The Art of the Room Inaugural Post

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Posted January 14, 2013. Filed in Cy Twombly, Jean-Michel Frank, Understated Luxury

Welcome to the inaugural edition of The Art of the Room: In Search of the Sublime in Design. For quite some time I have wanted to create a blog as a repository of the finest in interior design and decoration.

With so many blogging about interior design and decoration today my first challenge was to come up with a name for my blog. After much scrutiny and trial and error I decided on The Art of the Room: In Search of the Sublime in Design.

 art 1 |ärt|


1 the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.

4 a skill at doing a specified thing, typically one acquired through practice: the art of the room.

sublime |səˈblīm|


of such excellence, grandeur, or beauty as to inspire great admiration or awe.

The Art of the Room blog’s raison d’être is to present rooms, in of all their manifestations, that capture the art of creating spaces that elicit a sense of awe, and transform our perceptions of beauty and style. You won’t find decorator tricks, DIY projects or the latest trends here. What you will find is the best in interior design and decoration – creative, awe-inspiring spaces that stand the test of time.


In Search of the Sublime in Design


The logo, in the form of an inspiration board, for the Art of the Room blog was inspired and conceived from what I consider two of the most arresting and iconic interiors of the twentieth-century: the grand salon designed by Jean-Michel Frank for Vicomte and Vicomtesse  de Noailles in the Hotel de Bischoffsheim in Paris, first photographed by Man Ray in 1929. The other rooms of influence are those of the late artist Cy Twombly, photographed by H. P. Horst in 1966, at Cy Twombly’s apartment in Rome.


illustration by Mark Hampton

The Paris salon of Vicomte and Vicomtesse de Noailles in the Hotel de Bischoffsheim, Paris, 1929.


Cy Twombly in his Roman palazzo as photographed by H. P. Horst, 1966.

On first inspection these two residences could not be more dissimilar. One is sleek and modern; the other, classically romantic.  Yet there is a spare elegance, simplicity and calm that both possess – a lack of superfluous decoration and sentimentality in favor of a rigorous expression of form and timeless beauty. As with many great interiors, it is what is not there that makes these rooms soar, as much as what is there.  I have often dreamed of experiencing these rooms – the vellum tile covered walls, the doors of bronze with ivory details, tables of matchstick patterned oak and white lacquer, cabinets of shagreen, a mica fire surround, and the pale upholstered minimalist furnishings of Jean-Michel Frank’s creation; and the elegant calm of Cy Twombly’s Italianate rooms with their mix of 18th-century painted and parcel gilt Italian, Empire, and Egyptian-revival furniture, swathed in a cocoon of muted pastels which appear to be barely there, floating over a graphic marble tile floor, the perfect foil for his poetic abstractions inspired by Classical Greek literature. These great and iconic spaces possess the epitome of style and chic. They will live on in my dreams and memory ever more.














I am not the first to post these photos by no mean. Connoisseurs of design and avid bloggers alike have viewed these images over the course of the past few years, as blogging took the Internet by storm. But they mean so much to me, personally, that I could not conceive of not including them in my very first post. Whether you are viewing them for the first time or encountering them yet again, I hope you enjoy their simple elegance and timeless beauty. For me, they define The Art of the Room.  Simply sublime!