Monday, April 23, 2012

SPECIAL SERIES: The Revival of Medieval-Renaissance Bedrooms in the Goth Scene (part 3)

We had a look into the Bedrooms of the Royals and we saw some examples of Ancient Beds and Bedrooms. Most of them were everything else than comfortable and cosy like today's. Hygiene was not known, simple people slept with their animals in the same room sometimes, caves served as bedrooms which can be seen practically allover the world. Mesa Verde in Northern America being one of the most famous certainly.

Now I have another intriguing subject regarding bedrooms: how medieval - renaissance bedrooms experienced a kind of revival in the Goth Scene. I have to admit that I am in no way linked to the Goth Scene and therefore you must forgive me if I get certain things wrong or misinterpret others. Please correct me if there are any errors. I am just fascinated by the opulence of medieval decoration and interior, the materials that are used, the deep colours not to speak of the elegance and the love for detail. Additionally I admire the sophisticated craftmanship that is involved in these interiors, in the furniture, in the textiles.

I do not want to analyze any sociopolitical dependencies and interferences between the various subcultures - I only want to point to some of the commonly known attributes that are accredited to the Goth subculture in the 80's, such as the dark decoration and interior design of  certain rooms which are used as a refuge. Mostly walls and ceilings were kept in black/dark colours and decorated with heavy dark textiles. Accessories such as crosses, dried flowers, heavy chandeliers and candleholders, skulls and horns of dead animals were meant to create the appropriate ambience. It is the elaboration and exclusiveness of the materials that were often used and that fascinate me most:  heavy brocades, silks and embroidered velvets in colours such as deep purple, dark reds, black and dark greens adorned with silver and golden threads. Personally I would refuse though to use anything that was part of a living animal slaughtered to be used for human amusement. There are other ways of presenting the animal in dark images.

In the late 90's though this kind of decoration was replaced by a more commercial  version and changed into a style reminiscent of the Victorian era, accompanied by the art of the Pre-Raphaelite movement. This is probably the reason why the market for heavy medieval or Renaissance style furniture has never died.

It is amazing how large the market actually still is for medieval furniture as replica as well as for originals. Only during my research on the Internet I realized that there is a large interest for extremely heavy bedroom interior and I wonder why. Maybe people are just fed up with all the modern stuff that often lacks imagination, passion and a whiff of mystery? Medieval decoration is undoubtedly impressive but certainly does not fit everywhere. You need large rooms for heavy furniture. You definitely make a strong statement with an interior such as shown in the following images:


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This is a more moderated way of decorating a Goth bedroom which I find quite intriguing:

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Another possibility is to simply use "Gothic" shading for your bedroom, moderate but still giving your room the very special aura of mystery which I could live with:

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Back to the heavy medieval furniture for a bedroom. On my way I found this quite impressive four poster bed that looks like a little chapel. The manufacturer says that the design was inspired from an old Gothic castle king's bed:

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As a "creator of ambience" and stage designer Renzo Mongiardino definitely fulfilled all phantasies of a theatrical sense. One of his creations would certainly make any Goth's heart "burst" into excitement:

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Another American icon designer with a sense for theatrics and drama was Tony Duquette. His house "Dawnridge" in Beverly Hills is full of examples which could fulfil any expectation for the unusual, theatrical design worth a king living within its walls:


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Let's visit the places where people actually still live with the medieval traditions at least design wise. And where would you find more places with Gothic traditions than in England and Scotland? F.e. Edinburgh castle and its neighbourhood can offer you what you might have dreamt of: sleeping in a Gothic bedroom. This would certainly be completely different from any hotel room you might have ever spent the night, adding even a tiny bit of a creepy feeling from a place where hundreds of so-called witches have been murdered:
"...the Witchery was established by James Thomson OBE, in a historic building at the gates of Edinburgh Castle. At the historic heart of Edinburgh's Old Town, the Witchery takes its name from the hundreds of women burned at the stake at the stake as witches on Castlehill during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It is reputed that more witches were put to death on Castlehill during the reign of James VI than anywhere else in Scotland. The area around the Witchery by the Castle remains deep in history." (read more)




