags: , , , , , , , — jherzlinger @ 9:38 am

I recently stumbled upon this wonderful little company called Based Upon. The company describes themselves as “a group of artists and designers creating large scale artworks, sculptural furniture and hand applied surfaces.” But if you take one look at the portfolio of this London based company, you will see that they are more then that. They specialize in custom metal work and have four different labels called based upon composed, based upon form, based upon surface, and based upon meaning. Even though it is the same medium for each label, the application for each is different.

Composed is work done custom for special application based on their client (or at least from what I can tell.) Work ranges from free standing pieces to applied wall surfaces. What is unique about this label is that it is make specifically for the client and use. Form is their furniture line using metal, resin and lacquer. They make everything from cocktail tables to dining room tables to dressing bureau. The furniture is very unique and modern – some of it comes in multiple pieces as if the item has broken apart. Surface is their line of metal applied surface designs. Many of the designs incorporate images and aspects of nature, water, and maps. The label meaning is something very unique in that it is aiming to shine a new light and perspective on something using the metal designs. I believe that this is specially made for the client as well.

The website is very modern and unique and is almost set up in a blog format with posts being added regularly to each label. The art is unlike anything you have ever seen before and there is something very nostalgic about the motifs used combining nature and the urban environment. Since they are based in London, I don’t think they have reached a big popularity in the states, but that shouldn’t stop you from calling them up for your own custom design. You can see more of their work or contact on their website: http://www.baseduponablog.co.uk/ I think we all can appreciate the innovation and beauty that comes with art.

Based Upon Composed

Based Upon Surface

Based Upon Form

Based Upon Meaning

January 12, 2011

Brass Is Back!

I can’t flip through any interior design magazine right now without my eye being caught by the gleam of brass. It seems that while once considered a strictly traditional material, brass is making its way way into the home, no matter what the style. As I’m sure you know there are many different finishes that brass can have including antiqued, soft, polished, or hammered. It is really the finish of the brass that makes it suitable for different style interiors. Brass is definitely in the warm metal family with gold (people often get them confused because depending on the finish they can look very similar.) The warmness of brass can affect the way it is used in an interior and what it is paired with. Think of all the places you would use gold, you can use brass as well. This means that brass looks great with yell0ws and oranges, a pink or red for an oriental feeling, black of course and as you can see below even certain shades of green. Of course there are a million color combinations that include brass but those are some of the basics. In my photos below you will see that top designers right now are really experimenting with the use of brass and you should too! The best place to add a touch of brass if you are not accustomed to working with the material is in a metal side or cocktail table, in the frame of a picture or a mirror, a lamp or wall sconce, or in an assortment of accessories. Do like the designers do and add a little brass to your home!

Here are a couple of gorgeous brass side tables

Kelly Wearstler knows how to combine warm and cool color for the perfect look

I would love to fall asleep in this brass bed

Elle Decor – Check out the very subtle accents of brass in this picture

Mary McDonald decided to match her brass with pink

January 8, 2011

Ikat – I can!

Filed under: Art and Accesories — Tags: , , , , — jherzlinger @ 3:14 am

I thought I would share a little information on a weave called Ikat. Ikat is a term that both refers to a process of weaving and to a finished woven textile. The translation of the term in the Indonesian language is to tie or to bind. What is so special about this process is that the threads are made to be dye resistant and are dyed in almost the same fashion as tye dye. Historians have had a hard time trying to place the origins of this process because the fabrics have not been able last for centuries, but they think that it came about near south and central America.

There is warp ikat, weft ikat, and a double ikat which refers to where the dye resistant process is applied to (on the weft, on the warp, or on both sides). The stands are taken, make of cotton or wool likely, and made into bundles and then treated with a dye resistant material like wax. The dye is then applied and the resistance creates the pattern and when they are strung and woven on a loom. The textiles that have been created are typically stylized in a symbolic motifs but as the textile has modernized it has also come to feature more contemporary designs. The ikat is still typically made on a back strap loom although it can be done on a traditional loom. These textiles are difficult to make because the process that goes into them, but are very beautiful and can vary depending on the culture that produces them. Keep an eye out for ikats or ikat look alike textiles because they are becoming more recognized and popular. And there is your little history lesson for the day :)

December 28, 2010

Hooray for C. Jere

Filed under: Art and Accesories,mirror — Tags: , , , , , — jherzlinger @ 7:07 pm

I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday season. JHI was out of the the office all the last week, but we are happy to get going again in the blogosphere. While doing some holiday gift searching, I stumbled upon Jonathan Adler’s collection/partnership with the company that once was Artisan House to create C. Jere sculpture reproductions. I also remembered a recent article in Elle Decor about the same company, and thought I would post a little something on them.

C. Jere, or Curtis Jere as some people began to say, was not one person, but rather a combination of the names of the two founders. Jerry Fels and Curtis Freiler met in the 1940′s and were friends, business partners, and eventually brother-in-laws. They made the perfect team, with Fels as the creative designer and Freiler as the genius manufacturer. They orgionally began producing unique copper jewelry that was popular through the 50′s and 60′s, but after a fire that destroyed their entire manufacturing warehouse, they were forced to start over. In 1964 they established Artisan House, where they designed and sold unique metal sculpture. They were featured in major venues in New York and at Gumps. The designs were outrageous and occasionally bizarre, and the team released about 50 new designs each year.

Now the original work be Fels and Freiler, signed C. Jere, is highly prized and sought after. As I said before, Johnathan Adler has partnered with the company that once was Artisan House and reproduces many of the classics. The sculptures themselves have a lightness and whimsy that is accented by flowing form. Many of their designs have a radial pattern which is favored by Kelly Wearstler. C. Jere is a brand that cannot be denied as an important contribution to home decor, and I can’t wait to keep an eye for more Jere design.

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