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!
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.
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.
Every month, we get pictures from our customers showing us their homes with new Paradigm Gallery furniture. Most of the times, these little snapshots only show the Paradigm Gallery items, but that’s not fair, is it?
We want to see how you really live. Your living room. Your dining room. Your bedroom (if you’ll allow). And any other of the best parts of your home.
We’ll rate, rank, and post the winners of the Paradigm Gallery Home Tour Contest one month from now. Winners will receive a $250 GIft Card for any item on the Paradigm Gallery site.
Recently, we ran across a great post in the LA Times Home & Garden section that listed some of the worst design trends that top experts wish would simply, DIE in 2009. These “experts” included interior designers, designers, retailers, and other design pros, so they kinda know what they’re talking about. Here’s a quick rundown, plus a little Paradigm Gallery analysis 🙂
“Please, in the kitchen, no more granite countertop. It came into vogue in the ’80s, and it makes a place look dated instantaneously. I am pushing for an orange Formica comeback. If you don’t think you can pull that off, then honed white marble is always beautiful, soapstone or poured concrete looks great in rustic homes, and Corian gives a simple look that does not dominate any room.”
Our Take: Yeah, we are equally appalled by the question “Is this granite?” on House Hunters.
2) Residential Kitchens that Look Commercial
We kinda like sterility
“A kitchen chock-full of stainless-steel appliances is cold and old. Viking and Blue Star have a number of custom finishes that give a warmer, fresher look that can integrate your appliances with your cabinetry or add a fun pop of color to your kitchen.”
— Kristine Paige Kamenstein, Jackson Paige Interiors
Our Take: I guess it’s up to you. We’re somewhat split here. Some enjoy a cold sterile appliance set with punchy cabinetry incorporating bright and vibrant red, orange, and blue cabinet covers.
3) Mass Produced, Oversized Club Chairs
You look so small in that chair...
“I am tired of furniture that is scaled for a giant. Even if you have high ceilings in your home, you can buy furniture that is human-scaled. I love Ralph Lauren’s Colorado club chair, and for a less expensive alternative, a vintage club chair is a good option.”
Our Take: You are right Andrea. Seriously, there is comfort, but it’s like clothes. You don’t want to be swallowed with a baggy fit. We certainly prefer a Pavillion Chair or Le Corbusier Chair in petit, grande, or even extra grande sizes. Know what we mean?
4) Oversized Sleigh Beds
Did Brenda Walsh have one of these?
“If you have a team of Clydesdales, drive this old chestnut straight to the barn. Try something that brings pizazz back into the boudoir, like a headboard of soft gold-leaf leather with a nailhead design.”
— Craig Olsen, designer and retailer
Our Take: ABSOLUTELY! Too much in the bedroom almost chokes your sleep. Sleek, platform beds will be around a while. Take advantage now, like the Worth Bed, shown below:
Clean and mean
5) Cubed Ottomans and Faux Zebra Prints
“Little cubed ottomans are o-u-t,” designer and retailer Craig Olsen says. “Hexagons and ovals will lead the eye straight to the piece and make the room remarkable.” When it comes to faux zebra prints, designer and retailer Suzan Fellman sounds off: “Good God, how does a zebra print translate onto a cowhide rug? There are superior floor treatments, in a reasonable price range, that do not pretend to be something that they are not. I would opt for an Arzu Firuz vinyl carpet with laser cutouts that create a great pattern for the floor and are so easy to maintain.”
Our Take: Ok, ok, so we offer the “Pony Cube”, so we’re somewhat guilty to a degree, but we do have tons of non-cube ottoman and coffee tables to take advantage of.
So, what do you guys think? Any dreadful Design Trends that you just want to cast off for good?