I'm a strong believer that the best designers look to the past for inspiration and guidance before setting the stage for the future - So with this in mind I thought I would share a particular period which I find especially inspiring - The Georgian Period.
Characterized by symmetry, order and light this period (1714 - 1837) emerged in reaction to the excess and pomp of the previous Baroque. I just always feel like the Georgians were far ahead of their time. Relishing in light and organization of form maybe these designers were the true modernists? I'll let you decide, but for now here are my top 3 things to discover about the Georgian period and how it can inspire you today.
Don't let the reserved exterior fool you - this guy brought a new light to stuffy ol' England and was a savvy businessman to boot. I could talk for days about this amazing character. Many define him as the first interior designer in history. His catalogues of designs, which included designs for almost everything from commodes to fireplaces, empowered individuals throughout the western world to create exciting, individual interiors which were to be shared with society. His designs illustrate a huge inspiration from his "Grand Tour" in which he travelled through Italy, Croatia amongst other places to study architecture and specifically ancient ruins.
The great hall at Syon House
Marble Hall at Kedleston Hall
A plate from one of Adam's catalogues.
Image from www.michaelfinney.co.uk/
Chippendale, Sheraton and Hepplewhite
Thomas Chippendale was the first cabinet maker and furniture designer to publish a book of his designs entitled The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker's Director (1754). Along with George Hepplewhite and Thomas Sheraton they were instrumental in developing the position of interior designer by advising on soft furnishings and colour schemes and designing furniture which graced some of the grandest homes in Europe. These three designers and were highly influential in defining the period and lay the foundations to educate a new generation of craftsmen on the art of furniture design.
Typical Chippendale chair with Cabriole legs and rectangular back with curved ribbon motif
Typical Sheraton chair with rectangular back.
Typical Hepplewhite chair with shield back.
Light and Airy Colours
Soft muted pastels, light greys and stone colours are characteristic of the Georgian style. Companies such as Farrow & Ball (farrow-ball.com) and Papers and Paints (http://www.papers-paints.co.uk/) still produce paints with historical context.
A detail of the portico ceiling at Osterley Park (Robert Adam) Try Stony Ground from Farrow & Ball.
Parlour from 1745 - For a soft grey try Cornforth White from Farrow & Ball
Interior of Charlotte Sqaure by Robert Adam. Try Ball Green from Farrow & Ball
Osterley Park (Robert Adam) Try Joa's White from Farrow & Ball
For more information check out both http://www.geffrye-museum.org.uk/ and http://www.soane.org/ for more inspiration and information.