Dec 16, 2012

Christmas Décor

Christmas is no doubly the most magical time in the year. It’s the time when we get together with our family and loved ones and we share with them with joy and love. We spend more time at our houses filled with smell of festive, home-made food, laughter, Christmas songs and beautiful decorations. Charismas tree, dining table, decorations must be everywhere, but where to look for ideas? It’s very easy; you can find them on the street and shopping malls. Literary! You just have to walk into some shops and see theirs propositions for 2012 Christmas decorations. Every single person will find something interesting in their collections, no matter if you are a traditionalist or you prefer new trends and every year your house has a new Xmas theme. I have gathered some ideas from my favorite shops, because I think that In spite of commercialization of Christmas, shops are still important source of Xmas spirit and ideas. I hope you will like them. Enjoy!

  1. Christmas at Ikea
With traditional Christmas tree you can’t go wrong. Decorated simply in 2 color scheme will add to your house fresh and rustic touch. Fireplace in the room, comfortable sofa with lots of cushions will give you a cozy feeling.

Dining room with soft lightening, faux fur, smell of freshly cut wood and Christmas tree will take you to Swedish winter wonderland.

This picture comes from 2011 collection, but frosty white is always on. White palette in décor adds glamour to the interior and gives a fairytale touch. In Ikea you can find beautiful and inexpensive table decorations.

“I’m dreaming of a white Christmas…” and lots of traditional lights in different shapes.
And on your way out of Ikea do not forget to buy some Pepparkakor cookies.

  1.  Almi Décor

    This was my favorite shop when I lived in Poland where I was buying most of my decorations, this year unfortunately I can only check their website with winter collections which as usual are a nice surprise.
Snow Queen Palace Collection”. When decorating house we can’t forget about outside
especially the doorway and front. Almi Décor proposition is very classy and luxe.

“Snow Queen Collection” is also very elegant, with white, green and beige color schemes.

The same collection as above inspired with winter stories: “Narnia” and “The Snow Queen”.

“Snow Queen Collection” – Example of the Christmas tree decorations.

Red is also a very festive color. It is a color of mulled wine, Christmas plant and cranberries. – “The Cranberry Collection”.
  1. Marks & Spencer

Green tree and gold decorations are always very classy and sophisticated. – “Antique Gold collection”.

Fairytales always inspire during the Christmas season. This Mid Winter trend brings up to our attention Hans Christian Andersen’s stories.

“Log Cabin Trend” is perfect for people who value coziness. Warm fire coming out from the fireplace, soft blanket, natural materials, lots of wood and a traditional Christmas tree this is the essence of this collection.

Decorations in this style are simple, in red, gold or green. Made from fabrics or wood. If you like this style, feel free to hang some hand-made decorations on the tree ,especially home-baked cookies. 
  1. House of Fraser

This British store chain has prepared few collections for this Christmas. Tree on picture above comes from “The Modern Romance Collection” , which main color is white, silver. All decorations will add subtle and delicate touch to your Christmas tree.

“Decadent Christmas “is another trend proposed by House of Fraser. Elements inspired by orient will add opulent touch to the Christmas décor.

“Shabby chic” edition is created for people who love vintage-style with a romantic touch.

And now one of my favorite propositions for this season. “Uber Luxe trend” As per information on the website: “Wow effect assured with gold, embellishment, feather and leopard prints. This year is looking like a wild Christmas!” I will definitely add some leopard prints to my decoration theme.

Last proposition is very close to “Log Cabin” proposed by M&S. Home in traditional and frosty style, classic decorations mixed with the contemporary elements.

As you can see major stores have prepared a very wide offer and I think that every person can find something beautiful that will add a unique style to every home.

Marry Christmas everyone!

