THE ONLY WAY IS…UP: LOOKING at CEILINGS



 

by Shelley Johnstone Paschke

by Shelley Johnstone Paschke

 

If the rug maker Edward Fields penned the floor the “fifth wall” in the 1960s, then ceilings have to become the sixth wall. A-Gent of Style tries to remind himself as much as he can to look up wherever he goes as there are always so many wonderful surprises above and up eye level.

Paying attention to the way certain buildings  are crowned can be exhilarating. We’ve all been wowed not only in our own country but also abroad on holiday by stupendous iconic domes, churches, halls of listed buildings and other constructions.

When it comes to the interior design of houses, hotels, bars, restaurants for instance, not decorating a ceiling can be a considered choice in order to allow the rest of the decor to sing for itself. Some interiors indeed dictate that ceilings should be left alone. But more than often, A-Gent of Style feels that untreated, off-white ceilings look a bit bare when they are ‘naked’, and looking forlorn, as if they are unworthy of any consideration by the designers and their clients.

There is a multitude of ways to give a ceiling an interesting and original treatment. They can be painted in a matt matching colour or in contrasting high gloss lacquer; they can be upholstered in grass cloth, silk velvet, ceramic tiles even in tin tiles, or wallpapered in stripes or a floral design; tented rooms enveloped in only one fabric are currently having a revival too; wooden panels are timeless. And who could resist having a specialist painter or an architectural plasterer embellish a room with a unique and original commissioned design?

So let us look today at ceilings, one of the unsung jewels of design:

Palazzo Margherita in Bernalda, Italy

Francis Ford Coppola’s Palazzo Margherita in Bernalda, Italy

 

by Jorge Elias

by Jorge Elias

 

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via bennisongillynewberry instagram

via bennisongillynewberry instagram

 

by Sara Story from the Elle Decor Modern Life Concept House

by Sara Story

 

by David Mlinaric

by David Mlinaric

 

Charme Restaurant by Golucci International Design, Beijing, China

Charme Restaurant by Golucci International Design, Beijing, China

 

Villa Planchart, Caracas, by Gio Ponti

Villa Planchart, Caracas, by Gio Ponti

 

by David Mlinaric

by David Mlinaric

 

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via martynbullard instagram

via martynbullard instagram

 

via markdsikes instagram

via markdsikes instagram

 

Pugin's house The Grange in Ramsgate

Pugin’s house The Grange in Ramsgate

 

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by Jaime Parlade

by Jaime Parlade

 

by Howard Slatkin

by Howard Slatkin

 

Milton Hall, Cambridgeshire

Milton Hall, Cambridgeshire

 

The U.N. Plaza apartment of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Schneider by Burt Wayne and John Doktor

The U.N. Plaza apartment of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Schneider by Burt Wayne and John Doktor

 

Valentino’s villa near Sienna, Tuscany by Renzo Mongiardino

Valentino’s villa near Sienna, Tuscany by Renzo Mongiardino

 

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by Commune

by Commune

 

Steven Gambrell

Steven Gambrel

 

by Barry Dixon

by Barry Dixon

 

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Nicola Del Roscio's villa in Gaeta, Italy, with 18th-century frescoes thought to be by the artist Sebastiano Conca

Nicola Del Roscio’s villa in Gaeta, Italy, with 18th-century frescoes thought to be by the artist Sebastiano Conca



by Jacques Garcia - Pavilion Champ de Bataille

by Jacques Garcia – Pavilion Champ de Bataille

 

Scrovegni Chapel, Padua, by Giotto

Scrovegni Chapel, Padua, by Giotto

 

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Strawberry Hill

Strawberry Hill

 

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William Morris's Red House

William Morris’s Red House

 

by Eddie Lee

by Eddie Lee

 

by Mario Buatta

by Mario Buatta

 

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Patrick Gallagher's apartment in Rome's Palazzo Taverna

Patrick Gallagher’s apartment in Rome’s Palazzo Taverna

 

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Hearst Castle, California

Hearst Castle, California

 

Jean Louis-Deniot

Jean Louis-Deniot

 

Osterly House - Middlesex by Robert Adam

Osterly House – Middlesex by Robert Adam

 

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by Cathy Oswandel

by Cathy Oswandel



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Castellini House, Milan

Castellini House, Milan

 

by Catherine Kwong

by Catherine Kwong

 

via Lonny

via Lonny

 

Mantova House by Giampaolo Benedini

Mantova House by Giampaolo Benedini

 

from Country Living

from Country Living

 

by Martyn Lawrence Bullard

by Martyn Lawrence Bullard

 

by Tobi Fairley

by Tobi Fairley

 

by Kelly Wearstler

by Kelly Wearstler

 

Chatsworth, England

Chatsworth, England via instagram

 

by Kelly Wearstler

by Kelly Wearstler

 

Sudley Castle

Sudley Castle

 

