Graffiti

How I customized black and white toile de jouy by Ginevra Held

Hi! So over the summer, I was looking for a fabric to use in the living room of my Mom’s stone farmhouse in the south of France.  I had chosen to liven up the room with hot pink accents.  I spray painted a number of things neon pink, including a Marianne bust, two empire style sconces, a bird cage and some hay.  I also had the beams painted pink.  So I needed a dash of pink on the two white sofas to tie everything together.  I knew I wanted toile.  Ideally a hot pink toile.  We went to a number of stores, but couldn’t find any.  Then we found a fabric store that had black and white toile.  I had in the back of my head this idea that I could customized a black and white toile by painting a motif on it in the same pink. At first I was going to make a stencil, of a piece sign, or something else and use that to spray paint the motif.  Then I came up with the idea of highlighting parts of the toile by taping around those areas. With the other areas taped up, I would then spray the exposed areas, and then take the tape off revealing hot pink accented parts of the toile.  This idea was partially in tribute to a new toile pattern that I had seen from Pierre Frey. The fabric house had worked with an artist (Hervé Mat&Jewski) who took a traditional Toile de Jouy print and highlighted aspects of it in neon colors.

Photo via: http://magazine.pierrefrey.com/?cat=26&lang=en&paged=2

Photo via: http://magazine.pierrefrey.com/?cat=26&lang=en&paged=2

 In typically french manner, they took something old and made it new again.  I think this is what i like most about French design.  They acknowledge and celebrate their heritage, but always always move forward and live in the present.  A prime example of this duality is the designer Philippe Starck.  All of his designs are new and innovative, but they firmly acknowledge a long history of French design.  Prime example, the Louis Ghost Chair.

Here is a break down of the customizing process:

Here is the pillow fabric before:

Here is the parts taped around to be "highlighted":

Pillows Spray Painted:

Tape taken off and the new fabric revealed:

Here is a picture of the pillows in situ in the living room:

The photographer suggested I pose hugging the pillows.  I thought that a little weird.  I did it anyway.  Please forgive me.

I know I know, super weird!!!!

I know I know, super weird!!!!

So anyway, that was the influence behind the pillows and how I customized the fabric.  I made a video of me taking the tape off, but honestly I don't know how to upload it here without a vimeo account and I hate making accounts.  I just hate it.  I hate passwords and usernames.  I just can't right now.  I can't!!! ok, I'm calming down.  I like the video though. Maybe I'll post it to Instagram for my millions of followers. Just kidding.  But for real, thank you to anyone reading this and to people liking my designs on Instagram. I appreciate the support.  Really!!!!!!!

Before and After Part 2: Bedroom 1 by Ginevra Held

So lets explore one of the two bedrooms I designed, again for my Mom's house.  Thanks Mom! Mom. Mom. MAAAAAAAAAOOOOM! Meatloaf! Okay, thank you Mom and Will Ferrell.

So here is the bedroom before:

Bedroom before

Bedroom before

So the room is nice.  Great bay window lighting, good amount of space.  Its just kinda boring. Not designed.

Here is after:

So, not to brag or anything, but I think it looks pretty dope.  Yea that's right.  So, I created a sort of mood board for this design.  Just now.  I don't use mood boards to design.  I start with an idea and then the design evolves and progresses.  But I thought it would be interesting to see it represented in a 2-D way.  Here it is:

In the middle, you can see a painting, this is a painting by the Australian painter Ken Done.  I had bought my Mom a limited edition print while I was living in Sydney, Australia. This print was the starting point for the design.  It defined the color scheme.  

After deciding the color scheme, next was materials.  I knew I wanted some printed patterned fabric.  We chose the fabric company Toiles de Mayennes, a french company with outposts in Paris as well as Bordeaux, a large city relatively close to my Mom's house in France.  We chose a toile and a stripe to go with the print.  I knew I wanted a toile de joey because it is a classic french pattern that lends history and charm to any interior.  It was paired with a stripe in similar tones for a bit of modernity.  The materials were used to create custom pillows.  We also chose an Ikat pillow from Kim Seybert, because honestly, with these colors and the way the scheme was coming along, the more patterns the merrier!

