Thursday, April 10, 2014

Doorways of Charleston

I was recently going through my photo albums and came across the pictures that I took last year during a trip to Charleston. During that trip, I spent most of my time wandering the beautiful tree lined streets of historic downtown Charleston. One of the many things I enjoyed most was photographing all of the beautiful variations of front door designs ranging from Georgian, to Federal and even Greek Revival. It was as if each home owner was trying to outdo their neighbors by using unique paint colors and variations of greenery. I love how creeping fig vine seems to grow everywhere in Charleston. It is well suited to the warm, semi tropical climate and people have been quite creative with it. 

I am planning another trip to visit friends this year and plan to continue my exploration of front doors. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Sweet Dreams are Made of These

I have always loved canopy beds. In fact you could say that I am a little obsessed with them. When the opportunity comes along to design a bedroom where a canopy bed is appropriate, I am always hopeful that the client will as enthusiastic about them as I am. I feel they add instant drama to the space and that they almost become a room within a room.

Canopy bed styles can range from feminine and romantic to masculine and modern. More traditional canopy beds with curtains and pelmets allow you to use an endless variety of fabrics and passementerie while the simpler and more contemporary examples feel more architectural.

I have included some of my personal favorites in a variety of styles.

A custom steel canopy bed by Stephen Sils. Sils created a unique pelmet by repurposing an antique runner. I love the juxtaposition of the traditional and modern elements.

A bleached oak "Perrault" canopy bed by Ironies in a perfectly tailored and elegant bedroom by Houston designer, J Randall Powers. 

In a guest bedroom I designed for the 2010 DC Design House, I wanted to make the David Iatesta "Crone" bed the focal point of the room. So I concealed the center window with curtain panels, which created a soft backdrop for the bed. 

One of my favorite bedrooms of all times features a custom polished chrome canopy bed by David Netto. I love the contrast between the classical scenic wallpaper and the simplicity of the bed. 

A romantic and utterly feminine guest bedroom by Howard Slatkin. The metal canopy bed is embellished with hand blocked silk fabric and passementerie. A perfect example of the bed being a room within a room. 

Daniel Romualdez designed this chic and modern bedroom featuring a sleek canopy bed with a channeled upholstered headboard. 

To recreate the look that won't break the bank I love the "Architecture" metal canopy beds from Room and Board. They come in an assortment of snappy colors that will give instant pizazz to a bedroom. For my own Room and Board bed I flipped the bed around and had my upholstery workroom fabricate a custom upholstered headboard that we simply attached to the bed taking it to the next level. 

A Moghul inspired canopy bed by Michael Smith draped in a hand embroidered fabric. 

The Bunny Mellon bedroom at Le Clos Fiorentina, Hubert de Givenchy's exquisite home on the Cote d' Azure. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Swedish Art Deco Furniture

When we think of Art Deco style furniture we immediately conjure up images of the famous designers in Paris who participated in the 1925 Exposition Des Arts et Decoratifs including, Émile- Jacques Ruhlmann, Edgar Brandt, Sue et Mare and Jules Léleu. In America, we think of the Chrysler Building and Donald Deskey's interiors at Radio City Music Hall, which epitomized the Art Deco style in the states. Although it has gained more popularity in recent years, many people don't think about the beautiful Art Deco designs that were coming out of Sweden around the same time.

Scandinavian Art Deco, otherwise known as "Swedish Grace" style (1920-29) produced an exquisite range of furniture and interior design that rivaled the work of French and American designers. Swedish Grace was a counter reaction to the earlier "Jugend"free flowing, Art Nouveau style. Just like the Louis XVI and Directoire periods were a reaction to the excesses and splendors of the baroque and rococo periods in France, with their simplified lines and lack of excessive ornament.

Swedish Grace furniture is characterized by its streamlined classicism, simplified forms, refined and delicate inlays and contrasting veneers. There are also strong influences from the German Biedermeier movement in the early 19th century. The most notable Swedish Art Deco designers include: Alvar Andersson, Axel Einar Hjorth, Carl Bergsten, Otar Hokerberg, Carl Malmsten and Förenade Möbelfabrikerna Linköping.

There are a number of dealers who happen to specialize in Swedish Grace style furniture including, HM Luther, B4 20th Century Design and Gallery Bac in New York.

Commode with contrasting inlays from HM Luther. A definitive example of the Swedish Grace style. 

An extraordinary desk by Förenade Möbelfabrikerna Linköping. Note the contrasting woods and veneers. 

