We welcome our friend and guest blogger, Charu Gureja. “I’m an interior designer, passionate about interior spaces, architecture, furniture, lighting and art. Generally speaking, I enjoy anything and everything related to art and design! Growing up in countries like Egypt, Japan, Sri Lanka, India and Singapore, I’ve come to appreciate a wide variety of design principles.” Pocket Full of Design . Charu brings to us her global point of view and her specific interest in modern lighting.
Like other elements of Mid-century Modern design, lighting fulfills both the aesthetic and functional needs of a space while eliminating the need for extraneous decoration. The fixtures have simple yet sculptural forms, which make them versatile enough to fit into spaces of any style, be it traditional, industrial, eclectic or contemporary.
Through the following examples I hope to inspire you to create your own unique look using Mid-century Modern lighting. The Paradigm Gallery website and blog are a great resource in terms of inspiration and products to help you along and I’m thankful to them for inviting me to share my thoughts here!
“Instinctively I was drawn to the beauty of things coarse and unrefined; things rich in raw texture and rough tactility. Often these things are reactive to the effects of weathering and human treatment.
And lastly, I was attracted to the beauty of things simple, but not ostentatiously austere. Things clean and unencumbered, but not sterilized. Materiality, pared down to essence, with the poetry intact.” Leonard Koren http://bit.ly/1dtfdzh
thursday’s child: wabi sabi
wabi sabi is flea market finds, not michigan ave purchases. it celebrates cracks and crevices and all the other marks that time, weather, and loving use leave behind. it reminds us that we are all transient beings, that our bodies as well as the material world around us are fleeting. through wabi-sabi, we learn to embrace wrinkles and rust, grey hairs and frayed edges and the march of time they represent. it’s a fragmentary glimpse of the part, not the whole, the journey not the destination.
http://bit.ly/1bu20Z0 The Space Between Ms. and Mrs. A Blog Post
Wabi means things that are fresh and simple. It denotes simplicity and quietude, and also incorporates rustic beauty. It includes both that which is made by nature, and that which is made by man. It also can mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole, such as the pattern made by a flowing glaze on a ceramic object.
Sabi means things whose beauty stems from age. It refers to the patina of age, and the concept that changes due to use may make an object more beautiful and valuable. This also incorporates an appreciation of the cycles of life, as well as careful, artful mending of damage.
– “The Classic Tradition In Japanese Architecture: Modern Versions Of The Sukiya Style”, Teiji Itoh, Yukio Futagawa
“Wabi-sabi is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is a beauty of things modest and humble. It is a beauty of things unconventional. … The closest English word to wabi-sabi is probably “rustic”. … Things wabi-sabi are unstudied and inevitable looking. .. unpretentious. .. Their craftsmanship may be impossible to discern. “
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Sometimes it takes a leap of faith to “mix it up” when decorating a space. An eclectic approach, or mixing it up refers to combining seemingly disparate styles of furniture and accessories. That could include: an industrial coffee table, a Scandinavian style sofa, a mid century classic lounge chair, a vintage lighting fixture, perhaps an antique gilded mirror or Victorian footstool. The point is, there are many styles that play well together. Ultimately, success is achieved by blending and balancing the elements in a way that each distinct piece is an important part of the whole, a composition of varying personalities if you will. I have always approached decorating with the philosophy that I need to have a connection to the things that I live with. The item needs to be beautiful to me, not just a functional piece. I don’t adhere to a singular era or style.
Having said all of this, I will now add some of the fine tuning details for creating your signature environment. Leonardo da Vinci is credited with the quote, “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” As I have developed and honed my philosophy on decor, it has gradually grown into a simpatico with the Miesian theory of “less is more”. I need my spaces to breathe and allow for the individual elements to shine and be seen. If you overcrowd a room with furniture or accessories it creates a heavier space with a cluttered vibe and the individual beauty of each item gets lost in the confusion. Nothing weighs a room down more quickly then loading every flat surface with “things”. Someone visiting my home once said, “in every direction I turn there is a thoughtful, creative, view”, and he was not speaking about gazing through the windows.
