“CURATED SERIES”: THE FIFTH WALL, EDWARD FIELDS & THE BEACON EDITION at TAI PING





A-Gent of Style
is delighted to announce a new feature on the blog,
“Curated Series”, which will showcase the latest collection that has inspired him in the world of design. Today’s post introduces the first collection.


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Cactus Flower I, Tai Ping showroom, Design Center East, London

Cactus Flower I, Tai Ping showroom, Chelsea Harbour Design Centre East, London



Back in March this year, A-Gent of Style went to the Chelsea Harbour Design Centre to explore what Design Week had to offer and, as per his custom, paid a visit to his most cherished Tissus d’Hélène. As he entered the corridor on the fourth floor of the Design Centre East building, A-Gent of Style noticed from the corner of his eye a strikingly bold rug through a small glass window of the Tai Ping showroom that was reminiscent principally of iconic Gio Ponti designs and other interiors references. Enthused by this ravishing sight (and at the prospect of having a catch-up with Tai Ping’s delightfully sunny team), A-Gent of Style went in the high-end carpet showroom to investigate, explore, question and scrutinise the rug. And here are his findings.


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Samples from The Beacons Edition by Edward Fields, Tai Ping showroom, Design Center East, London

Samples from The Beacon Edition by Edward Fields, Tai Ping showroom, Chelsea Harbour Design Centre East, London

 

One of five unique carpet brands represented at Tai Ping, all brilliantly designed and customised to match each designer’s unique vision,
Edward Fields Carpet Makers launched in autumn 2013 the Beacon Edition, a vibrant new rug collection edition (Edward Fields preferred this terminology for his collections, a term borrowed from the worlds of art and publishing, implying artistry, rarity, and value), as well as seven new designs. Suffused with complex textures and patterns mixed with both bright and muted tones that have resulted in a series of rugs that are intrinsically rustic, yet modern, the Beacon Edition takes inspiration from minimalist mid-century desert houses, with a backdrop of Native American age-old craftsmanship, to a bold, fresh and simple (visually not technically) stage. Large and small-scale geometric designs taken from woven folkloric images, as well as repeated asymmetric, flame-stitch and diamond patterns, are used in unusual and vivid color combinations.



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Shamefully unbeknowst to him, A-Gent of Style discovered Edward Fields (1912-1979) was an american carpet maker known worldwide for producing heirloom quality custom floorcoverings for America’s greatest architects and interior designers. Recognised today as a carpet maker guru, Fields was also noted for his polymathic talents as an entrepreneur, a visionary, a family man, and a dandy
– also known these days as an a-gent of style…

Introduced abruptly into the carpet business by his uncle after the untimely death of his father in the midst of The Great Depression, Fields learned his trade in the fast lane and opened in 1935 his own business at the tender age of 23 years old.
A vanguard of the American design scene, Edward Fields Carpet Makers has been creating ever since bespoke luxury carpets and rugs for over 70 years, known for unparalleled design, quality and craftsmanship. As for all of Tai Ping creations, an Edward Fields carpet is a study in customization whereby each piece that is produced is bespoke, tailored precisely to the aesthetic vision and practical requirements of their clients. Every design progresses through a meticulously managed hand-manufacturing process. Found in architectural landmarks as well as notable private residences across the world, Edward Fields’ extraordinary custom capabilities have made it a trade secret among designers for decades and the luxury custom house that is still revered today.

 

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So without further ado, here is a selection of Edward Fields’ Beacon Edition, a dazzling array of rugs for the “fifth wall”, an analogy penned by Fields himself to describe the floor and the importance of treating this surface as a key decorative element, too often neglected these days (A-Gent of style was told by Veere Grenney a few years ago that during his time at Colefax & Fowler in the 1980s, an antique carpet would always be the starting point to a decoration scheme).



