Featured Artist: Grace Roselli

I’m very excited to be hosting a special solo exhibit of New York-based artist Grace Roselli’s latest provocative collection of mixed-media works. Grace is an artist whose dramatic oversize portraits I have showcased in my designs for years, as I’m an admirer of her unique vision. Her latest collection, entitled The Uncanny Lady M, will be on display at my Westport Design Lab for a month, starting October 17.

For this series, Grace has drawn her inspiration from no less a character than Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth, through whom she explores identity, erotism and gender. “For the series, I asked invited women to imagine themselves as this new post-human Lady M. Adorned only in the sculpted wearables of skin-pricking wire mesh, these women react and interact with their specific wearables as I document their improvised performance.” said Grace. “Ultimately, the individual performer’s sense of identity merges with the physical parameters of the set, becoming our own Lady M — the cyborg queen!”

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I invite you to schedule an appointment at my Design Lab and come see Grace’s riveting work for yourself!

London Design Festival 2014

Every September, London becomes a design mecca for both the fashion and art worlds. In addition to London Fashion Week, which that just wrapped up, the influential London Design Festival is underway this week through September 22. An annual event for the last 11 years, the London Design Festival brings together the work of top designers across all genres from around the world to celebrate their ingenuity, beauty, and creativity. Every year, I look forward to following the exciting developments in interior, furniture, and architectural design!

One of the highlights for me was the exhibit by London designers Matteo Fogale & Laetitia de Allegri, who launched a new furniture collection for the Festival. The collection of furniture and tableware look like finely polished granite or marble, but are made entirely from recycled post-industrial scraps of denim, cotton and paper.

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I love the clean lines and simple abstract shapes. The pieces remind me of Joan Miro paintings or a Calder mobile sculpture, whose work I admire very much. These would would work well in any minimalist modern space.

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The elegant, organic shapes and compelling textures of works like the fruit bowl above are poetic in how they mimic natural materials, yet are entirely man-made. There is a flawless synthesis between practical and aesthetic elements.

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Additionally, that they are made from reclaimed post-consumer and post-industrial waste demonstrates the beauty that can be achieved in sustainable design.

I encourage you to take a look at the London Design Festival, and let me know your favorites in the comments below!

Historical Figures and Ancient Heads

In my travels, I’m always on the lookout for treasures to add to my art collection to ultimately use in my home design projects. I especially love finding works that have both aesthetic and historical significance, such as these beautiful ancient Chinese figure heads currently on display in my Westport Design Lab.

 

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Dating from the Han Dynasty nearly 2000 years ago, these painted terracotta statue heads depict members of the Chinese court and were likely used as funerary decorations in tombs for high-ranking officials.

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Their clean, organic shapes and spare design would work well in any modern home. I’m especially drawn to their serenity. The touches of antiquity in the chipped paint and terracotta further add visual interest. These are great pieces to stand alone or grouped together to make a dramatic statement.

The Plunk Collection

This Fall marks the third anniversary of the launch of my custom-designed furniture line, The Plunk Collection. It’s been so rewarding to share this Collection with so many people, and give so many pieces a new home. We’ve grown so much, and are always working on new things. (Hope to share more on that in the near future!) I created the Plunk Collection because I often couldn’t find the perfect piece – whether a coffee table, or dining table, or the perfect chair, or bed… you name it. Thus the Collection was born, not only luxurious, modern and functional furniture but also a true extension of my design aesthetic.

Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 12.59.45 PM  The Spiral Tables were part of the original Plunk Collection and continue to be one of our most popular pieces. I have updated the design to allow for diverse sizes and offer a Nero Pretto stain that is close to my signature gray. As with most of my furniture, these tables blur the line between feminine and masculine. With a swirled iron base topped with solid wood, the Spiral Table is substantial, almost sculptural, but the curves add that softness to it, making it a knock-out in any room!

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I’ve also expanded the color and stain options for these Hide Chairs. The luxurious hide upholstery and hardwood frame bring out the natural, organic energy of a space. The new color options are serene and elegant, yet lend enough visual impact to allow the chair to make a statement on its own or as an accent to a sofa.

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Inspired by the beautifully minimal designs from the 50s and 60s–and the use of lucite that generated so many elegant works–this rolling Side Table is understated enough to work in almost any space. Stained in my favorite gray, the wood frame and drawer are balanced by the glass top. Lucite casters are a surprise twist that make the piece look as if it is floating.

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Perhaps my most popular design is the Orchid Table, which looks to blossom out right from the floor. Originally designing it as a coffee table, I have scaled up the flowering shape to create dining tables in a variety of finishes–bringing this sensuous beauty to its full bloom.

What’s your favorite piece?  Love what you see and want more info, or want to purchase a piece of the Plunk Collection for your home? Just give us a call at 203.341.0413 or email us at info@marsilverdesign.com.