The last few things to consider are the horizontal and vertical spaces, or simply said, the walls, floor, and ceiling. They have the potential to help create your room palette, add texture, and either calm or invigorate the energy. You can stay monochromatic in the decor or not, and use large art for color, multiple photos, posters, collections of tarnished silver trays or mirrors, whatever works for you. The most important thing to remember is to always edit your work. Keep in mind that it is a dynamic expression of you. It is changeable and adaptable to change. Think of the room as a visual expression of your autobiography.
image via mixandchic.com
image shared via thecuratedhouse.com
image via niceity.livejournal.com
Abstract Modernist painter Victor Raul Garcia creates images which sync with their surroundings. They are not the juxtaposed images of a still life in a kitchen, or a landscape in a foyer, but rather a living component of interior design. Abstract art finds a way to mirror our emotions in a way that realism can only do in very specific instances. Garcia was kind enough to grant Paradigm Gallery a deeper look into his creative process and what his work means to him. In a time in our societal progression when craftsmanship and artistry are taking a backseat to affordability and convenience, divergent perspectives are even more valuable.
Like the elegant simplicity of straight lines and ergonomics, the subtlety of curved steel and sensual leather, mid century modern furnishings are historically and aesthetically the perfect pairing for abstract art. So much of modern design at its very core provokes deep thought; thought beyond the simple nodding of one’s head in appreciation of a visage. Garcia’s body of work has inspired us, and we hope that his words can also inspire you.
Paradigm: How do you interact with a piece as it begins to take form?
VRG: Creating art is an emotional experience. I look at art as a sort of “Tango”: an interpretive dance where you (and your canvas) express to one another your needs, wants and desires, through movement, color, texture and strokes. Such an intimate interlude is this. Filled with a dopamine “release”, emotional synergy and physical exertion. It can only be experienced and not explained.
“American Rose” 2’x4′ acrylic and poster paint on wood New York (2011)
Paradigm: What is the creative process for you?
VRG: A week prior to my studio time, I gather as much visual data as I can source. From ripping pages out of fashion and interior design magazines, to photographing vignettes at flower markets and textile showrooms, anything and everything that captures my eye’s attention goes into this reference library. Then based on my mood, I select several different images and try to create an ‘offspring’ of their combined attributes.
“Lago” 4′ x 4′ acrylic,oil and enamel on wood New York (2009)
Paradigm: If you could pick one of your pieces to be discovered 150 years from now, which would it be?
VRG: That piece would definitely be “Soho.” It evokes intrigue without intimidation; it satisfies all of the senses; and though open to interpretation by each viewer, the general reaction to it, I think, would be that of having just glimpsed into the intricate layers of a particular human being without having actually met them.
“Soho”, 4′ X 4′ mixed media on wood, New York (2008)
Paradigm: Do you find that selling your works affects the integrity of your final products? Has becoming more successful in your career had an effect on your work?
VRG: I take pride in the fact that I give every piece I make, whether large or small, sold or not sold, expensive or inexpensive, praised or not praised, the same amount of attention as any other. I am a humble man and would never let success change who I truly am. But the one thing that success has changed about my work is that it has made me strive to challenge myself and raise the bar constantly, to never become stagnant or complacent. Reinvention and versatility are key.
“Lavender Field” 4′ x 4′ acrylic,enamel and wood stain on wood, New York (2012)
Paradigm: If you are away from the studio for an extended period of time, what is it that you miss most about your craft?
VRG: The creative outlet that allows me to make perfect sense out of all the chaos in my mind.
You can follow VRG on Facebook and at his website Victor-Raul Garcia
Please take a minute to share with us your thoughts about art in your life and impressions and thoughts that crossed your mind while reading and viewing VRG’s work.
“Untitled 47″ 48″ X 48” acrylic and wood stain on wood, New York (2012)
“Untitlted LM” 36″ x 36″ acrylic,tempera and textile paint on wood, New York (2012)
Untiltled December (2012)
“Piel de Culebra” 45″x 45″ acrylic,enamel and wood stain on wood, New York (2012)
jwvanden is a freelance journalist, blogger, and chef, specializing in sushi ….he can be contacted at The Chronic Masticator
There are many integral factors that should be considered when making key decisions about Mid-Century Modern designs. Color, size, shape, “feel”, and price should all be appropriately weighed in the mind of the consumer, but this quick story from the education of a well-known Harvard trained architect illustrates that there will always be unanticipated variables. As a side-note, the teacher discussed below is the famous Walter Gropius, who is regarded as a pioneering master of modern architecture.
