Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Some ten years ago, German interior designer Nona von Haeften and her husband Wolf Siegfried Wagner, a stage designer, paid their first visit to Mallorca. The couple had been looking for a holiday house for some time, but convinced that Mallorca had long since been ruined by mass tourism, they had never visited the island. One day, an old friend who had a house in Mallorca and knew the island well persuaded them to make a visit in order to inspect an old finca that she knew was for sale in the eastern part of the island. Although highly sceptical, Nona and Wolf agreed to fly down from their home in Hamburg for a short visit. It was a classic case of love at first sight and just three weeks after their arrival, the finca, together with a sizeable plot of surrounding farmland, was theirs.
Once the building work was complete, the business of furnishing the house took over. Nona sourced most of the fabrics and furniture from her contacts and suppliers in Germany, France and England. No easy task, but the house was eventually made ready to receive its first contingent of guests who were thrilled to find themselves staying in such delightful surroundings.
It wasn’t long before the finca became the couple’s main residence. Word of the successful transformation of their new home soon spread and within a matter of months Wolf had been asked to renovate and design other houses on the island. Meanwhile Nona has set up an interior design business in the nearby town of Manacor. Her shop, called Unicorn, stocks everything one could possibly need to set up home - antiques from Europe, stylish furnishing fabrics ranging from ravishing silks to cool, practical cottons, furniture in wrought iron and wood made locally to Nona’s design, together with ceramics and accessories made by talented craftspeople living on the island. Some years later, Nona opened a second warehouse-type shop, called Coconut Company, in premises next door - a treasure trove of stylish rattan furniture and affordable accessories imported from the Far East.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Well-known french designer Patrice Gruffaz, originator and proprietor of Lieux, a Paris shop selling fanciful furnishings, lives with his family in an apartment that reflects his passion for vibrant hues, his wit as a designer.
Ten years ago Gruffaz and Philippe Renaud, sharing a vision of contemporary design, founded Lieux, producing surprising, unpretentious furniture collections full of humor. Spiral lamps topped with brightly colored shades baptized Lampe Affolée [collapsing lamp], candlesticks decorated with small bronze rabbits, l and rough wood chairs with wings of chicken feathers, plates squirming with trompe l'oeil snakes, and crystal goblets with bases containing plump red hearts burst forth from the workshops of the Patrice-Philippe partnership. Without Renaud today, Lieux continues to produce witty things that it sells along with the work of other designers in the long and narrow shop on the Boulevard Henri IV, just a stone's throw from the Place de la Bastille.
Friday, September 5, 2008
The interior of The Daniel Hotel in Paris takes its inspiration from the way 18th century Europeans saw the Grand Silk Road. The palette includes green, lilac, grey, rosy, red and golden tints. The furniture here is remarkable for the variety of colours and styles. The bar is decorated with mirrors and bronze and furnished with creamy cushioned pieces and an ebony bar-counter. Columns here are finished with pearly mosaics. Each room has silk and velvet curtains and blankets, and satin cushions on the beds. The premises are papered with textile wallpaper featuring traditional Chinese motifs in their ornament. Light bathrooms are coated with Moroccan tile and Italian marble. The restaurant's decor combines floral-patterned wallpaper, archaized mirrors, decorative plates on the walls, long banquettes and mysterious stained-glass windows.