Wednesday, June 30, 2010

This Week's Top 5 Favorite 1stdibs Items: Vibrant and Yellow!

There are some colors out there in the spectrum that just seem to go with everything and appeal to everyone. Then there are colors like yellow. Poor, bright, underestimated yellow. Yellow's not an easy color to go with in interiors (it's even been accused of making babies cry) but when it works, it works really well. Our suggestion on how to incorporate yellow into your decor? Choose a big, bold piece. We've gathered five pieces from this week's newest 1stdibs listings that are bold and yellow, enjoy!

1) Lacquered Credenza by Mastercraft with Greek Key-Fret Motif
This amazing piece is heavy, huge, masculine and most importantly, features a highly glossy and fabulous bright bold yellow color. Though the yellow would be enough to make this piece a show stopper, we also enjoy the huge Greek key-fret details that set this piece up to be a fabulous Hollywood Regency addition to some one's space.
Price: $18,950

2) Three Hughes, Serge Steiner Swivel Chairs
These French, Mid-Century Modern chairs have a fabulously rounded shape, but you'll see that here, their yellow color is more subdued and softer. These are great choice for those who still want a bold addition (the style and shape, here) but can't quite go for a bright yellow just yet. Price: contact dealer
Eric Appel LLC

3) Vibrant Yellow Blown Glass Vessel
Looking for a small but strong pop of yellow color? We've got it! This blown glass vessel comes in a vibrant yellow, and its sleek and modern shape is sure to stand out.
Price: $125
Paris Underground

4) Mount Airy Saffron Lacquer Modular Three-Section Dresser
Another bold, masculine yellow piece, this time as a dresser. The narrow length of this piece is exciting, and we like the yellow here isn't as glossy and has a bit of a more mustard yellow look. It seems a bit more natural and accessible.
Price: $6,500

5) Frederick Hammersley, "One Pair," Oil on canvas
Okay! There's more than just yellow in this painting. But wouldn't an all yellow canvas be a bit boring? This piece of art manages to have a modern look with lots of colors and shapes, but is dominated by the yellow, without doubt.
Price: contact dealer
NOHO Modern

Don't forget to check out the rest of this week's listings from 1stdibs, where you can find more fabulous, one-of-a-kind show-stopping pieces, as well as a number of other great pieces!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Perfect Pair: Jacques Dumond and Swank Lighting!

Though we love every designer we profile immensely, we confess every now and then there’s a designer that we just love a bit more than the rest. One of those we profiled yesterday: Jacques Dumond. There’s just something so…industrial, modern, French and wonderful about his designs. And the fact that he’s a bit rare makes his work irresistible! We think you’ll approve of the pair of Swank Lighting lamps we chose to go with one of his great pieces of furniture.

The bar cart is the sort of furniture item that completely epitomizes the style and demeanor of the Mid-Century; you just don’t see people wheeling out fully-stocked carts full of spirits to guests any more. Which is why we love this Jacques Dumond Chrome and Smoked Glass Bar Cart, made in France in the 1950’s. Chic, shiny and sleek, this bar cart is made of chrome and features smoked glass insets. It has curves, but it also has straight lines. It’s futuristic, but also rather domestic. It’s an exercise in subtleties and delight.

Many of Swank Lighting’s lamps are vibrant—no question about that. But we’re just not sure we’ve seen a lamp absolutely glow from the inside out like this pair of Swank Lighting Barovier & Toso Murano Lamps in Blue Green vintage glass. Made in Italy in the 1940s, these curvy-bodied lamps come in a color that is an amazing mix of blue and green, featuring vertical stripes, with the lighter colored stripes absolutely glowing. There are also lots of controlled bubbles in the glass, and 24 karat gold in the lamp—creating an absolutely luminous appearance. Oh-so-curvy, these pieces are eye-catching and sensuous.

You might immediately pair this Jacques Dumond bar cart and these Swank Lighting Barovier and Toso Murano lamps, but we think they make a perfect pair. Firstly, all items feature killer curves that, when combined, could even make people blush. Secondly, the blue greens of the lamps, already quite bright and vibrant, turn absolutely electric when placed atop of that shiny, glossy smoked glass of the bar car. And lastly, both pieces were made long ago, but feature such modern lines and ideas that they look futuristic. What a vintage-y, futuristic pair!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Swank Lighting on The Hamilton Co. Blog!

Swank Lighting is pleased and honored to be profiled in The Hamilton Company Blog. In the post you can read an interview with Ed about Swank Lighting's history, what's coming up and even how Swank Lighting got its name!

