Belle Époque Accents for Modern Decor

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

One of the toughest tasks for any interior designer is to take all of the disparate styles that a client is interested in and unify them into a cohesive theme that flows seamlessly from one room to the next. Fortunately, modern furniture – with its functional simplicity and aesthetic sharpness – lends itself easily to thematic unification with many disparate styles from past eras. Perhaps the most popular retro style currently in vogue is the use of art from La Belle Époque to accent and complement contemporary European furniture. Situated between the late 19th century and World War I, the Belle Époque was a period of European history marked by widespread optimism about the new “age of machines” and abundant faith in the future. While this upbeat spirit disintegrated amidst the horrors of the First World War, the art that it produced remains as a cultural message from a past era when hope was still more popular than cynicism. For this reason, hanging Belle Époque art on the walls brings freshness and vitality to any modern home. Here are 5 paintings from the Belle Époque that will look fantastic with almost any modern decor arrangement:

Above: Sunset At Ivry by Armand Guillaumin (1873)

Above: Woman with a Parasol by Claude Monet (1875)

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Amazing Star Trek Apartment

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

You’ve all heard of “Trekkies,” the hard-core fans of the Star Trek science fiction franchise who are known to dress up as their favorite characters, attend conventions, and speak in fictional languages like Klingon. What you probably haven’t heard of, however, is a British Trekkie named Tony Alleyne, who has achieved a level of geeky fame in recent years for remodeling his apartment (or “flat” as he calls it) to resemble the bridge from Star Trek: Voyager.

Located in the town of Hinckley, which is just north of London, Alleyne’s apartment has been redesigned in every conceivable way. Rather than a ringtone, the doorbell produces an audio clip of Star Trek: the Next Generation star Patrick Stewart saying “Welcome to the 24th century”. All of the walls are made to resemble the interior of a Starfleet vessel – glowing lights and all – while the washroom includes an extensive schematic of the Voyager‘s interior design. Even the kitchen table has been designed along Star Trek lines, with sleek, angular curves and a glossy waterproof coating.

Alleyne first began his home decor makeover after his wife left back in 1994 and he decided that he needed something to do. Little did he know how successfully his redesign would proceed over the years, nor how much recognition it would earn him from Trekkies and interior designers alike. Due to the high number of questions he receives from other Trekkies who are eager to transform their own apartments into miniature Starfleet ships, Alleyne has begun a consulting company called 24th Century Design which specializes in Star Trek decor. It’s only logical.

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Who Doesn’t Love Modular Storage?

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Obviously, being a person who enjoys modern furniture, I love modular storage. Nobody has the same stuff, so why shouldn’t we be able to store our stuff that we do have in ways that best suit our stuff? Gotta have stuff, right? It’s gotta go somewhere.

One of Alain Gilles‘ babies, the Container is an impressive piece that is fully customizable and will make your stuff look great.

Depending on what you need it for, you can customize it to become a media cabinet, dresser, tv stand or whatever else your mind can come up with. The MDF containers can be stacked, interchanged or removed from the elm base altogether making it a great piece for those of us who like everything to be in its right place. The storage compartments come in all shapes and sizes so no matter what you plan on putting in them has a cozy home.

I really feel that the simplicity in the design compliments the irregular skyline created by the different containers stacked upon the base. The incredibly simple and elegant base is a canvas on which you paint your organization needs. Cheesy, but awesome.

Alain Gilles Container

Alain Gilles Container

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Alex Mecker’s Kinetic Coffee Table

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

I’ve always had a soft spot for kinetic art. It brings me back to my Lego and Meccano influenced childhood, no matter how cheesy it may be. I am a geek. This piece, influenced by the work of Theo Jansen & Reuben Margolin and built by Alex Mecker for his Purdue furniture design course, is a stunning marriage of Baltic Birch plywood and oak doweling to create a lifelike yet mechanical motion underneath the glass tabletop. The glass measures 50″ by 30″ and makes for a beautiful frame through which to view the waving pieces of birch. This is a functional work of art that really speaks to me and shows you just how innovative and great the up and coming furniture designers are. Kudos.

Kanagawa Kinetic Coffee Table

Kanagawa Kinetic Coffee Table

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VONDOM’s 2011 Designs

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

 
I’ve been really enjoying what’s coming out of the shop over at the Spanish design firm VONDOM. This was a company I’ve not been too familiar with until recently when I caught this video on Youtube a few weeks back. Their product line up ranges from indoor to outdoor, and their design are nothing but modern. If all their designs, you should really check into the lighting and lamps they do because they’re unlike anything else coming out at the moment. I was craving an ocean side Spanish villa by the time this video was done playing through so enjoy and let us know what you think.