A graceful daybed by Carl Malmsten. 

A jewel like lantern with crystal drops by Elis Bergh.

A red lacquered and gilt mirror by Axel Einar Hjorth.

I love the simplified neoclassicism of this desk, also by Hjorth. 

An unusual tall cabinet by Hjorth. 

Set of "Klismos" style chairs. 

Note the refined detailing of the arms on this sofa. 

Cabinet on chest. Another definitive example. 

Armchairs by Otto Hokerberg.

Caned dining chairs by Axel Einar Hjorth.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Live Q & A with Jura Koncius

I am delighted to be participating in the Washington Posts "Live Q & A" with Jura Koncius this Thursday at 11am. I will be taking your design questions through your emails live so please join us. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

New and Improved

After several months of conceptualizing, tweaking, revising and the countless emails between me and my web designer, I am thrilled to finally have my new web site for Michael Hampton Design up and running.

My goals for the web site were simple ones. Make it streamlined, easy to navigate and for it to look great at the same time. I wanted to include photographs of my more recent projects that reflect my vision and overall aesthetic. I also kept elements such as my sketchbook and watercolors, which are an extension of my passions for the design process and architectural history.

I worked with a wonderful web designer, Josh Coleman of J Maverick Design, who helped guide me through the entire process and was very patient with me while I made all of the seemingly constant revisions and updates to the site.

In the effort of making the web site experience as enjoyable as possible I welcome any comments or suggestions.

Conceptual sketch for a client's Living Room:

The finished Living Room. As you can see the many of the furnishings and artwork varied from the original concept.

Presentation rendering for a client's bar with art deco inspired furniture, aubergine lacquered paneling and silver leaf ceilings. 

The finished bar with custom game table and chairs, demi lune cabinet and corner banquette.

The original paper I chose was a gridded pattern "rivet" wallpaper from Philip Jeffries. After installing the paper we realized that the paneling was not perfectly straight so it made the paper look crooked. So I replaced the paper with a beautiful faux horsehair and abaca paper from Philip Jeffries. I actually ended up liking it more then the original. This is a perfect of example of things that can go wrong in the design process, despite all the planning and preparation. But it had a very happy ending and the client was thrilled. 

The game table and chairs with a fabulous mirrored obelisk in the style of Serge Roche. The roman shades are wool sateen with a tape trim detail and the backs of the game chairs are upholstered in a pale gray suede leather. 

Be sure to check out the new web site to see more of my recent work. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Highlights from Winterim- Part One

Since my return from attending the recent Winterim Intensive program at the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art I have been focused on getting back into my normal routine and to get caught up with my work here. The program was nine days long with each 13 hour day consisting of back to back classes, lectures and studio time. Despite the intensive work load and schedule, the experience was one of the most inspiring yet challenging things I have done in many years. Each of the instructors brought their own talents, passion and enthusiasm for the courses they led, which reinforced and inspired my own love for the classical arts.

On our second day we were treated to a private two hour tour of the New York Public Library, one of the finest classical buildings in America that was designed in the Beaux Arts style by Carrere and Hastings. Our assignment, to design a information kiosk with eight touch screens for the marble lined Astor Hall, which greets you upon entering the library.

The challenge was to design a functional kiosk that complemented and did not detract from the beauty of Astor Hall, with its soaring Doric columns, graceful marble staircases and the magnificent vaulted ceiling. we were given free reign to wander the halls of the library taking photographs, sketching and observing while taking note of the abundance of architectural details, which would inspire our designs.

I spent the first part of the day making rough sketches of the predominant elements in Astor Hall. My first thought was to design a pair of marble pavilions that floated in the space. But upon further observation I felt that they would have been to obtrusive and heavy for the space while also potentially interrupting the circulation of people as they came and went.

A few days later while riding the subway to my morning classes I had an epiphany for the design, which I will share with you in another post. The sketches below illustrate just a few of the beautiful details in Astor Hall and the Reading Room. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Back to School

I am off to New York City this week to attend nine day long "Winterim Professional Intensive" course at the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art. When they say intensive they mean it! Daily classes start at 9am and don't conclude until 10pm! The curriculum includes courses in Traditional Hand Drafting, Proportion-Theory and Practice, Observational Drawing and Architectural Painting to name a few.

I am quite excited to embark on my classical journey at the Institute, but must admit that I am a little anxious about the workload. But I know that it will be an incredible experience and will look forward to sharing the highlights with you all.