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Cactus Flower I

A geometric abstraction utilizing diamond shapes that rhythmically fold in multiple directions, depicting the petals and scales of a cactus flower; this pattern is made of natural gray wool and silk in acid yellow and chartreuse.

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Below, a slideshow displaying the iconic diamond and triangle-shaped designs
Gio Ponti used in two of his projects (and A-Gent of Style‘s dream destinations), Parco dei Principi  hotel in Sorrento and Villa Planchart in Venezuela, that reminded him of Cactus Flower I, and other ‘trending’ references similar to
Cactus Flower I spotted by A-Gent of Style over the months:

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Intaglio I

A geometric design from the Edward Fields archives depicts the carving of layers into darker rocks to reveal a stratum of lighter soil; this design is illuminated by rich shades of green silk supplemented with natural wools.

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Edward Fields flagship showroom, A&D Building, New York

Edward Fields flagship showroom, A&D Building, New York




Zig Zag I

A large-scale, abstract, early 1970s piece from the Edward Fields archives featuring interlocking geometric shapes and bands, mirror each other in an asymmetrical way.


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Edward Fields flagship showroom, A&D Building, New York

Edward Fields flagship showroom, A&D Building, New York




Slats Incredible I

An intricate design abstraction from the late 1980s recolored in bordeaux, yellow, and light blue in silk and wool is reminiscent of traditional basket weaving techniques.

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Ricochet I

Features high and low cut pile in a bold and timeless pattern from the 1970s, with an irregular concentric design and uneven borders.

 

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Edward Fields showroom in the A&D Building in New York

Edward Fields flagship showroom, A&D Building, New York

 

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Edward Fields flagship showroom, A&D Building, New York





Desert Rose I

A concentric flame-stitch design in a square rug composition, adapted from the archives and dated from 1986; this piece has been reprised in Beacon with a new combination of natural gray wools and salmon silks.

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Evening Sun I

A geometric allegory of sunrays in tones of oranges; this archival border design from 1984 is crafted in wool cut pile with wool loop outlines.

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If you would like to see the entire Beacon Edition or find out more about
Edward Fields and Tai Ping, you can contact Tai Ping’s UK Managing Director Kathryn Hallam on +44 (0)207 808 9650 or by email at kathrynhallam@taipingcarpets.com


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– All photos by Edward Fields, Tai Ping and A-Gent of Style

 

“A LONDONER IN PARIS”: THE SYBARITIC WORLD OF BULY 1803



 

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If you are a ‘flâneur‘ in Paris, you will be familiar with seeing olde worlde façades of apothecaries. Very few, however, have kept the original interiors.
Not too dissimilarly to Antoinette Poisson (see last Monday’s post here), today’s feature, steeped in history, showcases how an establishment founded in 1803 was reborn and re-imagined for 2014 in St Germain-des-Près.

On the instruction of his friend Christophe d’Aboville (previous artistic director at David Hicks France), A-Gent of Style made his way last week to Buly 1803,
6 rue Bonaparte, to see for himself the new beauty brand and its unique boutique launched on April 1st which has been garnering a lot of attention and press since.


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The evocative universe of Buly is twofold; it is a decorative tour de force as well as a step back into early 19th century history. As soon as you walk in L’Officine Universelle Buly, you are transported into a space and an age celebrating the apothecaries of yesteryear and the refined establishments of the master perfumers. Parisian Jean-Vincent Bully was one of them and a famous one at that; his “Vinaigre de Toilette” was highly popular then and Bully even inspired Balzac to create one of his eponymous protagonists for one of his novels, César Birotteau. Inspired by archives of his 18th century officine (dispensary) and business, a new, modernised Buly was resurrected and rejuvenated, losing one l on the way to the 21st century to avoid the pejorative connotation in English. The timeless and charming result is a complete success; it is as if the store had always been there and its products simply a ‘remembrance of things past’.