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You could also pay a visit to Llanthony Secunda Manor, 40 min. away from Cardiff in Wales. How would you feel to sleep in a bedroom such as this one:



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More opportunities to have a medieval hotel stay you will find in Amberly Castle in Sussex. Look at this wonderful bedroom:


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Many grand places in Europe which were blessed with medieval interior that has not been destroyed nor displaced by the various wars have been turned into museums due to the immense costs for renovation and maintenance. Here is an example of an early Renaissance palace in Florence - the Palazzo Davanzati. It is quite interesting to read about the history and welfare of this palace which is symptomatic for many places such as this one:

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To fulfil your own dreams of a Renaissance or medieval revival in your home you might find the following inspirational. 
Look at this fabulous Italian Renaissance bed that I found through Inessa Stewart's blog. Wouldn't this be the jewel of any Goth inspired bedroom?

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Here is another historical Renaissance bed that was used by Heni II, displayed in Chenonceau Castle (France.

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And if you still haven't had enough of medieval bedrooms you could read this interesting article about Beds through the Ages and how people lived/slept in the past.

Another interesting article about the various bedroom interior styles of the English Renaissance period and a short historical background can be found here. But this is by far not everything you can find. For now I leave it to your own discovery...


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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Living Room with a Landscape

The colours of this living room are lovely. The light through the French window is wonderful and turns the room into a serene and calm scenery. The classical carpet is just the right counterpart for the dark wooden floor. The plant in the corner adds a very nice lively component. And although I like the art piece on the wall which matches the colours of this room beautifully I find it could need a bit more movement, a bit more focus, something that draws your attention. Otherwise this room looks a tiny bit too bourgeois...



The following painting (I would hang instead) came into my mind when I saw this room. It adds a whiff of mysticism and adventure to this room, opening the view into something distant.


The painting I have hung here virtually as an alternative to the original art piece is a silk painting from the Magic Landscapes series and is called The Valley - inspired by the breathtakingly green valleys of the Hawaiian Islands.

"The Valley"
(from the Magic Landscapes Series)
silk, 21" x 40"
©Petra Voegtle

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Volcano Landscape in a Moroccan inspired Living Room

Moroccan flair - what could be more inspiring than the colours, patterns and textures of Moroccan interior. I simply love the deep colours which bathe in an opulence that is always reminiscent of fairy tales and dreams of 1001 nights.

The colours especially touch the senses, purples, dark blues and then the shimmer of brass and silverware seem to emanate something vibrating that seduces you to forget about everything else...


 with courtesy of http://www.livingetc.com

While the vignette of this wonderful living room does not tell me how large the room actually is I feel I would add a painting on the wall, that repeats all those voluptuous colours:


The landscape is painted on silk which certainly would complement the brocades of the pillows.

"Haleakala"
(from the Magic Landscapes Series)
silk, 21" x 40"
©Petra Voegtle

This silk painting has been inspired by the breathtaking landscapes on the Hawaiian Islands, especially the Haleakala National Park. You can read more about it here if you like and what's so special about this painting.

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

GUEST POST: Glass Art in 3D

Following is a guest post by Shahab Shokouhi and it is all about glass. What do I say - GLASS ART:


GLASS ART: All Glass 3D Carved & Solid Frosted Glass Entry

Etched Glass Art is not only for the Oakland Raiders of the world. Granted, it doesn't come cheap, as each piece is hand crafted and very unique. But the applications of functional glass art are endless.

A glass art design studio in California called Sans Soucie Art Glass is producing these works of glass art for commercial spaces like hotels, casinos, restaurants, offices, hospitals, and even universities and churches.


