Marcel Breuer was a Hungarian-born, modernist, architect and furniture designer. Known to his friends and associated as Laikjó, Breuer left his hometown at the age of 18 in search of artistic training and was one of the first and youngest students at the Bauhaus – a radical arts and crafts school that had been founded by Walter Gropius in Weimar just after World War 1.
Breuer was immediately recognized by Gropius as having immense talent and was quickly placed at the head of the carpentry shop. Ultimately Breuer left Bauhaus to start his own firm. Best known later in life for his iconic chair designs, Breuer often worked in tandem with other designers, developing a thriving global practice that eventually cemented his reputation as one of the most important architects of the modern era.
Breuer’s affinity for concrete made him a key figure in the emergence of brutalism, which has drawn much criticism due to his designs heavy handed massiveness. However, Breuer counterbalanced this tendency in his small-scale houses that are notable for their sensitive handling of traditional materials such as wood and brick. Here are some images of his architectural gems.
Here are some John-Richard pieces that draw from his modernist aesthetic. It is easy to see Breuer’s influence on many furniture designs that are so popular today.
Ishka Designs, a Brooklyn-based interior design firm, has a diverse portfolio of work that includes five level brownstones, vacation properties in the Caribbean, residences in France and beach-front estates. The principals, Anishka Clarke and Niya Bascom, define their design aesthetic as ‘clean, modern, eclectic and simplistically beautiful.’
Niya Bascom’s background in film set design and a sojourn at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden contributed to his extraordinary visual creativity. He is also an accomplished photographer whose work has been featured in galleries, embassies and museums. Anishka Clarke worked a decade in finance, both in Jamaica, and on Wall Street, but in early 2006 she left to pursue her real passion, interior design. A Brooklyn resident, but Jamaican at heart, Anishka received an Impact award from the largest Caribbean news publication, Caribbean Life for her contributions to the Caribbean American community. Anishka is an Interior Design honors graduate (Summa Cum Laude) of the Fashion Institute of Technology and holds an MBA from Stern Business School, New York University. Both talented designers have a nature-inspired and minimalistic aesthetic that puts the spotlight on uniquely crafted furniture, accent pieces and art.
Ishka Designs has been featured in numerous publications including New York Spaces, Anthology and New York Magazine as well as on the NBC television series, ‘Open House’. We recently met up with the designers to ask them about what inspires them and their design philosophy.
Each piece of furniture, art or accessory seems significant within your overall design. Do you choose all forms so they can live on their own as well as within the setting?
An interesting question. Whether intentional or not, there are certain pieces that are chosen for their uniqueness or as you put it, their ability to live on their own. It is, however, important that the remaining pieces complement those unique pieces and the overall environment. Our goal is always for overall harmony.
Do you tend to choose art before or after the design of the room?
We don’t have a particular way of doing things when it comes to art. Sometimes the art is the actual inspiration for the space and other times, we find pieces during the process that fit right into the solution like a puzzle. Oftentimes though, art is sourced after the project is installed and we tend to leave the design solution open ended enough to allow for art to be added.
What is the most important connection between the interior and the landscape?
The size and placement of windows and doors play a literal part in connecting the interior to a landscape. Beyond that, however, the choice of material finishes in the home can also aid in bringing the outdoors in. Natural materials and textures that are minimally manipulated, i.e., bamboo and unfinished woods, can feel more in tune with nature. Interestingly, there are ways to keep the vibe modern vs. rustic by keeping forms clean, simple and unified. Other important ways of connecting spaces to the outdoors is with the use of color.
This spectacular Master Bath Design by Benjamin Johnston is perfect in its chic simplicity. Such a pretty setting for our Crystal Martini Side Table! The room is both minimal and dramatic; every piece stands out and no piece is superfluous.
“Behind this feature mosaic wall is a pass-thru double shower with every amenity!
Form and function at its finest!”
Constantin Brâncuși was a Romanian sculptor, painter and photographer who made his career in France. Widely considered to be one of the foremost pioneers of modernism, and one of the most influential sculptors of the 20th century, Brâncuși is often referred to as the patriarch of modern sculpture.
