Sunday, September 13, 2009

Rough Luxe

The world of interiors gets a new manifesto

The Rough Luxe movement’s embrace of imperfection is exemplified in the kitchen Bill Sofield designed for a Hudson Valley house, with its Aga oven and reclaimed chestnut floors.
As movements go, it may be too early for this one to have a name, much less a manifesto. But if every new era is at least to some extent a reaction to what came before, then the one now taking shape shows signs of being antiminimalism and antiperfection—a repudiation of the old notions of luxury and the mindless accumulation of more stuff. Rough luxe is, at first glance, a study in Contradictions, an attempt to reconcile the antique or the just plain old with the contemporary, the accumulated with the newly acquired, the decrepit with the pristine. It’s artful dissonance. For those who have come to think of luxury as smooth, shiny, polished, refined and expensive, rough luxe will undoubtedly come off as unfinished, unplanned and somewhat chaotic. But that’s judging by the standards of a Gilded Age that’s officially over, and though the economy will rebound—seems, in fact, to be rebounding as we write—it is doubtful that the culture of bling will be back anytime soon.

The lobby of the Rough Luxe hotel in London with its photo of artists Gilbert and George by Jonathan Root.
Already, in its place, something else has taken hold. You see it in the fascination with found objects and conditions, the race to use unexpected materials in unpredictable ways, and the hunger for vintage and the poetically juxtaposed clothes sent down the runways for fall. Last spring, at Milan’s Salone Internazionale del Mobile, the design industry’s leading fair, the rough luxe notion was celebrated in pieces such as Piet Hein Eek’s chairs and cabinets made from a patchwork of salvaged—and then highly polished—wood. At Design Miami/Basel this year, all four recipients of the Designer of the Future awards, Nacho Carbonell, Tomas Gabzdil Libertiny, Peter Marigold and the duo Raw-Edges, used irregularities to draw attention to the maker’s hand. In fashion too, the extraordinary was played off the utilitarian: Miuccia Prada’s plush velvet dresses paired with workaday thigh-high waders; Giambattista Valli’s high-drama, floor-length skirt entirely covered in peacock feathers with a staid nubby black turtleneck.

Photographer François Halard’s guest bedroom
To read the rest of the article from Th Wall Street Journal, click here.

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