My fascination with everything Julia Morgan has taken me to a series of lectures presented by the California Institute for Classical Art and Architecture, California north Chapter in San Francisco. The third in the series was Tuesday evening, ”Hearst the collector” , an illustrated lecture by Mary Levkoff.
It was delightful to drive into the Presidio as the evening was falling and the view of the bay and the city skyline from near the Golden Gate Bridge was breathtaking. The Disney Family Museum is in the buildings near Crissy field. Here we met with the author for a reception and book signing in a space with “It’s a Small World” art work on walls and floors.
“It’s a Small World” Wall Tile
“It’s a Small World” Floor Motif
Ms. Levkoff , former curator for the LA County Museum of Art has studied Mr. Hearst’s collections extensively. She credits him to have been the most outstanding Collector in America of European Sculpture, tapestries, silver and armor.
Janice and Ms. Levkoff at the Book Signing
Mary Levkoff shared with us her process, pouring over old interior photographs, to discover which outstanding pieces of his collection are now dispersed in museums throughout the world.
Perhaps I’ll have a long weekend this summer to enjoy the home of only a small portion of his collection at the Casa Grande, San Simeon, the Hearst Castle, designed by Julia Morgan for him. For over thirty years she collaborated with him on his castle on the Enchanted Hill.
While at a The Design Bloggers Conference in L.A. this past week, I had an opportunity to stop by the Pacific Design Center(the Blue Whale) and the new emerging design showroom hot spot on La Cienega boulevard. I get inspired every time I visit a new city and get to see their interpretation of design. The windows of Scalamandre caught my eye with dancing zebras.
Zebra print is something that we’ve seen for decades, but Scalamandre is bringing back a classic idea inspired by one of their wallpapers they designed in 1945. This zebra print features zebras prancing on a red background while arrows float through the air around them. The graphic contrast and movement of the fabric make it very striking.
Inside the showroom the print was found not only on fabric but wallpaper and Lenox china as well. The motif has also been redefined with a multitude of modern color ways.
The most refined print inspired by the original 1945 print in my opinion was the yellow and black version that plays with the idea of positive and negative, and actually puts yellow stripes on a zebra.
On my return flight home, my suspicions of a zebra print trend were confirmed. I opened the Currents section of the New York Times to find a brief article about the Zebra print I had just seen in the window at Scalamandre’s showroom. The article revealed to me that they are using this print for human and dog bedding alike.
Photo from New York Times article “Bedding Basic Zebra Commands: Sit, Stay, Roll Over, Sleep”
Photo from New York Times article “Bedding Basic Zebra Commands:Sit, Stay, Roll Over, Sleep”
On my trip to Paris’ Maison et Objet show this January, I was overcome by the creativity of the French people. Art, design and architecture surround you as you walk the streets of Paris. The Maison et Objet is an international trade show where all the newest design products and ideas are presented to designers around the world. I was lucky enough to have a few days to wander around the trade rooms and displays. One of the most intriguing and memorable displays was this year’s inspirational trends show. The artists took inspiration directly from “ancestral foods” and turning them into unexpected artistic displays. Designers Scholten and Baijings created food such as lettuce, cabbage, and artichokes from only fabric and stitching. The displays looked so real you had to look twice to see that they weren’t the real thing. The time it took to create the delicate stitching on the leaves of the lettuce leaf alone is unimaginable.
Another refreshingly creative display was a wheatgrass wall display. The horizontal bands of bamboo wood inset with wheatgrass are a unique way of incorporating a “green” wall into a space not yet seen in Sacramento.
The root vegetable chandelier display was whimsical. The artist took the black color of the ceiling and continued it partially down the vegetables giving the display an unexpected depth.
The final installation at the show that really inspired me was a honeycomb vase. The vase was formed entirely from honeycomb. Behind the display was a video playing on a loop of honey bees inside a hive. With Sacramento and most of the United States facing a sudden loss in bee population, the display brought to light the importance of bees to our lives.
The Maison et Objet show was just one aspect of my most recent trip to Paris. I have many more stories to tell. Follow us on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram to see more.