Catherine Bowen, Plascon Trends Editor
My, how the time flies… The London Design Festival was only two months ago and yet it feels as though it’s been three times as long ago! I had promised you a follow-up post on the five events that make up this week-long festival, one of which is Decorex International.
As part of the London Design Week 2014 celebrations of the Georgian Era, the organizers invited some of the biggest names in design royalty to create the famous and always eagerly anticipated entrance.
The designers produced eight exclusive installations which were inspired by “A Rake’s Progress” (a series of eight paintings by 18th-century English artist William Hogarth). The canvases were produced in 1732–33, then engraved and published in print form in 1735. Within the 8 works is depicted the decline and fall of Tom Rakewell: the spendthrift son and heir of a rich merchant, who comes to London, wastes all his money on luxurious living, prostitution and gambling, and as a consequence is imprisoned in the Fleet Prison and ultimately Bethlehem Hospital, or Bedlam. (wikipedia.org)
London Design Week 2014 Highlights
The entrance was inspired by “The Levee” and was put together by furniture designer Nigel Coates; the centrepiece was a sofa reflecting the intimate tete-a-tete at a Georgian society meeting of artists, musicians and thespians.
Luxury tableware, decorative accessories and lighting exhibitor Harlequin London (winners of ‘Best Stand’ at Decorex 2013) created “The Gaming House”. They are known for their creativity and style, which was very evident in the stand (seen above).
Russell Sage and Fromental collaborated to produce the set of “The Orgy” which featured a backdrop of commissioned wallpaper that, together with the richly-coloured Gainsborough silks and damasks, form a very literal translation of the original painting scene.
Timorous Beasties and Retrouvius (who love an eccentric pattern) created the installation “The Madhouse” (see above). During Georgian times it was not uncommon for the wealthy to visit ‘mad-houses’ to view the lunatics. In this recreation, they invite the viewer to enter the vignette and be surrounded by caricatures of 18th century “unfortunates” as they were commonly called.
“The Prison” was designed by Shaun Clarkson; it featured only peep-holes through which one could discover the wonders within… It is a homage to this modern designers penchant for the avant-garde and the extravagant!
“The Marriage” was recreated by Kit Kemp in collaboration with high-end brand de Gournay who used their delicate hand-painted wall-coverings as a background to all the mad curiosities and eccentricities.
Lulu Lytle of Soane Britain worked with Edward Bulmer – renowned for restoring Britain’s heritage buildings – on “The Heir”…
And lastly, sought-after interior designer Peter Phan – in conjunction with a number of renowned luxury brands such as Andrew Martin, Simpsons Furniture and Mirrors and Samuel & Sons – put together this scene entitled “The Arrest” (see above).
All in all, one can see that these installations at Decorex International were nothing less than a “very British” affair…