Friday, September 10, 2010

Artful Angles

How about a little bit of geometry for the day? Don't worry, there won't be a quiz at the end!

Graphic shapes and arrangements can create drama and energy or, conversely, order and structure, depending on the application. For example, in the tiled foyer by Steven Gambrel above, guests are instantly struck by the liveliness of the hallway and are enticed to find out what lies beyond, despite the simple furnishings and dichromatic palette. The shapes and angles do all the talking!

However, in the living room by Bunny Williams below, a cozy sofa and armchairs are offset by an arrangement of artwork that actually creates order and neatness in the layout. The art is actually bringing calm through structure in this example.


Kelly Wearstler gives us another illustration of how to derive energy from angles. In the lobby of the Viceroy hotel in Palm Springs (above), the mosaic wall almost buzzes from the color and movement of the concentric squares.

Similarly, this foyer by Markham Roberts has a stirringly cheerful effect on anyone passing through it. Diagonal lines on the walls create movement, while the colorful rug gives an artsy, playful feel to the space.

In another lovely room by Bunny Williams (featured in Lonny magazine), the framed botanicals and semicircular set of tribal-looking tools create a tidy layout that seems to extend the headboard to include the entire wall.

The artwork steals the show in this super-festive foyer by Jamie Drake. Despite all the color, the linear prints give the eye a sleek and organized focal point, while the curtains add an element of fun with a diamond print. (Remember, diagonal lines create energy!)

I just love this beachy, yet dramatic dining room by Martyn Lawrence Bullard. The palette is so soothing (as are the clean stripes on the chairs), but the wooden beams of the ceiling and overscale, spherical light fixtures lend an element of surprise and generate a more playful mood in the grand space.

Although hard edges and right angles abound in the furnishings and fixtures in these next two photos (designs by Steven Gambrel), these spaces are anything but stuffy or tame. Orderly doesn't have to mean bland!

Thom Filicia uses stripes to bring a clean, graphic element to a sitting area and bedroom. I love the chevron stripes on the chairs above and the quatrefoil of the headboard below! (Quatrefoil is one of my favorite shapes!)

Rugs can bring some unexpected excitement to a room, without overwhelming it.

Ashley Whittaker uses a playful mix of fabrics above (loving the honeycomb rug!), while Kelly Wearstler and Nate Berkus keep it simple, featuring one main pattern on the floor (both below).

It really seems to me that generating contrasts throughout each room makes for great spaces. So, varied as the execution may be (stripes or chevrons, circles or squares, paintings or objects), using sharp angles and linear accents really can be that essential factor creating the contrast, with order or energy as needed.

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