From the beginning I wanted a graffiti piece.  My brother is a talented art student, street artist, glass artist and illustrator, so naturally I wanted hime to do the graffiti piece. I liked the idea of having graffiti in the house, I adore the brightness of it, its graphic quality.  I was really interested in house it would interact with classic french toile de joey.  Both toile de joey and Graffiti come from the same family.  Graffiti has a place in the lexicon of art history and decoration.  

I asked my brother to use Montana 300 water based paints.  They are suitable for indoor use and therefore less toxic to humans and the environment.  I use the greenest house paint as well.  I just think its better to avoid toxins as much as possible.

Anyways, I asked my brother to write "Bonnes Reves", which means Sweet Dreams in French.  We took a look at different graffiti styles as well as his own and he drew out the design before actually painting it.  The paints are again within the color scheme from the original print.

I wanted to use pendant lamps for side lights, so I chose the Muuto E27 pendant lights.  They come in pink, which is awesome.  And I love the exposed bulb look as you know. Alvar Aalto stools that had been used in other parts of the house, were brought in for side tables.  Their light wood blends in, and is restful in this sea of color.  Frankly, I wanted other side tables, but tables are very expensive, and I don't believe in buying crap, especially since a lot of crap these days is really expensive. It was better to integrate the gorgeous Aalto furniture, than buy something else.  Better for the budget too.  I think the reason the Aalto furniture ends up working is because of the graffiti.  The graffiti brings the modern classic into the contemporary, graffiti is the new modern.

 

Exposed Bulb Lighting -- what a turn on!!!! by Ginevra Held

Bedroom designed by Ginevra Held

Bedroom designed by Ginevra Held

Hey, hey, hey! Let's talk about exposed bulb lighting baby. Let's talk about you and me. Gratuitous 90's music reference. Shout out to Salt-n-Pepa.  Anywhooooo, I am a fan of exposed bulb lighting.  I used the Muuto E27 pendant lamp in both of the bedrooms I designed in my Mom's house in San Francisco.

In the photo above, they are on either side of the bed as bedside lights.  Whats great about hanging pendants on either side of  a bed is that it frees up room on the side table for books, flowers, magazines, tissues, you know the usual.  

Design wise, I love how they represent sort of the ultimate in minimalism.  Table lamps, wall sconces, chandeliers, all of these lights, at least now, require bulbs.  The bulbs are what make it a functional object, the bulb is what makes any of these lights.  Strip away the lampshades, the ornate styling and what do you have a bulb.  So a hanging bulb is the simplest purest representation of a light fixture.  And whats wonderful, is that the iconic look of a lightbulb that we all know from pictures of Edison, is beautiful in it of itself.  In fact, the Muuto E27 is named after the 27mm screw based used by Thomas Edison for the first light bulb. 

Here's another place I used it:

Design by Ginevra Held

Design by Ginevra Held

Here I put the Muuto E27 into a corner of a bedroom as a reading nook.  I paired it with Philippe Starck's Louis Ghost chair.  The ghost chair is a modern interpretation of an ornate classic.  It distills the classic form of a carved and upholstered Louis XVI armchair, makes it modern by simplifying it and making it from a modern material, clear polycarbonate.  In the background is an empty Ikea frame that takes its form from ornate Rococo frames of the 18th Century, and mass produces it in opaque white plastic.  I love the conversation these three are having.  Its like a modernist discussion of acknowledging the past and then using the present to pay homage but move forward at the same time.  This is my favorite kind of design.  A combination of past and present.  This is the ultimate in post modernism.  We have moved beyond stark minimalism (I hope) and can now contextualize and appreciate the past in the present.  I think Marie Antoinette digs it.

Here is a picture of exposed bulbs in the lobby of La Maison Champs Elysees, a hotel in Paris designed by one of my favorite designers, the famed fashion designer Martin Margiela.  I adore his use of exposed bulbs here.  Does it get any cooler than this?