The Hamilton Company is a Real Estate Sales, Development, and Rental company located in Palm Springs. Their owner, Josiah Hamilton was recently named one of "40 under 40" business persons to watch in Palm Springs. Their blog is a very popular lifestyle publication all about the swank lifestyle of Palm Springs, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. It's so nice that they chose Swank Lighting to feature as a source of swanky lights.

Thanks Josiah and The Hamilton Company!

The French, Modern and Industrial Designs of Jacques Dumond!

There have been a number of designers who made impacts on the world of design in America, who were actually from another country. Too many to list, really. And while all of these designers were extremely important both in America and abroad, there are many designers who were influential in their own country but never quite became a huge hit in America. One of those designers is Jacques Dumond.

Jacques Dumond was certainly not unknown in America, but he never reached the heights of popularity like other designers his contemporary, like Le Corbusier, Jean Prouve and more. He did design in that time period considered by many to be the Post War French Architectural and Modernist movement.

Dumond’s work is simple, yet stylistic. His tables, desks, chairs, shelves and more have very clean, straight lines, and give off an almost industrial-feel, but they always have a detail to them that makes you realize you are using a high-end furniture piece, not just some warehouse castoff. Some of pieces carry materials with quite the high gloss shine, other pieces sport unusual colors and all of them are slick and sleek.

Like many of the designers at that time, he wasn’t just all about aesthetics; he was always quite interested in functionality as well as the philosophy behind creating pieces. He always considered both the big picture and the small picture, and had a background in both architecture and cabinet-making in order to accommodate both those ideals.

Born in Paris in 1906, Jacques Dumond was surrounded by creativity from day one. His entire family was filled with craftsmen and other creative types, so he learned early on to appreciate and aspire to high levels of quality. Studying architecture and cabinetmaking in some of France’s top schools, he started his career early, and never looked back. Though coming across a Dumond piece is fairly rare in the states, it’s always a delight.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Contemporary Designer Profile: Elaine Williamson

Decorating a large house with big rooms, tall ceilings and imposing architecture isn’t an easy task, but we’ve sure found a designer who’s made it look easy—her designs are stylish, sophisticated and interesting, and her rooms are full of inspiration and great ideas. Who is this designer? Elaine Williamson of Dallas-based Elaine Williamson Designs.

We’re really loving the luxurious and large-scale projects this Texas designer has tackled. Deep, rich and earthy colors dominate color palettes. Styles range from traditional to transitional with a hint of contemporary and modern. Textures are sumptuous. Patterns are bold. Designs defy fear. You could even describe her interiors as very elegant, as they are never over the top.

She’s also well-loved by her clients not only because of her ability to construct fabulous-looking rooms that are just what the clients want, but they also herald a great level of functionality. Storage is ample, all furnishings are needed and used, and designs make sense, not wasted. She takes large, impersonal spaces and maximizes their ability to feel like a warm, comfortable home.

Though Williamson obviously shows a large amount of natural talent in this field, she also has plenty of real-world and school experience to back her designs up. She has over 20 years of experience in luxury residential and high rise properties, commercial and retail projects all over the country. Originally from Mobile, Alabama, Williamson spent many years as a successful designer in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she no doubt picked up many fabulous style inspirations from that great hub of design. Later moving to Dallas, she once has several very successful design retail establishments, but soon decided to focus primarily on design with her firm.

As if she hasn’t sounded impressive enough, she’s one many awards as a designer, including: numerous “Excellence Awards” from the Home Builders Association of Dallas recognized at the Annual Arts Awards and “Best of Business” by Frisco Style. You can find tons of inspiration on her website.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

This Week's Top 5 Favorite 1stdibs Items: Exotic and Modern

This week's collection of fabulous, got-to-have pieces from the newest listings of 1stdibs don't follow any sort of particular theme; we have just been in the mood for exotic/modern room combinations, and decided to choose five items that we thought fit the bill. We looked for pieces with characteristics like great textures, colorful patterns, natural materials and some great geometric stylings. We think we did a good job, if we do say so ourselves!

1) Probber Sofa
Though this Mid-Century Modern couch gives off more of a vintage-feel than a global one, you can't deny its strong and bold colors in the red and warm family give it a certain exotic flair. It's definitely a scene-stealer.
Price: contact dealer
R. E. Steele

2) Striped Kilim
Kilim rugs and patterns in general always give off a very foreign, fabulous and exotic-feel, but this one is unique in that it comes off quite contemporary, too. Featuring a bold black and white striped pattern with pops of red accents, it would definitely bind a room together and stand out. Price: $7,950
Double Knot

3) Exceptional Japanese Choba Dansu Office Chest
This heavy, sturdy and masculine piece is sure to bring in not only some visual stability to a space but also a different kind of exotic flair. Though it may not boast a lot of colors or textures, its strong details lead the eye to assume its fabulous origin.
Price: $6,400
Honeychurch Antiques