 

Idol Worship

My love for all organic forms provides so much inspiration in my work.  My Westport Design Lab currently features a collection of ancient marble idols, many of which are over 2,300 years old!

These statuettes, originally from Central Asia, are thought to be an abstraction of the female form — note their hour-glass and egg shapes — and were used in ancient religions for fertility rituals.

I love their subtle, but solid, shapes and weathered archaic appearance. They are exquisite in a group setting or alone.

These more elongated idols represent the male figure. As with the more feminine pieces, these can be grouped together for incredible impact or as a single decorative statement in any room. I love that the possibilities are endless, and their sculptural appeal is so timeless.

Does any ancient art inspire your design aesthetic? Leave your answers in the comments below!

Seats of Denmark

With elegant lines and simple, sophisticated, timeless forms, Nordic furniture is among some of my favorite pieces. Currently in my collection are a few fabulous Danish chairs that exemplify this Scandinavian style.

This vintage chair features similarly sized turned rosewood pieces that provide structure and form. These are bound together by curved stainless supports with a soft nickel finish, and alluring suede upholstery. I see it working well in an office or family room. Circa 1960, this design has a timelessness that is just as current and enticing today.

Another favorite of mine, featured as such in AtHome magazine, are these classic Arne Jacobsen Series 7 chairs, to which I’ve added an unexpected twist. The Danish architect and designer, who also created the famous Egg Chair, designed this iconic seat in the 1960s. Its form beautifully combines simplicity with ease and comfort. I reupholstered them with cowhide for a modern, sophisticated, and tactile surprise.

Do you have a favorite piece that embodies this Danish style? Let me know in the comments below.

Mood Lighting

Nothing says mood more than Vintage lighting… Like this one I’m currently featuring in my Design Lab in Westport!

What I love about this lamp is its size and shape.

The thick glass also gives the light a soft glow that warms up the entire room. It creates a sensual, romantic mood, making it perfect for a bedroom or living room. In fact, it reminds me of a full moon aglow on a clear summer night.

Where would you put this beautiful vintage lamp? Leave your answers in the comments below.

 

The Luxe White Kitchen…Dress It Up or Dress It Down

The Memorial Day holiday usually signals our love affair with summer whites.  I, for one, am looking forward to breaking out my favorite pair of white jeans – it seems no matter what, the white jean is perfect for just about any summer occasion. The same is true for the luxe white kitchen… it really shows off its personality in the warmer months and is the perfect backdrop for casual summer dinner parties or elegant, elaborate affairs.

Here are some of my favorites – I love the way the light reflects in this room, the modern freshness of a white kitchen against the warmth of rustic touches like wood floors or other decorative elements, like the oversized antique mirror, all add up to create a stunning, highly functional space for gathering family or entertaining friends.

White marble and countertops offer sumptuousness and a luxe finish in the kitchen above. To keep the space from feeling grounded and welcoming, I incorporated the walnut-hued cabinetry, gray-stained hardwood floors and a vintage light fixture to add warmth.

Do you love a white kitchen… how do you keep it warm and inviting? Drop me a comment or share this post.

Bringing the Outdoors In

An advocate of incorporating nature into my designs, I often look for creative ways to open a room to the outdoors. Doing so breathes fresh life into a home, to rejuvenate and renew — especially after a long, hard winter.

Some of my favorite design solutions provide a seamless transition from inside to outside. In this space above, sliding Nana glass doors fully open an entire side of the room to the outdoors. With outdoor furniture following the same design scheme as inside, the interior flows uninterrupted into nature.

To enjoy the outdoors from within the comforts of your home, full-length glass is the way to go. Windows like these, with additional panels at the top angled for an expanded view, are great ways to let in light and beauty of nature into your home, while keeping the harsh elements at bay.

What better way to start the day than waking up to the beautiful outdoors. In this master bedroom, floor-to-ceiling windows line multiple walls of the uniquely shaped room to provide a spectacular panoramic view of the landscape.

How would you bring the outside in? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!

Treating Walls Like Canvases

A blank canvas opens up limitless possibilities for an artist. Likewise, an unadorned wall presents a tabula rasa for a designer. For me, no space is complete without the right art. Just like the perfect pair of shoes complete any outfit, the perfect piece of art in a room ties it all together. It can be provocative, playful, serene, dramatic – the possibilities are endless!

Here’s a vignette from my Design Lab in Westport. I love to play with texture, form and scale and often will use oversized art, whether paintings or photography to add just the right amount of attitude, or personality to a space.

Wall color and large-scale art can be used to add ambiance to a room. For example, a dark chocolate wall infuses warmth while highlighting the colors and personality of the subject in this painting. The art becomes a riveting conversation piece.

Hanging sculpture is a great way to add dimension and texture. The circular shape of the piece above balances the voided space of the fireplace below it and echoes the lines of the Italian leather dining chairs. It adds visual interest to the wall, covering a large space without any heaviness.

What are some ways that you’ve dressed your walls? Leave us a comment below.