Lately I've been thinking about my time in Paris--the people, the buildings, the rooms, the food-- and I've been going through my photos and my journal entries trying to capture what it is that I love about the City of Light. As I reflect on my own inspirations, I want to share them with you all in the coming weeks. So without further ado, I give you my first reflecitons on Paris...
So many people dream of taking a trip--or living-- in Paris. The style, the architecture, the people...all seem to be perfection. After my third trip to Paris, I've finally been able to see how the French really live. Being welcomed into several private homes of friends has given me a glimpse behind the large imposing doors and allowed me to observe how the French lifestyle differs from other cultures. Touring museums has also provided much insight into the history of quintescential French style. From Louis IV, XV, and XVI influences to more contemporary style such as Jean-Louis Deniot, French design has been a major influence on the world.
Whether I'm admiring the rooms in a museum or enjoying macaroons in a private home of a friend, I try to disect and discern what it is about French style that makes it so alluring. Is it the double-height ceilings? Is it the boiserie? Could it be the sparkling girondoles or perhaps the bergeres? Of course all of these things affect the atmosphere of a space, but I think it must be more than just the items in a room that influence the French aesthetic.
When you disect the elements that make up classic French rooms, you begin to notice a theme, particularly with Rococo rooms. When considering paintings, murals, sculpture or even plasterwork, the majority of the time you will find the subjects to either be humans or natural elements such as flora and fauna. I love this celebration of life, if you will. Art imitating life is such an interesting thing to me. I think so often we look at a painting or in modern times, a movie, and imagine what it must be like to live inside it. We romanticize the contrived and then model our lives off of it in some small (or large) fashion, thus leading to life imitating art. It's such a revolving door!
The sybolism which man has given certain aspects of nature over the years is fascinating. Each flower has a correlating emotional meaning and the virtures we have given elements such as water, fire, and air are universally known. Even mythological characters evoke specific feelings and remind us of chracteristics which abide in all of us. Who hasn't thought of love when they think of Aphrodite or Venus? Does Hercules not conjur up images of strength and physical power? French design and decoration, then, is not immune to this immense desire to communicate emotion through human traits and admiration of the natural world through interiors.
If you look at modern design, these human and natural elements are still very prevelant in interiors. This proves that certain aspects of aesthetics are forever of interest to the masses. Stay tuned to the blog as I'll be discussing more of my thoughts and inspirations from Paris and my travels throughout Europe and the USA.