La Maison Champs Elysees, désigned by Martin Margiela. photo from www.lamaisonchampselysees.com

La Maison Champs Elysees, désigned by Martin Margiela. photo from www.lamaisonchampselysees.com

Here is another photo, this one of an apartment designed by Philippe Starck for the development design company called Yoo.  Instead a single bulb, its a chandelier made from multiple bulbs, I love that look too.

Finally, I would like to mention, that exposed bulb lights emit wonderful light, Its not harsh, they work with dimmers, they look good and they function well. Isn't that the ultimate iteration of modern design, looks good and works?  I think so.

Transformation: How a Restoration Hardware Wingback gets some street Cred by Ginevra Held

I knew from the beginning that I wanted a French Louis style chair, we're talking Louis XIV, XV, or XVI here, for my living room redesign.  I really wanted a Bergere.  I spent a lot of time looking on One Kings Lane, and while there were many tempting options, I ultimately decided to buy a French style chair from Restoration Hardware.  The reason being that I knew it would be well made, modern proportioned, and I could get one that was clean.  As in, one that didn't have someone else's idea of upholstery on it, I didn't want anything chintzy.  Not that there is anything wrong with chintz mind you! But I wanted something that was a blank slate.  I wanted a fresh canvas.  I had the idea that I wanted to make it something unique and different myself.

We had been to an exhibit at the de Young called Keith Haring: The Political Line.  Aside from the fact that Keith Haring was an amazing artist and person and what he did for raising political awareness about numerous issues, and his awesomeness goes on and on --- I was struck by the fact that the man literally drew and painted on everything.  I was especially intrigued by a series of urns that he had drawn all over, an egyptian statue covered in his work, and the statue of liberty in pop colors and again covered in his doodles.  I loved it.  

With Keith Haring swimming around in my brain, I thought about the idea of drawing on a chair. After all, all fabric patterns start out as drawings, so drawing on fabric on a chair is just an extension of that, essentially cutting out the middle man.  I ordered the Lorraine chair in White Army Duck with a distressed white oak finish for the wood.  Here is a picture of it before it got its makeover and after:

Normally when you think of Restoration Hardware, you think of things that are all kind of a nice shade of beige, like this:

But in my head I was thinking of Keith Haring drawing all over everything, I was thinking of Maison Martin Margiela sneakers that were written all over (yes, I adore Martin Margiela) and I was thinking of fun mod fabric on old french chairs a la Phillippe Starck for Yoo.  They look like this:

Clockwise from top left: Philippe Starck for Yoo wingback chair with fan upholstery and silver painted wood, Maison Martin Margiela sneakers, Keith Haring Statue of Liberty, Keith Haring Egyptian sculpture.

Clockwise from top left: Philippe Starck for Yoo wingback chair with fan upholstery and silver painted wood, Maison Martin Margiela sneakers, Keith Haring Statue of Liberty, Keith Haring Egyptian sculpture.

I admit, at first I was scared and did not touch the chair. I left it alone, put that red pillow on it and that was it.  But then I came up with a black, white, and yellow scheme for the living room and I wanted a hero piece, I wanted something that really stood out.  So I went back to my idea of transforming the chair.  My brother is an amazing visual artist, so I showed him my ideas for the chair.  He is very familiar with Haring's work, and liked the Margiela sneakers.  He showed me some drawings he had done, and then did some more, we discussed just doing the outside of the chair and arm rests.  Finally,  I handed my brother a fat tip pen that we bought at a spray paint store, and he got to work.  What he drew is fantastic and I love it.

After that, it was time for the paint.  I really liked the idea of painting the wood a different color.  A pop color. The scheme was black, white, yellow, so instead of leaving it white, or painting it black, I just went for it and painted it yellow.  It took about 6 coats with a delicate brush, but it was worth it.  I love how it looks, how it stands out, but at the same time is perfectly attuned to the color scheme.  I love that my Resto Hardware Lorraine chair, in all its pristine glory got some street cred.  Now its my chair.