Stained Glass Desert Chapel Cross

But not all of their work is showcasing a company design or logo. They also have a huge collection of glass art for one's home. Instead of having a run of the mill glass shower enclosure, a custom glass art enclosure really makes you feel like you're in an out of this world resort. Here are some examples:


Arctic Frameless Shower Enclosure | Rugged Retreat Shower IV

Another category of glass art that turns heads is the 3D carved glass art. Some of these beautiful hand crafted glass carvings look like quartz crystal!


Glass Glacier Sculpture

Below is a carved and painted 3D glass art sculpture --that is also serving the function of a glass partition. The artist created this piece with a multi-stage sandblasting process, cutting deep into the glass, creating a sculpted relief texture.


Psalm 42:1 Painted Glass Partition

Here's another example of sandblasted glass partitions:


Suspended Decorative Glass Partitions (Each Panel is 12" x 120" x 3/4" Clear Glass)

While beautiful, these decorative sandblast etched glass partitions don't come cheap. These will run you several thousands of dollars.

Mixing lighting with a custom etched glass table top is a unique way to create a design cue. In this glass end table, shadows of the “chevron” design are cast on the floor, as seen below.


“Chevrons” 3D Carved & Painted Glass End Table

Many interior designers may not even be aware such options with glass art are even available.

And why not create privacy with art? This ‘Tropical’ 3D carved etched glass window gives you privacy through a work of art. By combining frosted glass with carved texture, light still enters the room, while giving you added privacy.


Tropical – Privacy Window

All of the images and glass seen here are by Sans Soucie Art Glass. Sans Soucie will be able to answer all questions regarding pricing and availability.


About the Author

Shahab Shokouhi is a Writer at Dulles Glass and Mirror -- a manufacturer of commercial and residential glass products including tempered glass, glass table tops, and vanity mirrors.

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Thank you for this lovely post, Shahab. 

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Romantic Bedroom

After so much history it is time to return.
A bedroom is the most personal and intimate room of a house and reflects the owner's personality more than any other room. As most images we see are from rooms which are "staged" for photography it is immensely difficult to really detect a certain personality. The reason is that these rooms are part of an ensemble which is normally to be sold and therefore should not be filled with personal objects in order not to bewilder a potential buyer. The room should just reflect an idea how it could look like without making a too strong statement.

This bedroom though could need a bit more "friendliness", a bit more serenity despite the romantic touch, the ruches of the pillows and the bedding. Currently it looks a bit too gloomy for my taste. This could be achieved by the pigeon paintings I would hang on the walls. But judge for yourself. Below is the original room:


And this is the version I would tend to if it were my room:


Not much is needed in fact to brighten up a room - don't you think so too?

Here are the acrylic paintings from the pigeon series in detail:


"The Rain Dancer"
(from the Pigeons series)
 

18" x 26" acrylic on cotton
©Petra Voegtle


 "Contemplation on a Feather"
(from the Pigeons series) 
18" x 26" acrylic
©Petra Voegtle


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Monday, April 2, 2012

SPECIAL SERIES: Ancient Beds and Bedrooms (part 2)

We had the view into the opulent and over-decorated Bedrooms of the Royals and their beds which might not have been as comfortable as they looked like first hand - now we have a peek into the bedrooms and beds of people who lived many centuries ago. Some of them must have been quite comfortable with the appopriate bedding but then, thinking of the hygiene in these times, makes me shiver...

For example the Romans:
"Wealthy citizens could decorate their bedrooms ('cubiculae' from which we get the word cubicle, which was the usual size of a Roman bedroom) elaborately as in the image above, but normally the bedroom was small and decorated with painted walls and simple furniture." (read more)
 Roman Bedroom
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"Cubicula were small rooms used for a number of different purposes; on the upper story and in the interior of the house they often functioned as bedrooms, while the small rooms off the atrium may have been used for private meetings, libraries, etc. While the bedroom above, from the Villa at Boscoreale, has wonderfully detailed wall paintings designed to make the room appear more open and spacious, many cubicula were decorated more simply."(read more)

The Etruscan:


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Above is an Etruscan bed-frame. Roman beds were pretty much the same and would have had a mattress on top of it, stuffed with feathers or straw, and wool blankets. This frame is made of bronze - therefore it has been preserved. Most Etruscan and Roman beds would have been made of wood though and strung with wool or linen string which would not have survived the past centuries. (after historyforkids)

The following is a very elegant version of a Roman couch i.e. lectus, the most important item of Roman style furniture, used for sleeping, sitting, relaxing or eating.


