Pattern Play

One of the downsides of a wired world is saturation. The same images appear everywhere and copycats abound. While it is great that good design is available at a variety of price points [as long as plagiarism is not involved], it is hard to get excited about a look that can be seen everywhere. As a result, more and more consumers are searching for original, handcrafted items, and designers are turning to cultures around for world for inspiration. Last month, an article in the New York Times Style Magazine noted that fashion designers, artists and architects currently are taking cues from the continent of Africa.

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(1) “Givenchy’s mosaic-print jersey dress.” (2) 1970s Vogue photograph of Somali model Iman. (3) “Geometric tapestry on a new Burberry Prorsum bag.” (4) Jean Dunand’s 1926 portrait of the French milliner Madame Agnes “draped in patterns reminiscent of the beadwork worn by women in the Samburu tribe in northern Kenya” (5). Photos and text from “In the Air: Tribal Beauty” by Carolina Irving, Miguel Flores-Vianna and Charlotte di Carcaci. The New York Times Style Magazine (May 22, 2014).

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“The dizzying prints found in Edun’s revamped line (1) were the height of fashion back in the 1920s, when Man Ray photographed the British heiress and writer Nancy Cunard in a daring look accented by bracelets stacked in the African style (5). In the village of Tiebele in Burkina Faso in West Africa, women decorate the facades of their homes with strikingly similar black and white motifs (2), versions of which were borrowed for Diane von Furstenberg’s spring collection (4), a ceramic vase (3) and a woven basket (6).” Photos and text from “In the Air: Tribal Beauty” by Carolina Irving, Miguel Flores-Vianna and Charlotte di Carcaci. The New York Times Style Magazine (May 22, 2014).

The black and white motifs of African art can be found at Janet Brown Interiors on items such as this picture frame:

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Detail of black and white picture frame offered by Janet Brown Interiors.

Africa is not the only source of global inspiration. The black and white motif that appears on the African ceramic vase pictured in the New York Times article is similar to a design that Janet Brown saw on pottery in the Archaeological Museum in Heraklion during her recent trip to Crete:

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Detail from pottery – Archaeological Museum, Heraklion (Crete).

Artists have been copying motifs from nature for thousands of years. Consider this fish painting in the Archaeological Museum in Heraklion, Crete:

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Detail from Archaeological Museum, Heraklion (Crete).

 Compare the painted fish from Crete to the fish on this modern table runner:

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Table runner offered by Janet Brown Interiors.

Here is a piece of pottery housed in the Archaeological Museum in Heraklion, Crete:

Detail from pottery – Archaeological Museum, Heraklion (Crete).

 Compare the detail in the Cretan pottery to the pattern on this pillow:

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Pillow offered by Janet Brown Interiors.

Morocco and India offer design inspiration – just as they did during the 1960s and 1970s. The June 2014 J. Crew catalog was photographed in India, and many colors and details from the J. Crew photo shoot can be found in accessories that Janet Brown offers in her shop:

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Photo via J. Crew’s June 2014 Style Guide on Pinterest.

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Detail of pillow made in India and offered by Janet Brown Interiors.

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Detail from decorative box offered by Janet Brown Interiors.

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Detail from dish offered by Janet Brown Interiors.

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Detail from pillow offered by Janet Brown Interiors.

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Detail from pouf/footstool made from kanthas [repurposed saris] and offered by Janet Brown Interiors.

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Detail from Ebony Floral Pillow offered by Janet Brown Interiors.

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Photo via J. Crew’s June 2014 Style Guide on Pinterest.

“Travel note” from the J. Crew catalog regarding the orange flowers: “One of the most popular flowers in India, the marigold is traditionally used in weddings and other religious ceremonies. But we spotted these bright garlands everywhere – in hotel lobbies, strung over doorways, even on cars and boats.”

You can create your own “garlands of marigolds” with a garden stool:

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Orange swirls on a garden stool offered by Janet Brown Interiors.

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Detail from Black Trellis Tray offered by Janet Brown Interiors.

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A pair of pillows offered by Janet Brown Interiors.

Accessories such as pillows, trays, stools, and picture frames that feature globally-inspired motifs are a perfect way to add unique beauty and interest to a space. These items feature traditional designs that are hundreds or thousands of years old, yet they feel perfectly at home today. If you tend to shy away from bold patterns or colors, consider using pillows, which allow you to experiment and refresh a room without major expense or a long-term commitment.

Come to Janet Brown Interiors today to discover a world of new accessories for your home.

 

Post by Kathleen Sams Flippen for Janet Brown Interiors.

 

 

 

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