“My mentor was Gropius, whose ideas were comparable to those of Mies van der Rohe. It’s rather sad, but after all my time at the feet of the master, the first thing that comes to mind after all these years is that silly conversation about the entrance stair to one of my building designs.”
“I designed free ‘floating’ concrete entrance stairs with steel reinforcing bars and an open area underneath. I thought it was quite sculptural and added to the overall lightness of the approach. When Gropius came for his critique he pulled at his eyebrow and contemplated my efforts for what seemed like an eternity. He then stated these immortal words which have been seared into my memory in his Germanic accented voice: ‘Roy do not do ‘dis – dogs will get under there and fornicate!’”
“These were hardly the words expected from a guy who to me was a near deity, but I have cherished them ever since. As far as I know, no dogs have ever had illicit carnal affairs under one of my structures.”
This is the first part of several amusing anecdotes that we are gathering directly from the memories of key figures in the colorful history of modern design. Please check back soon for another quirky true story.
The problem with small spaces is the unique design challenges they pose. It’s tough to incorporate all your ideas, all your furniture, and still retain space. With small spaces, it often comes down to sacrifice. Here are some tips on how to reduce your sacrifice, incorporate your ideas, and keep the space uncluttered.
1. Be a Magician: Give low ceilings the illusion of height with furniture that’s low the ground. Also, keep ceilings white where possible to open it up.
2. See Through: Clear glass furniture helps to pass light to the space without creating the appearance of clutter. Find coffee tables, end tables, and even plastic see through chairs that allow light.
3. Select Calm Colors: Calm and light colors evoke a sense of tranquility and serenity. In addition, these colors open up a space. Paint walls in one calm color, with ceilings in white to maximize brightness. You could also paint two or three of the walls in a light, calm color, the 4th wall being in a darker tone.
4. Use Mirrors: When we suggest using mirrors, we’re not talking about walls of mirrors. Rather, subtly placed mirrors, perhaps a mirror on the floor leaning against the wall. Don’t go overboard. Use just enough reflective surfaces to extend the space and create a more open environment. Play around with it. Try placing interesting objects and accessories in front of a mirror to create unique effects.
5. Find Your Inner Minimalist: Accessories are great by adding color and life into a space, but don’t go crazy. If it isn’t essential, get rid of it. Too many accessories create clutter and eye sores.
6. The Shag: If you’re in a space with plenty of concrete, hard wood, or tile, then you need to grasp the importance of rugs to create the appearance of space, as well as to accessorize. Contemporary and modern rugs usually come in abstract shapes and colors and can become the key focal point of a room. This will eliminate the need to accessorize more, creating less clutter, and opening your space.
7. Cultivate the Space You Have: Create unobstructed views where possible in your rooms. When furniture or other objects impede the eye’s natural sight into a room, spaces seem smaller. Small furniture pieces like chaises, ottomans, and benches ensure that spaces don’t appear cluttered. Find unique arrangements that leave much of your space open.
8. Watch your Windows: No outlandish curtains with dark colors that make a room feel stuffy. Let the natural light permeate. If you need shades, choose soft, subtle tones.
9. Find Right Compartment: Storage devices don’t need to be boring and ugly. There are a variety of contemporary storage baskets, racks, and more that will help you get organized with style.
10. Watch Your Head: In a small bedroom, a queen or king size bed will quickly fill up a room. So when choosing a bed, pick wisely. If you can find a bed low to the ground that suits your style, then go for it. Also, be careful of your headboard. Nothing too ornate taking up much of a wall.
11. Skin the Patterns: At Paradigm Gallery, you won’t find furniture pieces with patterns and for good reason. Patterned upholstery creates distraction and usually robs visual space. If you really need leopard print, then pick one furniture piece or room to go crazy with. Be mindful of themes.
12. Small Space + Big Furniture = Lack of Space: Choose pieces with smooth lines that provide functionality for people using it. If you never entertain, what’s the point of huge overstuffed couches? Make sure the furniture fits your lifestyle and you don’t have to conform to the furniture