“Never Afraid to Seem a Little Mad”

Eccentric english designers

At Sir John Soane’s Museum (the former home of the 19th-century architect), London-based designers who embrace a maximalist aesthetic. From left: Fran Hickman, Martin Brudnizki, Beata Heuman, Rita Konig, Luke Edward Hall and Rifat Ozbek. Credit Photograph by Daniel Stier. Shot on location at Sir John Soane’s Museum. Photo assistants: Joshua Payne and Juan Patino.

[This entertaining article about contemporary UK interior designers has stunning photo illustrations. The excerpts I provide here are mere pointers to author Hass’s sprightly, scintillating text.]

“The English,” says Rita Konig…“have never been afraid to seem a little mad…” A longstanding delight in globe-spanning, era-leaping, florid kookiness sets the British apart… The island-bound English… have long prized ecumenical, brightly colored cheekiness… The result can be read today as a parody of highbrow semantics… Such barmy eclecticism resonates with the current generation of English designers… For [Rifat] Ozbek, such a mix telegraphs contemporary internationalism… Deeply saturated colors are a first gesture of liberation, says… Luke Edward Hall… “When it’s grim in the world, you want to challenge that quite strongly.”… “[Sibyl Colefax] knew that what matters most is not the color but the tone,” [John Fowler] says. “If it is vibrating at the right frequency, there is no limit to what you can use.”… The British have never bothered to neatly segregate representational patterns from the abstract…“In this country, we have rarely done what Americans do,” [Rita] Konig says. “We don’t call up a decorator and chuck out everything we have, see something on Pinterest and overnight become something new. We keep that wretched thing your grandmother gave you and make it fantastic.”

(Nancy Hass, “Long Live Eccentric English Design,” NYTimes, 2-11-19)

(c) 2019 JMN.

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day, and watch Netflix and Prime Video for entertainment. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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