NOW AND THEN: Find Out Where Kelly Wearstler Gets Her Ideas
Where do leading designers get their ideas? Take a lesson from Kelly Wearstler.
She turns to design history and the decorative arts.
Kelly Wearstler's Huntley cabinet for E.J. Victor is a modern riff on the skyscraper furniture designed by Paul Frankl during the Art Deco period. Her Roxbury dining chair finds precedent in the chairs designed by Josef Hoffman, a foremost designer in the Wiener Werkstatte.
Let's take a closer look.
Skyscraper Furniture and the Art Deco Period
Paul Frankl, like other designers from the Art Deco period, especially those from America, was enamored by the new buildings dubbed "skyscrapers" being erected in then dizzying altitudes. He mimicked the design of those buildings by crafting furniture where he massed elements in various heights, in a stepped back pattern. Today, he is best known for his "skyscraper furniture" which is highly sought after by collectors.
It is not hard to see how Wearstler's Huntley cabinet stems from Frankl's stepped back forms.
Wearstler has used luxe materials for the Huntley cabinet also much like cabinet makers from the Art Deco period, especially those from France. Her Huntley cabinet is made of blackened stainless steel, solid walnut and faced in parchment and clear and champagne colored mirrored and seeded glass with hand sculpted bronze pulls. Have a look at this cabinet by Jean-Michel Frank, where he used equally splendid veneers and bronze accents.
Josef Hoffmann, a leading designer in the Wiener Werkstatte, is another inspiration for Kelly Wearstler. In addition to being a fan of opulent materials like Wearstler, Hoffman designed many chairs where he featured a curving element, similar to the curves in Wearstler's Roxbury chair.
For her Roxbury chair, Wearstler simply turned Hoffmann's trademark curve upside down. As you see from the apron on the blue chair above, Hoffmann sometimes did that too.
Tour Wearstler's Malibu beach house to see how it is yet another example of how she is influenced by design history and decorative arts. In that case I explain how it fits under the umbrella of that mouthful of a term, "Gesamstkunstwerk." (I know what it means, don't ask me to actually say it. :-) )
How do you get your design ideas?
Photo credits: Kelly Wearstler furniture image from her website.Paul Frankl cabinet from Sotheby's . Jean-Michel Frank cabinet from Sotheby's . Hoffman chair collage: Set from Sotheby's via the chair blog,pair of chairs from Christie's ,single chair from architonic