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Self-described as a “universal trading post for beauty secrets amassed over the centuries”, Buly 1803‘s universe is filled with scents and aromas but also heritage, traditions, memories and mysteries. Glass jars and vials filled with oils, perfume bottles and flasks, soaps, powders, creams, clays, candles, scented matches and accessories, all adorned with traditional but terribly chic packaging inspired by old documents, grace the dressers and shelves.

The decor is awash with striking elements: antiqued, glazed terracotta tiling made in Tuscany in glorious turquoise, ceiling and original beams delicately painted in white and blue à la française, reminiscent of faïence, that would make Mark D. Sikes weak at the knees, counters with deeply veined, swirling, rare Italian marble, antique lamps, mirror and ‘swan’ tap, all found at the flea market of Clignancourt and, throughout the boutique, imposing oak and walnut burl woodwork constructed by a carpenter just as in olden times, also inspired by old photos of pharmacies Hôtel Dieu.


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The creative mastermind behind this rejuvenation is Ramdane Touhami, entrepreneur and art director, who has worked in the past with Le Bon Marché, Liberty and who has also renewed bell-covered Cire Trudon candles, now internationally famed.

Behind the concoctions is his elegant wife, Victoire de Taillac, a proficient connoisseur of cosmetics and an expert on the history of beauty in feminity. In partnership with Touhami, de Taillac launched Parfumerie Générale, the first alternative cosmetics store in France. Victoire is also the co-founder with Touhami of Corpus Magazine, a yearly and bilingual publication on beauty of the bodily and spiritual kind.


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A breath of fresh air from the saturated, mass-produced and mass marketed beauty market, Buly 1803 has invented new skin care products for the face, body and hair, as well as personal and atmospheric perfumes, drawing on the most innovative cosmetic techniques (extraordinarily, the perfumes don’t use alcohol or glycerine but are water-based, which leaves the skin unctuously smooth) and on the virtues of natural ingredients, such as lavender flowers, iris root powder, raspberry seeds, baobab seed oil, sweet almonds, and green desert clay, that contain neither Parabens, phenoxyethanol or Silicon.

A-Gent of Style dutifully tried, only for the sake of research of course, the Pommade Virginale, a miraculous cream for the face. Needless to say, he is now a convert. And so will you, after your compulsory visit to this atypical, trend-setting boutique next time you are in the French capital.


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– Photos by Buly 1803 and A-Gent of Style






“A LONDONER IN PARIS”: THE IM-PRESS-IVE, DOMINO-ED WORLD OF ANTOINETTE POISSON




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They say patience is a virtue. In today’s fast-moving world of the Internet and the blogosphere where ‘being on the button’ and the first person to cover a topic are key, patience can be fatal. Four months ago, A-Gent of Style took the risky decision of waiting until today to finally feature one of his most exciting discoveries from the world of decoration since the beginning of the new year.

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Back in January this year, A-Gent of Style visited Maison & Objet in Paris to focus solely on Hall 7, where the more selective and high-end stands of Les Editeurs and Scènes d’Intérieur are gathered. By pure happenstance, he came across
Antoinette Poisson and, enraptured ever since by the discovery of their sheer brilliancy, decided to wait for his next trip to the City of Light to visit them in their studio and give them the extensive exposure they truly deserve.


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As soon as he arrived in the Gallic capital last Friday to resume his series
‘A Londoner in Paris’A-Gent of Style made his way to Bastille, in the 11th Arrondissement, skipping along the River Seine with eagerness, to visit
Antoinette Poisson in their atelier and dwell into their ravishing world situated in the picturesque and bucolic Cour Damoye, off the Place de la Bastille, once the lair of Parisian decorators in the 18th century. The much-anticipated reunion between A-Gent of Style and Antoinette Poisson finally took place and the studio visit unexpectedly turned into an interview, a photo shoot and a delicious lunch at a local brasserie. The utterly charming team did not disappoint. Far from it.