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Here is another interesting version of a Roman bed that has been recovered in Pompeii:


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Saxon and Norman:

The history of the four poster bed is related to the Saxon and Norman.
"For centuries, the bed has been a sign of wealth, the richer the nobleman, the better the bed, which is probably why many people still aspire to owning a four poster bed, the bed of kings, and the king of beds."(read more)


Most Saxon and Viking families lived in single-roomed, smoky homes which they shared with their animals. The benches they sat on by day served as their beds at night.Larger Saxon houses had sleeping platforms raised at one end, perhaps reserved for women or important guests. When Saxon people "made a bed", they did exactly that. They took a sack or animal skin and filled it with leaves, straw or other material. Pea pods were sometimes used, which must have been rather lumpy. We can get an idea of how the Saons made their beds from the words they used for bed and mattress: Baence(bench) and streow (straw). A bed that was more luxurious than just straw on a bench was called a "cot" or "crib". (after Beds through the Ages)


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Chinese Beds
Here is a museum conservation of an ancient Chinese bedroom from Guangzhou:


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"In ancient time, bed is a piece of furniture for people to sit and lie on, as was different from the modern bed, which is used solely for sleeping. In Paraphrasing Texts and Words, "Bed refers to a seat for one to settle down." Settling down just means making one's body feel secure and comfortable, thus bed can refer to anything that plays a supporting and steadying function." (read more)
The following are some examples of beds from the Ming (1368 - 1644) and Qing (1644 - 1911) dynasties:





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This kind of canopy beds is actually re-made today as replicas of the original antique beds. Certainly an eyecatcher for every bedroom.

Egyptian Bed

Similarities to the typical Roman bed are easily to be seen:


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"After the jewelry, some of the most exquisite objects remaining from the ancient Egyptian world is the furniture the people crafted and used. Chairs, beds, chests and stools were made not only for function but for beauty, as well, a beauty that reflected the philosophy of the ancient Egyptian mind of combining the best in human artistry while paying homage to the natural world."
"Bed styles in ancient Egypt remained very much the same for over 2000 years. They are among the most intriguing of furniture items because of their structure. Many were slanted down at an incline from the headboard. A footboard ensured that the sleeper would not slip off in the middle of the night. Furniture makers also constructed side rails on many beds. Writes Sibal, "….almost all beds featured legs in the form of animal legs, ranging from heavy bull's legs to gazelle-like forms with hooves, and the feline type with paw and claw, frequently identified as lion's legs." The mattress was usually made of wooden slats, plaited string, or reeds, which then held woolen cushions or some other soft material. Sheets were made of linen." (How the Ancient Egyptians...)

Indian Beds and Bedrooms

We know that India has a long tradition of arts and crafts and can look back on many centuries of some of the most sophisticated cultures on this planet.

The following images certainly do not represent an ancient Indian environment but are rather replicas - nevertheless the designs have not changed much in the past centuries. Therefore I have added images from a wonderful and extremely inspirational blog "An Indian Summer" from Bhavna, an Indian consultant from Gurgaon in India. The blog is full of ideas of Indian inspired rooms and bedrooms - all of them very beautiful and inspirational, from traditional to modern touches. I recommend that you browse through the images yourself. I have added only very few here.
It is extremely difficult to find authentic images of ancient design on the internet - so please enjoy your trip through more modern versions...


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(This special series will be continued...)
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