Dec 9, 2012

White luxe

It’s December, time when people prefer to stay in warm, cozy interior and have mulled wine. For most people winter stands for snow white and Christmas. Not everyone has opportunity to see snow though. This year I’m spending Christmas in Gibraltar, where snowed just once in 1954, but I remember very well winter that I spent in Sweden and since then my love to white color in interior remained. Swedish interior design is one of my favorite and it is successfully used away from country of Ikea and "Pepparkakor" (Swedish cookies) in countries where winter doesn’t last that long.
Swedish style can have many faces: can be very classic and elegant like Gustavian look, can also be more country style, eclectic or modern, but some elements are always essential part of this Scandinavian, clean and fresh style. 

White walls
Long winter and lack of natural light is balanced by very light colors palette in an interior. Snow white or cream walls, windows, door sometimes even floor are created to give false image of light, which is so valuable during long and dark winter days.

Beautiful example of classic Gustavian style with Mora clock in the corner.

Light colors
All furniture and accessories are usually also white, beige, light blue, gold, mustard or grey. This choice of colors was chosen to maximize the light effect at home. Modern style is more vivid, tends to mix many intensive colors like green, red, blue and red. Floor is usually light brown, wooden, pine and birch is very often used. 

Contemporary rural style.

Swedish furniture comes in a different styles, all depends on what look is to be achieved. In Gustavian style furniture are elegant, based on classic style of Louis XV or more rococo style by Loius XVI, original antiques, vintage pieces.. When style is more farmhouse inspired then furniture are more rustic, simple, minimalist, very often different pieces don’t match. Everyone one knows “Ikea” and their furniture, which is often used by young people who wants to have modern home. Furniture from Ikea is affordable, simple, elegant, nicely design and trendsetting. Originally Swedish style is very clear and minimal, so if you want to create nice space it is better to use minimal amount of furniture, although it’s used more often in bigger spaces. 

Dining room inspired with Louis XVI style.

Windows are designed to catch as much sunlight as possible, so they usually are wide and high. Very often they do not have any curtains. When curtains are added then they tend to be made with sheer and very light fabric. They can be completely white or white, cream or with delicate pattern or vertical strips. They decorate windows with advent candles during Christmas season and plants during the year. 

Country hose design.

To amplify the light apart from large windows Swedes tend to use big mirrors usually in a nice, golden frames. Very significant element is also chandelier with crystals that catches the light and gives nice reflects.To compete the desired look the space is filled with lamps in different places. They can be floor lamps, hanging or placed on cabinets.

Glamour version of Swedish design.

“Toile de Jouy” pattern decorated Swedish fabrics like nothing else. It is type of decorating pattern consisting and repeatable on white background. Scenes are usually complex like pastoral scenes with people or simpler like flower arrangement. These motives are also wildly used on porcelain and tiles.

Example of  “Toile de Jouy” pattern.

Swedish Accessories
When I think about typical Swedish accessories then it’s definitely a Mora Clock. Produces in Mora in Sweden since late 18th century, although the production dropped they are still a vivid part of typical Swedish style. 

Mora clock.

Nicely placed piece of traditional Scandinavian ceramic is also essential in Scandinavian style. It can be either a beautiful plate, tiles on the fireplace or on the walls,  lamps or other accessories at the shelf.
Beautiful and colorful symbol of Sweden especially outside of the country are nothing else than Dala horses. They are traditional wooden statuette originally design in Dalarna region to be a children’s toy. Nowadays they are very popular accessory at many traditional houses and I also own one. They can decorate every shelf at any room. 

Dala horse.

As you can see the Swedish style in decorating has many faces and can have many approaches. If you want to use it your house don’t have to be strict about it, play with it, e.g. pick and mix some of commonly used elements.  Antiques with contemporary pieces will create low-key and very luxe look and remember white can be very cozy too!

And the last picture, an example of maximalism in Swedish style.