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 Antoinette Poisson produces single-sheet, hand-blocked wallpapers, known as ‘dominos’, reproduced or inspired by 18th century documents using traditional techniques of the time. Founded in 2012 by a triumvirate of young paper conservators, Julie Stordiau, Vincent Farelly and Jean-Baptiste Martin graduated eight years ago from the Institut National du Patrimoine and the Sorbonne, and then trained seperately for several years working on wallpaper conservation projects and reconstruction for historic interiors in France, England and Belgium. Two years ago, the 21 century dominotiers took the challenge to create Antoinette Poisson to not only pay homage to the artistic tradition of the 18th century which they cherish and now specialise in, but also to revive the splendour of the era’s intimate interiors, reintroduce an almost-forgotten tradition and revive the art of making domino wallpapers, today on the wane and on the risk of ‘extinction’.


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As for “Antoinette Poisson”, there is nothing, ahem, fishy about the name but simply a storied and catchy play on the actual identity of Antoinette Poisson Jeanne Antoinette Poisson better known as Marquise de Pompadour, mistress of Louis XV, patron of the decorative arts and great lover of wallpaper – then all the rage in the middle of the 18th century.

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Originally used to decorate the interiors of cabinets, chests and intimate small rooms, dominos are single sheets of hand-blocked wallpapers measuring approximately 32 x 42 cm each (rolls only appeared at the end of the 18th century). Comprising eight sheets per square metre, they can therefore be assembled together at the decorator’s leisure thus allowing for a wide variety of combinations.
The trio produces dominos in their atelier using traditional 18th century techniques on hand-made (and soft to the touch) rag paper made for them by a maître papetier in Angoulême called Jacques Bréjoux; the colouring is made by hand or stencilled. The installation requires a wall specialist.


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A-Gent of Style
fell head over heels at Maison & Objet for the enchanting vignette Antoinette Poisson created for their first ‘outing’ on the design scene, and has since been obsessed by the mesmeric visuals of their first collection and the mixed profusion of styles that gave the impression of the accretion of past generations.

The fourteen designs (three colourways each; they do bespoke colours too) are bursting with delicate and exquisite motifs, fresh and bold colours, and also striking graphics and typography. Replete with a synaesthesia of Rococo-esque florid patterns such as fleurons and indiennes as well as more contemporary geometrics which rub shoulders with one another and seamlessly complement each other, the collection is split between reproductions from historical dominos papers, inspirations from archives and new creations.

For Maison & Objet, Antoinette Poisson collaborated with Mariétou Kandji, a textile designer for the home and fashion (Hermès, Kenzo, Chanel) to design and create additional designs to their hand-blocked wallpapers and textiles. The engravings for the hand-blocked wallpapers are also used for framed artwork and upholstery fabrics which are printed on antique linen or embossed velvet, which they have used lately to make cushions (or even dinner mats for the Elle Deco café at Maison & Objet).



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Antoinette Poisson‘s unique daring vision, artisanal savoir-faire and rarefied style are deservedly receiving more and more attention as we speak; in the press (click here), on television (you can see a small video in French by Les Arts de Vivre here – starts at 2.00min), on the radio (hear an interview in French on France Culture here) and in the next few weeks, a few leading international design magazines will be featuring these rising stars.

Maîtres dominotiers of the 21st century with a surprinsgly contemporary feel, Julie, Jean-Baptiste, Vincent and their dominos are clearly fast becoming ‘les darlings’ of the decorative world; as a matter of fact, they have just been snapped on the other side of the pond by American design gurus and tastemakers John Derian and Michael S. Smith who will be representing Antoinette Poisson in their New York and Los Angeles showrooms respectively. Fame and recognition beckon. As for their representation in the UK…what do they say again about patience?? Stay tuned!



The studio:

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Past commissions:


esquisse couleur papier peint chinois Frederic

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A new creation:

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Some restoration work:


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– All photos by Antoinette Poisson, Sandro di Carlo Darsa and A-Gent of Style




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