Thursday, November 17, 2011


"The Period Room is Dead!"

Attention modernists: note the mural.

Look at those painted walls! For that matter the rug is undoubtedly painted as well.
Even though it's mostly hidden the mural in this room is integral and simply beautiful.

I wish I could attribute this quote.  "The Period Room is dead!" It's was some shelter magazine, some designer, years ago. Obviously it struck a cord with me since I remember it. The idea is that you don't really want your room, your house to be all one thing. If you're sort of shabby chic then you better have some cool contemporary lighting. That sort of idea. Most people know this or do this instinctively in their own way. Usually period rooms are only found in the homes of the ultra-wealthy who have the money to assemble such a thing or in museums where they really should be. But fittingly here in Los Angeles where iconoclasm is the order of the day we have a period room installed in a museum that breaks the mold.

This is a shot of the Eames house (living room) taken on site.
The installation process at LACMA.

View into the installed  living room at LACMA.

Naturally I would have wished for the Eames' to have a mural in their living room because to me that follows the same dictate. You have all this architecture in the usual materials and finishes and then, what, there's a mural to throw things off a bit. Having said that the Eames living room installed in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is a thrilling sight. And in their day the materials and finishes that make up their house were completely unusual. The period pieces (Charles and Ray's own designs), are really only period pieces because that's how we view them today. What's so brilliant is the mix. Their furniture which owes everything to the industrial design and manufacturing process is draped and strewn with the quirky, crafty, and handmade. There's so much creativity and life in this living room it's really hard to believe someone's not actually living in it.

The Eames Living installed at LACMA
A closer view of a portion of the room (see above).

So for contrast I'm including in this post some of the Thorne Miniature Rooms at The Art Institute of Chicago. You'll excuse my slightly compromised shots. It's just me, my handheld camera, and viewed through glass. (Follow my link for more and better views.) The arrangements seem stilted and as lifeless as an animal preserved in formaldehyde. But just as we are transfixed by the sight of Damien Hirst's vitrines these little rooms engaged us. The craftsmanship is awesome so that brings us back to the Eames whom I've no doubt would have appreciated the rooms for that reason alone. Then there are the period murals to go with the period rooms and so I am hooked. Brilliant. Even delicately hand painted wall patterns. Just amazing. Let's get busy people.
Related Posts with Thumbnails