27 June 2010

Design is Art

I know the title "design is art" is really a no duh kind of title.  I just really feel it belongs up there with all other forms of art.  This advertisement from Ralph Lauren Home really inspires me.  

If you can squint, you can see that I have it tacked to the bottom right of our inspiration board in our bedroom.  If really should have this in an office, but Chris and I tend to have most of our ideas here...this is where we talk.  When we are here at the end of the day this is where we have our solitude.  We tack up our past here (photos and favorite quotes that have gotten us through our lives), our present (pics of boys), and our dreams...images of actually using the Airstream and of things we wish to create.

from Sunset Magazine

I love this ad because it is really art to me.  I need to find out the designers RL use...I want to find their portfolios!

I am posting it again so I don't have to scroll back and forth!  They have really captured the soul of the room...I can't imagine this room with no other decor.  That simple mantel is perfect for a beachhouse, and I love the loads of book and accessories.  But, mostly, I love that peacock blue moulding and the floral artwork.  There is informality, formality, seriousness and whimsy all in one room.  This room is art--it elevates the senses.  (At least one--mine!)

I am not good about looking at things at surface value.  This is a blessing and a curse.  I can't do small talk...don't know how (and this is tough when you live in a country club).  I know one fault is over-analysis and taking things too seriously.  The positive side of this trait is I am a good listener and and I am not quick to judge.  I know that people we meet are going through a lot of stuff...I tend to seek out the good.

I read a lot still, yet now more design books than poetry.  But I love Easy Elegance for the same reason I love this poem, "Dover Beach" by Matthew Arnold:

The sea is calm to-night.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand;
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.
Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the A gaean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.
The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

Looking at a room by Atlanta Bartlett (below)

raises the same emotions in me that I get from reading this poem, or by listening to this song:
Cat Stevens Father and Son

(I need to learn how to add a video.  This is worth watching--Cat Stevens circa 1974 singing it live.  I know he is a little odd, but name one artist worth his salt who isn't?)

There is such beauty in any of Van Gogh's self portraits, too.  I am lucky to have been able to see them in Paris face-to-face.  Amazing.

from vggallery.com

I wish to create rooms that make people feel....not just a prettily decorated room.

One book I am now reading that isn't design is Rollo May's The Courage to Create.  So.  Good.

If you do not express your own original ideas, if you do not listen to your own being, you will have betrayed yourself.
Rollo May 


  1. that last quote is great, Julie. you never fail to inspire me....

  2. Love your inspiration board - great idea!

  3. Beautiful post! I love it when you find a room that speaks to you. Like you said I like rooms that are pretty but they have to also feel like I can live in them. Like I can leave my laptop and magazine tears and cups of tea laying around and get comfy on the couch.