4) Pair of Sheep Footstools After Lalanne
We just couldn't resist these silly/awesome footstools in the shape of sheep. Sure, their actual imagery is perfect for a modern/exotic hybrid room, but their texture is also what we love. They're pretty functional, too!
Price: $25,000
Showplace Antique and Design Center

5) Exotic Wood Molecular Puzzle
This is another hybrid piece: it's at once vintage and Mid-Century modern, but it's natural material makes it seem exotic, and it's geometric shape makes it seem ultra modern! A perfect companion to a neat room trying to be several things at once.
Price: $1,200
Ralph Lauren

Don't forget to check out the rest of this week's listings from 1stdibs, where you can find more fabulous, one-of-a-kind show-stopping pieces, as well as a number of other great pieces!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Perfect Pair: Maria Pergay and Swank Lighting!

Yesterday’s designer influence was a hybrid between an influential designer and a contemporary designer: Maria Pergay. Famous for her skilled and artful use of a powerful material, stainless steel, we chose a table that we think shows her ability to use the material wisely. We also chose a pair of Swank Lighting lamps that would not only look great with a Maria Pergay piece, but which we think she would approve of.

The Chevet (Bedside Table) by Maria Pergay combines the raw and powerful strength of stainless steel with the heady and organic feel of wood for this seductive mixture. It’s a functional bedside table, yes, but it’s also an amazing piece of art. Curvilinear shapes dominate the piece, as the wood and steel seem to both fight and combine to create the table. The hidden door of the piece is a pleasant and jaw-dropping surprise. We love how everything works together but also how it creates a lot of drama with two visually dueling materials.

All Swank Lighting lamps tend to have a level of delicacy to them. It’s the nature of the art form: glass is a highly delicate material, and so the pieces often have an innate vulnerability to them. These Dino Martens Latticino Tower Murano Lamps on Beveled Lucite take the cake, though. The white cane filigree of these lamps creates an intricate cross-hatch design that both give the lamp a fabulous texture but also the impression that it is a delicate, delicate piece of d├ęcor. That in itself makes the piece feel even more valuable, like it could be broken at anytime and should be enjoyed immediately!

We thought to combine this Pergay piece and these Swank Lighting lamps for many reasons. The color palette is an obvious choice; the white of the lamps is a strong yet comfortable complement to the natural colors of the wood and the shiny silver of the metal. But it is the interesting dynamic between what each piece represents that we really sought to combine the three. The table represents strength by showcasing the flexibility of two sturdy materials: wood and metal. The masculinity of the piece is overwhelming. The lamps, on the other hand, embrace their vulnerability by really highlighting just how delicate they are. Together, the pieces both raise up their strengths and downplay their weaknesses to create a really visually stunning composition.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Strong and Modern Steel Designs of Maria Pergay!

It’s sad, but true: many of the designers we write about being amazing influences on the world of design are male. Men are not more talented than women, of course; there are plenty of women who have made their mark as well. One that we’d like to write about today is Maria Pergay.

Many of the design influences we write about have passed away since the time they designed in was usually in the Mid Century or earlier, but Pergay is a hybrid of sorts: she’s both an influence and still quite relevant and contemporary. If we only had two words to use to encompass Pergay, they’d be: stainless steel.

Stainless steel is a dynamic material. It’s sharp, flexible, shiny, bold, masculine, linear and curvy. You can do a lot of things with this material, and many designers over the years have. But none quite like Maria Pergay. Describing herself as having a very real connection with the material, Pergay has done amazing work with steel, using it in ways that others just haven’t done before.

Her work: which includes chairs, tables, and other furniture pieces, vary wildly. Some of her lines are quite curvilinear, featuring strong curved forms that dominate the composition. Other pieces explore a very French idea of layering, featuring work that seems to peel away to reveal something else. Yet even more work considers intricacy with the stainless steel. A New York Times article described recent work—shown at her age of 79—to be explosive, showcasing furniture made of multiple pieces of irregularly-shaped steel designed in a way that is both dynamic but also still reliable and dependable-looking.

Born in Moldavia in 1930, Pergay immigrated to Paris with her family in 1937. She studied at several prestigious schools, like the L'Idhec as well as the atelier of Zadkine. Her career began in the 1950s, and she claims she found the material of stainless steel around 1957. She’s never looked back. Sought out early on for her fresh take on using this material, she became successful quite early on, and she has gone on to create tons of high-end furniture lines starring stainless steel and has worked all over the country. Still working even today, her furniture pieces are usually pretty pricey—stainless steel isn’t cheap—but she continues to push the envelope of design even in her later years.