As a child in Romania he displayed an aptitude for carving wooden farm tools. His formal education first took him to Bucharest, then to Munich and then to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. His artwork emphasizes clean geometrical lines that balance forms inherent in his materials with the symbolic allusions of representational art. Brâncuși was also known for paying an unusual amount of attention to the bases on which his sculptures were displayed, believing that the pedestal was part of the sculpture itself.
The Brâncuși sculptural aesthetic has influenced many designers. These lighting pieces by Mark McDowell and accessories by Margaret Fisher show how the artist is still a source of inspiration.
Paula Grace is the principal and founder of Paula Grace Designs, a Virginia-based interior design firm. Paula has an exceptional design style drawing inspiration from her clients, nature, fabric, the human form, and music. Her thoughts on people’s relationship to their interiors focuses on the feeling created by design: ”Here’s my belief: your home should be a place where you feel at peace, where you function effortlessly. It should portray who you are today, remind you of happy times from the past, and provide lush ground for you to create new memories.”
Prior to studying Interior Design, Paula Grace earned Masters Degrees in Clinical Social Work and Business Administration. She held a Directorship of a large behavioral health program and was a Senior Instructor, graduate level, in a prestigious university medical center. With this level of experience, Paula Grace runs a seamless ship when implementing designs. The process flows until each furnishing is placed and the design realized.
Paula Grace’s interior designs have been featured in many publications. Additionally, she has been hand-selected to participate in designer show houses and is regularly asked to speak at interior design industry events.
We recently caught up with Paula Grace at High Point Market this April to talk to her about her design style and what currently inspires her.
1. You have said that you draw inspiration from your clients, nature, fabric, the human form and music. Can you elaborate on that?
The last two are unique so I’ll focus on them – the human form and music. So many things are designed to adorn or comfort our bodies. Clothes, seats in a car, furniture. The body is very important; each one different and beautiful. I see the human form as a living sculpture that I simply pay homage too.
Music is feelings and moods that you hear. How my clients want their rooms to feel, the mood it creates is very important in my designs. When they tell me the feel and mood they’d like, a song inevitably pops in my head that evokes the same feeling and mood. Music and design share key principles – rhythm, balance, harmony, proportion, and emphasis. These principles inform the elements chosen for the space. I interpret the song into the design. Music is especially significant when I design furniture. The lines, form, and shape I draw are directly from the principles of a song communicated with instruments and voices.
2. You use both lighting and wall decor in very bold and beautiful ways. What role do they play for you in the overall design?
The art and lighting are the soul of a design. They need to be layered in. Art on the wall and dimensional pieces placed around the room, on tables for example. A great lighting plan includes ceiling, table top, and accent for overall illumination, task, and sparkle. I select classic styled furniture so it stands the test of time. Much interest comes from the jewelry – art and lighting. Think little black dress with statement jewelry. It’s the statement jewelry that communicates the feeling – aka art – and the lighting is integral to the mood. Chandeliers and sconces are both – sculptural art and lighting. They can create a statement all by themselves, which is often how I use them. John Richard chandeliers and sconces are fantastic for this.
3. How would you describe your design style?
Classic elegance with a hip vibe. Given the inspirations I just discussed – imagine furniture with clean, traditional lines creating comfort paired with evocative art, lighting, and accessories.
“And you spend your evening in your color. The idea is to take things which open your mind, that speak to you – the colors speak to you.”
– Philippe Starck
About the Designer:
Philippe Starck, born January 18, 1949 in Paris, France, is a visionary in all realms of design including interiors, architectural and furniture as well as utilitarian objects such as staplers and juice squeezers. He was constantly referencing where and how people live and questioning the materiality of our environments. Starck is renowned for his hotel design with projects such as the Royalton in New York, the Delano in Miami and the Mondrian in Los Angeles which are all considered contemporary landmarks. The Faena suite in Buenos Aires featured above is considered one of the most expensive in the world and was redesigned by Starck.