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by Miles Redd



Lorry Newhouse's Manhattan home with a Rose Cumming wallpaper on the ceiling

Lorry Newhouse’s Manhattan home with a Rose Cumming wallpaper on the ceiling

 

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Mantova House by Giampaolo Benedini

Mantova House by Giampaolo Benedini

 

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Grimsthorpe Castle, Lincolnshire

Grimsthorpe Castle, Lincolnshire


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St Nicholas Church, Peper Harow

St Nicholas Church, Peper Harow

 

by Sacha Bikoff

by Sacha Bikoff

 

Churburg Castle, Northern Italy

Churburg Castle, Northern Italy

 

Churburg Castle, Northern Italy

Churburg Castle, Northern Italy

 

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by Richard Keith Langham

by Richard Keith Langham

 

by Cathy Oswandel

by Cathy Oswandel

 

 Efendi Hotel, Istanbul

Efendi Hotel, Istanbul








LUMINOUS LUMINARY: CEDRIC HARTMAN and the 1UWV LAMP



 

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When A-Gent of Style started working for Veere Grenney a few years ago, the learned decorator told him one day as they were sourcing lamps together that “this lamp was one of the most iconic lamps of the 20th century. Make sure you know it”. Ignorant and arrogant, A-Gent immediately disregarded his master’s pronouncement, probably with a with the raise of an eyebrow, as he had never seen this lighting fixture before, and carried on looking at other lamps.

by David Collins

by David Collins Studio

 

Within a few weeks of flicking through magazines, books, auction catalogues and online searches, it turned out that “this lamp” was everywhere to be seen, ubiquitous and almost omnipresent in many photos of inspiring interiors, and also that vintage, original versions of this lamp were the prized objects of many collectors, antique dealers and auction houses. Needless to say A-Gent of Style learned a lesson of humility that day.

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1UWV is the real name of “that lamp” which was created in 1966 by American designer Cedric Hartman. It was an instant hit and it has now reached iconic status. As it is very much the case with design classics, the 1UWV floor lamp is the masterful result of simplicity, purity and functionality.



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It is an all metallic slim tubular floor lamp with a rectangular counterweight base, triangular shade, spherical dimmer, adjustable height and directional light that disappears in the background, that very often unpretentiously and discreetly peeks over the back of an armchair, a chaise longue or a sofa. At the time of its creation, the look of 1UWV and its down lighting were quite revolutionary, and the antithesis then of the more fashionable fringy, chintzy lampshades with their heavy bases that casted an ambient glow rather than a focalised floodlight.


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The architectural yet elegant object nowadays comes in different finishes such as stainless steel, aluminium, nickel-plated, metal gun but the most famous finish (and chicest I think) is in brass. Over his illustrious career, the 85-year-old Hartman has designed and developed other models of lights as well as furniture such as tables, chairs and sofas but the 1UWV lamp is still is best-known work. Two of his lamps have permanent resident at MOMA in New York. Unlike his masterpiece, Hartman has always shied away from the limelight but he is still working today on new prototypes, LEDs in particular.


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Here is a selection of images of 1UWV, its creator and their appearances in striking interiors over the decades. Can you spot them all??


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cedric hartman

by Douglas Mackie

by Douglas Mackie



House in London by Veere Grenney in the 1980s that had been built for film director Richard Lester in the ’60s and decorated by David Hicks

House in London by Veere Grenney in the 1980s that had been built for film director Richard Lester in the 1960s and decorated by David Hicks

 

by Michael S.Smith

by Michael S.Smith

 

Bear-Hill Interiors

Bear-Hill Interiors

 

by Douglas Mackie

by Douglas Mackie

 

By Rita Konig

By Rita Konig



The Manhattan living room of Stanley Barrows

The Manhattan living room of Stanley Barrows

 

by Dering Hall via Randy Heller Design

by Dering Hall via randyhellerdesign instagram

 

by Mario Buatta

by Mario Buatta

 

by Pamplemousse Design

by Pamplemousse Design

 

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by Douglas Mackie

 

by Francois Catroux

by Francois Catroux

 

By Nate Berkus

By Nate Berkus

 

by Michael S.Smith

by Michael S.Smith

 

Eickes’ store, Sag Harbor

The Eickes’ store, Sag Harbor

 

by Sasha Bikoff

by Sasha Bikoff

 

by Jacques Grange

by Jacques Grange

 

by Peter Dunham

by Peter Dunham

 

IMG_2185.PNG

 

Markham Roberts

Markham Roberts

 

by Melissa Rufty. Photo by Francois Halard courtesy of The New York Times

by Melissa Rufty. Photo by Francois Halard courtesy of The New York Times

 

by BHDM Design

by BHDM Design

 

by Jorge Elias via graciousopulence's instagram

by Jorge Elias via graciousopulence’s instagram



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by Carrier & Co

by Carrier & Co

 

Mark Hampton

Mark Hampton

 

at Liz O'Brien

at Liz O’Brien

 

 

by Christopher Burns

by Christopher Burns

 

IMG_2181.PNG

 

by Douglas Mackie

by Douglas Mackie

 

 by Lee Ledbetter & Assoc.

by Lee Ledbetter & Assoc.

 

Bunny Mellon's Virginia Farm's Oak Spring Garden Library

Bunny Mellon’s Virginia Farm’s Oak Spring Garden Library

 

 

by Jacobsen Architecture

by Jacobsen Architecture

 

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by Francois Catroux

by Francois Catroux

 

by Jacobsen Architecture

by Jacobsen Architecture

 

via Mark D Sikes' instagram

via Mark D Sikes’ instagram

 

 

by Billy Baldwin

by Billy Baldwin

 

by Robert Stiln

by Robert Stilin

 

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by Lauren Coburn LLC 

by Guillaume Excoffier

by Guillaume Excoffier

by Mario Buatta

by Mario Buatta

 

 

-all images courtesy of the decorator mentioned –

PIASA AUCTIONS: SCANDINAVIAN vs BRAZILIAN vs AMERICAN DESIGN





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Over the last couple of years, A-Gent of Style has covered many a sale specialising on 20th C design on this blog, and the relevance and importance today of this speciality is showing no sign of dwindling. On the contrary.

So when you think the auction design market could not get anymore saturated with antique and vintage pieces, cometh a new (-ish) player on the scene who comes up trump with new acquisitions and collectibles.


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Enters Paris-based auction house Piasa Auctions who is currently dedicating a sale and accompanying exhibiton in its Left Bank space to an important selection of objets by Scandinavian masters in dialogue with equally iconic American and Brazilian designers. This group of architects and designers frequently collaborated and merged the modernist vernacular popular in Europe and the USA with traditional Brazilian techniques and indigenous materials such as rosewood.

Today’s auction focuses on the relationship between these three important regions in furniture design gathering stellar designers such as George Nakashima, Flemming Lassen, Arne Jacobsen, T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings, Kaare Klint, Poul Henningsen, Hans Wegner, Axel-Einar Hjorth, Edward Wormley, Paul Evans, Jorge Zalszupin, Joaquim Tenreiro, Sergio Rodrigues, José Zanine Caldas.

After considerable success in 2013 and 2014, this evening’s sale will be Piasa’s fifth in this genre and will be grouped under 294 different lots showcasing a selection of sought-after pieces with a pre-estimate of 1.5 million euros.



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Piasa will concurrently offer a large section of the sale focusing on 40 important pieces by Axel Salto with important private provenance such as Raf Simon’s private collection. 


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In preparation for the imminent and eminent sale, 
A-Gent of Style  spoke to Cédric Morisset, Head of the Design Department at Piasa.


Morisset




Why the timing of this sale? why is it relevant today?

We anticipate the general international auction schedule. It is important for us to open the new season.

What do you attribute the importance and relevance of these designers to today?

Scandinavian design can be seen as the most looked-after design by high level collectors. Brazilian and American design are the next big thing according to me, although the rarity of Brazilian design doesn’t allow the market to bloom. I have more hopes on American design by Paul Laszlo, Paul Frankl, Paul Evans,
G. Nakashima,T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings etc…


Is there a mix of provenance? do the pieces come from private collectors, antique dealers, museums? 

It’s always a mix of provenances. Always a lot of private collectors.

Is there a common denominator between these designers and these pieces?

There are a lot of historical and style connections between Brazilian, American and Scandinavian design. A few examples:  a lot of Scandinavian designers have worked in the USA (Eero Saarinen for instance for Herman Miller). Also, most of the Brazilian designers were migrants coming from Europe and inspired by the Scandinavian taste that they have adapted to local materials and workshops. Finally, most of the Danish and Swedish designers were using a lot of precious Brazilian woods such as rosewood.

What makes a piece ‘timeless’ or ‘iconic’?

It’s a tough question to answer, but a ‘design classic’ is a  manufactured object with timeless aesthetic value. It serves as a standard of its kind and, despite the year in which it was designed, is still up to date. What makes it timeless is its innovation, its simple elegant shapes, balanced and pure. Maybe also its perfect conception.

Are there any pieces in the sale that are rare and that have not been ‘seen’ in any sale in a long time?

Several vases by Axel Salto, rare and unseen, notably big with a beautiful enamel. Also a fantastic desk by Larsen and Bender Madsen (lot 83), only piece of this time known so far. A rare Hans Wegner “Crocodile” cabinet produced to a few copies only.

Which pieces do you think will generate the most interest and why?

Probably all the Axel Salto pieces. Because gathering such a collection is really hard and the quality is exceptional.



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You can view the full catalogue of the sale here


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– photos by PIASA –





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