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Decorating

Animalia

Animalia

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The 2016 San Francisco Fall Art and Antiques Show (SFFAS) celebrated its 35th year with a refreshing sense of design, beauty and whimsy.

This year’s fanciful theme of ‘Animalia’ took us back in time to remind us of mankind’s documented allure and fascination of the animal kingdom.   Derived from the Latin word ‘animalis’, animalia translates in part to ‘having soul’.  How fitting to apply this definition to art and antiques which I always refer to as such - ‘having soul’.  These pieces have a story, a history and perhaps most importantly, unique charm.  Animals, in any form of decoration, invoke an immediate sense of character to a room!

Since the beginning of civilization, creators of any sort have been captivated with the animal kingdom and have expressed this in almost every medium imaginable - from stone carvings to pottery to wood carving to canvas, just to name a few.   These influences are evident in art and antiques, from antiquities to the contemporary.

De Gournay wallcoverings and Farrow & Ball paint, both generous sponsors of the SFFAS, enhanced the feel of the show in the most magical way.  The Grand Entry Hall once again displayed designer vignettes created by Catherine Kwong, Ann Getty, Antonio Martins and Jonathan Rachman. Each of these vignette’s walls were adorned by custom desgined De Gournay wallcoverings.  In fact, my cover photo is that of Antonio Martins’ bespoke design with de Gournay of the exotic Brazilian mangrove jungle.   Divine!

In the horizon, each antique or art dealer seleceted a Farrow & Ball paint color for their own vignettes creating a subliminal sense of continuity yet a diverse color palatte.  It was stricking to see the power of paint and color as it relates to how art and antiques come to life in a space.

The SFFAS Lecture Series, as always, was a design dream.  Lectures and discussions included guest speakers such as Peter Pennoyer and Katie Ridder, James Reginato, David Netto, Chara Schreyer and Gary Hutton, Suzanne Rheinstein, Madeline StuartSteven Volpe and Carl J. Dellatore, and Janice Lyle

The annual Institute of Classical Architecture and Art’s (ICAA) Northern California Chapter Lunch and Lecture, held on Designer Saturday, honored the inimatble New York decorator Alexa Hampton.  Her lecture following the luncheon, entitled ‘Decorating with Art, Antiques and People’ left us all laughing somewhat uncontrollably!  Alexa is a delight beyond words and we were honored to have her visit San Francisco.

Parties and events were abundant, shopping was inspiring and a wonderful time was had by all.  Already anticipating what 2017 will bring, I hope you enjoy the 2016 show!

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Cuban Style

Cuban Style

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Cuba’s rich and vast architectural history shows us how thoughtfully stylized almost every aspect of its design is.  There is an overwhelming feeling that can be defined by the word ‘ornate’ – even if in a modest way.  No matter what the influence may be -  Spanish Colonial, Moorish , Beaux Arts , Art Nouveau, Art Deco or Mid-Century Modern – it is highly sophisticated and detailed in its language.  Although in many places the structures are truly crumbling, the wealth and culture of decades gone by is still wondrously preserved.

The prevalent pattern of arches and columns is expansive in either the most simple or the most elaborate of classical forms.   Amongst the arched structures are images of the spectacular Catalan-vaulted brick and terra-cotta mazes of theaters and tunnels called the ‘Instituto Superior de Arte’, or the Cuban National Arts Schools.  This school for the arts was conceived and built by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara in the early 1960’s but quickly fell out of favor by 1965 with the Russian influence and has been abandoned ever since.

This mindful Cuban design is evident throughout the island – as seen in intricately carved stonework and woodwork, Lalique glass panels and sconces, vibrant Caribbean color, beautiful doors, those fabulous 1950’s cars, stained glass transoms, and endless balconies and stair rails with elaborately molded ironwork.  Also notice the influence of the bat, considered to be good luck in Cuban mythology and embraced by the Bacardi family.  However, the bat in the Colon Cemetery is considered bad luck as one is not to go to a cemetery at night when the bats fly!

Once again, I will let the images portray the experience of visiting Cuba far better than words so please enjoy the stylized detail.  And a special thank you to Chas Miller, Executive Director of the Soane Foundation, for sharing a few of his beautiful photos!

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