To learn more about this exceptional designer, click on the link below: www.starck.com
GRAY is the color of intellect, knowledge and wisdom. It is perceived as classic, refined, dignified, and conservative. Gray is a perfect neutral that lives between the extremes of black and white.
Like diamonds set in platinum or white lace over gray satin, these tones are both fresh and classic in fashion, jewelry and home décor. Gray, silver and white are elegant neutrals that enhance exceptional design. In Vogue Magazine, New Jersey-based interior designer Beth Diana Smith states that ‘Gray’ will continue to reign in 2017. “We will see different tones of gray, a lot of gray and white, and gray in deeper colors, it’s the sort of color that complements a full spectrum of shades…”
These latest designs from John-Richard, in furniture, lighting, mirrors and accessories, show that these sophisticated new neutrals are right on trend.
The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.
– Pablo Picasso
Carol Benson-Cobb has a singular ability to trigger memories of place and time that stir emotions in all who view her paintings. Now, her work is being featured on several contemporary furniture designs. The artist’s abstract perspectives of sea, sand and sky are beautifully displayed under glass.
The contemporary style of the credenzas, cocktail and nesting tables are perfect statement pieces for the modern home. The soothing, neutral tones of the collection will compliment many design styles seen on the coast, in the mountains or within a city apartment. The work of Carol Benson-Cobb can be seen in the homes of many film, sports and entertainment stars and is a favorite of many celebrated interior designers.
Austin A. James was born in Putnam, CT but has lived most of his life since 1973 in Houston, TX. Austin began his art career in 1994 as a poet. His love for playing with words and phrases and his love for color naturally led him to experimenting with paint and motion. He started painting in 1996 and exhibiting as a professional artist in 1997. Austin believes that art is energy. Each human being has his or her own unique form of energy. An artist is the one who is capable of translating this energy into art.
Austin’s pieces focus on organic shapes, color and the natural flow of matter and motion. His MFA from Naropa University in Poetry has infused a lyrical sensibility into Austin’s work. Austin’s formal education also includes a BA from Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX, and an MBA from the University of Dallas. Austin lives in Houston, Texas with his children Granger and Baylies.
We asked Mary Neff Stewart, Senior Wall Art Designer for John-Richard, her thoughts about the artist. “Austin’s work has this amazing fluidity to it. The end result is incredibly peaceful – though when he talks about the creative process, it sounds so energetic!,” she adds, “His aesthetic suits so many spaces and styles. I am thrilled we are working with him, and I look forward to building our collection.”
You are a poet as well as an artist, are there commonalities between both forms of creative expression? Yes, it is not uncommon to find a poet and a visual artist in the same person. A poet loves to play with words. Words are pigments that define space. A visual artist enjoys the use of color and shapes to create a sense of feeling.
Art is most successful when it strikes two feeling chords at once. The piece that makes one feel happy and sad, angry and joyful. That is art.
Are there any places or settings that are inspiring you right now?
I love the Gulf Coast.
How has your time in Texas molded you into the artist you are today? I discovered I was a rascal in Texas. I am a child of the 1970’s. Children did as they pleased, and so did our parents; these parents were raised in the 1950’s and became young adults during the Vietnam war. No one was minding the store or the rules.
Do you have a personal favorite color palette?
Neutral: whites, soft grays, robin’s egg blues, celadons. I believe it is easier to feel through the subtleties of a soft, tranquil palete.
What are you currently working on?
A new series called “Carpe Grace”. It is a gentle piece with this faint touch of gold blending through the center of the piece. The gold appears as a fog. Carpe Grace involves a solid 10-15 layers in order to accomplish the feeling of “floating in grace”.
Can you speak about your new relationship with John-Richard?
I wanted to work with John-Richard because their aesthetic and scope compliment and represent the south. The company has a keen eye for strength mixed with subtleties. I see myself in a similar fashion. I look forward to a steady relationship with John-Richard that develops step-by-step through the years.
For more details on the Austin Allen James art carried by John-Richard, click on the link below: