Thursday, July 7, 2011

Oh My!

I audibly articulated "Oh my!" when I received the April issue of Architectural Digest. Long an admirer of Robert Shapiro's work, this new masterpiece is what great design is all about. It was enough to make one weep, it was so beautiful.

Malibu beachfront home
Living Room
Robert Shapiro

Shapiro, an antiques dealer, artist, and founder of Studiolo furnishings,  is a beacon of light and hope in the field of interior design.  Like Axel Vervoordt, another antiques dealer and designer that I hold in the highest regard, there is no compromise with quality, artistry, comfort and design.

 Los Angeles home
Robert Shapiro

The sensitivity to color and texture is eye candy to the extreme.  Examine and analyze these room ingredients:   Minoma chair, sofa by Studiolo, English captain's chair, Chinese drum serving as a cocktail table, diptych by Shapiro, antique gilt-wood mirror, and Turkish kilim on a stained concrete floor. Note the variance in scale; it's like a symphony orchestra with the bass violins and piccolos, backed up by a whole section of strings. Note the editing, the restraint in judicious color and texture as appropriate.  Note the authenticity of the objects and artwork.  The mirror is not resin and the paintings are not giclee on canvas. Note the masterful blending of art and artifacts, of centuries of civilization.  Note especially, how you could imagine yourself plunking down on one of these chairs or sofa and engaging in a great conversation or just reading a good book, knowingly surrounded by visual poetry.

And then we have the most recent issue of Architectural Digest. When I opened it, I audibly articulated "What the ----"?  After the Shapiro cover, I had hoped that the magazine was going to raise the bar for high design.  Since when does a magazine that now calls itself "The International Design Authority" (previously called The International Magazine of Design) showcase a project that only serves to confuse the public?  What do they mean by Design Authority, only that if you're rich, famous, and arrogant enough, that anything goes?  For me, it's plain ignorance and the public deserves better.

No, I don't think a white shag rug in a California ranch style home makes sense.  What's with the modern ceiling fixture, the dinky little Hepplewhite table, the upholstered furniture arranged so that you'd have to shout to be heard, and the clutter of masterpiece paintings strewn across the wall?  I'm sure Elizabeth Taylor (rest in peace) was a very nice woman and loved by family and friends, but there is nothing here that convinces me that her home should be showcased in a magazine of AD's caliber.  Sure, I might be interested in seeing her home, but perhaps a magazine like People or something like that would be a better format.  This is NOT high design!

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