Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Ancient Savoir faire

I remember as a youngster my grandmother giving my sister the most wonderful gold bracelet. What struck me most about it was the amazing simplicity of the piece. A continuous band of gold with the Greek key design cut out. Unfortunately I haven’t got a photo, but you will get the general idea from the bracelet below.

The Greek Key design/motif is one of those timeless almost iconic representations of a classic design which has become an integral part of architecture through to fashion. Originally used by the Greeks as a border on many architectural friezes, it has been used through the ages without overkill and still remains elegant.

The design itself is stark and intensely graphic. (Maybe that is why I like it so much).

Perhaps we can see the complete evolution of the design in the Givenchy logo, where the signature G, has been used 4 times in different rotations to form the logo.

Acrylic Savoir Faire

I must say that while doing research for blogging, that I continuously get sidetracked onto other topics, and the discovery of new things for savoir faire.

One I came across was an English artist called Michael Haynes who was an integral part of the London youth quake in the 60’s, and who must have inspired Phillipe Starck to a certain extent. Basically working in acrylic Haynes designed all manner of installations, furniture and artworks, whose buyers included major museums and the likes of Givenchy.

He was the major display designer in London in the 1960s and 70s, window displays and museum installations. Fame came with his store windows winning awards year after year and with Lady Churchill noticing in particular a window he did commemorating her husband.

Cecil Beaton enlisted his help to design the displays for his 1971 exhibition at the V & A “Fashion: An Anthology”. The results were settings that reflected the spirit and time the individual garments were designed in.
The Schiaparelli display.

The Balenciaga display

Another commission was the Swinging London display at Madame Tussaud’s in London in 1967.

It was a natural progression to move onto interior design and furniture. His designs continually reflect and evoke the era. They are a definitive representation of his work at its peak.

A fabulous piece of interior design work was the transformation of the interior of Elsfield Manor in England. It is a credit that his designs and final execution do not detract from the grand scale of the house. The only thing I am cringing over is the given loss of so many original fittings.

I love the theatrical qualities of the room below and the juxtaposition of the incredibly modern and bright coloured furniture with the statue of a soldier from a completely different era. The colours of the uniform provide a totally unexpected pop of colour in the bright yellows and greens of the overall scheme.

*All images from Michael Haynes
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