Dec 2, 2012

Salvador Dali’s collaboration between jewels and art work

“Without an audience, without the presence of spectators, these jewels would not achieve the function for which they were created. The viewer is thus the final artist. His look, heart and mind – with greater or lesser ability to understand the creator’s intention – imbue the jewels with life.” Salvador Dali

Recently I had opportunity to participate in a very interesting talk done by jewelry expert and goldsmith Joanna Hardy, who spoke about jewelry exhibition held at Goldsmiths Hall in 1961 in New York. It was a very significant exhibition, because for the first time jewels were shown as an art form not because of their market value. Presentation prepared by Mrs. Hardy was very interesting but for me the most surprising part was Salvador Dali’s participation in this exhibition. I knew very well who Dali was, great surrealist, painter, sculptor, furniture designer, movie director and eccentric. But I didn’t know that he created this amazing, surrealistic and symbolic jewelry. 

Dali started to design jewelry in 1940 and was continuing his work until end of 50’s. All forms created by him are linked with his painting, very often they represent human body parts, religious objects, floral or animal forms. 

“My object is to show the jeweler’s art in true perspective – where the design and craftsmanship are to be valued above the material worth of the gems, as in Renaissance times.”
Dali focused on design and left other work to skilled and professional goldsmith Carlos Alemany. Alemany was Argentinean, but he lived and worked in New York. Interesting part of Dali's history is that his very first designs were dedicated to Coco Chanel, with who he was very close. It is very possible that she was the one who inspired him.

Salvador Dali with Coco Chanel.

Dali drew very accurately all designs on paper and indicated all details and materials. Personally picked the right stones, his favourite medium were rubies, sapphires, lapis lazuli, pearls, diamonds and enamel. During the creation process he supervised Alemany’s work. History of all pieces is very long, first collection was sold in 1958 to millionaire Cummins Catherwood, nowadays most of the objects are part of the exhibition in Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation in Spain.

At the beginning of his adventure with jewelry he designed “Telephone earrings” which meant to represent unsuccessful telephone conversation between Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler to avoid war. These beautiful earrings are made with rubies, emeralds, diamonds and 18 k gold. They are now in Dali Museum in Figueras (Spain). That wasn’t first telephone object created by Dali, in 1936 he made surrealistic and very symbolic "Lobster telephone" for English poet Edward James.

“Telephone Earrings”, 1949

Next symbolic design from the same year is “The Eye of Time”. This unique piece was designed for Dali’s beloved wife Gala. It is a brooch made with diamonds and rubies, centred part of eye is a watch, which was very often presented in his paintings. 

“The Eye of Time”, 1949

“Ruby lips” brooch is definitely one of the most beautiful jewels designed by Dali. This pin is gold, with pearl teeth and lips made with rubies. Shape of brooch was done after Marilyn Monroe’s lips, as Dali was fascinated very with the actress. Brooch was made in 8 copies and the estimated value on the art market is now around $ 10,000-15,000. 

“Ruby lips” , 1949

“The Honeycomb Heart” it is a brooch of gold, rubies and diamonds. Was sold at Sotheby's in 2006 with matching ear clips and the pre-auction price was $ 150,000- 200,000. This shows that Dali’s jewelry sells equally well as his paintings. This is definitely a beautiful example of his work.
“There’s a little bit of sweetness in the heart of every woman.” Honey cluster in the middle of the heart represents this sweetness.

“The Honeycomb Heart”, around 1953-1954.

Piece that makes huge impression on every visitor of Dali Museum in Figueras is the “Royal Heart” Pin. This object is made of gold with Swarovski crystals, faux pearls and rubies. It is one of the first Dali’s pulsating objects and it was made in honor of Queen Elisabeth coronation. The round and pulsating part in the middle of the heart represents queen’s heart, which is constantly pumping for people who are all around her. This brooch is considered equally exceptional as some of Dali’s paintings. 

“Royal Heart Pin”,1953. 

Jewelry can be an art, beautiful forms, amazing gems and designers who are creators, but as Dali said this whole world wouldn’t exist without us. Normal people who admire, admire with eyes and heart and who simply wear it.

There is a good news for all admirers of Dali's jewelry, Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation is selling reproduction of some famous pieces: