Micheal Smith Designs a Collection of Stunning de Gournay Walls
There is nothing more exciting in the design world than a collaboration with an expert in the world of transitional design, Micheal S. Smith, creators of the finest hand-painted and hand-embroidered wallcoverings, de Gournay, together with makers and dealers to interpret the curation to create stunning works of art on the walls. SCALE pieces together the coming together of this artistry on walls.
A leading figure in interior design for over two decades, Michael S. Smith is known for his expertise in merging the classicism of old Europe with America’s ever-evolving modernism. With curatorial expertise honed by study and a natural appreciation of the past, his fresh interpretation of traditional concepts produces interiors expressive of a rare harmony between form and function, the old and the new.
Having used an array of de Gournay’s hand-painted wallpapers for his interior projects, with an innate understanding of the varied medium, a new series of designs of Smith’s own creation celebrates themes and patterns of the natural world in an engaging range of decorative styles.
Bringing Smith’s designs to life are a disparate group of connoisseurs and makers to each interpret one of the designs. de Gournay invited these Individuals from across the creative industries to bring the wallpapers to life in the context of their distinct endeavours, and with the addition of their own varied works and collections – showcasing the wallpapers and their unique oeuvres, all captured by renowned photographer Miguel Flores Vianna.
Botanical Studies: Curated by Edward Hurst
This dream-like setting that takes one back to the Victorian age is curated by Edward Hurst, a pre-eminent antique dealer with an instinctive flair for finding unusual and beautiful pieces. Operating predominantly by word of mouth, Hurst has been dealing in antiques for 35 years. The wallpaper that is curated within this curated room is composed of large-scale botanical illustrations, hand-painted onto individual segments of India tea paper. It references the 17th Century home of Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus, who papered walls of his home with studies by the artist Georg Dionyius Ehret. Striking renditions of Passiflora (Passion Flowers), Chestnut, Orchid Tree, Grapevine, and Indian Pellet Shrub (Pavetta Indica) evoke the quiet beauty of Botany’s golden age.
“What this wallpaper does is that it brings the surroundings of this house, inside. The greens outside seem to resonate indoors and I cannot keep from looking outside to continue with the experience of the room,” says Hurst.
The botanical wallpaper installed within the bedroom of a private house in Dorset possesses an antique four-poster bed from Sweden, with a canopy richly embroidered by Queen Charlotte herself, alongside antiques from the collector’s wider collection and own home – Venetian mirrored sconces, a splendid Chinese cabinet atop intricately carved wooden legs and decorative porcelain sourced from private clients.
Uki Hana: Curated by Kusheda Mensah
A majestic composition of flowering Chrysanthemum inspired by the artwork of Japan’s Edo period – a pinnacle of the nation’s creative expression – where the naturalistic depiction of flowers, animals, and landscapes upon plain metallic grounds elevated the day to day to the wondrous. Painted by hand onto a gilded background with an ombré finish, rising from a rich copper to a gleaming silver, the blooming white florals appear suspended as though in mid-air.
As a backdrop to the furniture by British-born Ghanian designer Kusheda Mensah, who explores fun yet functional living environments, a balance is struck between the rounded shapes that typify her work. Oversized models with the semblance of organic forms – and the abstract nature of the floating flowers, mirrored in the setting by a freestanding floral arrangement by Simone Gooch of Fjura and all atop the waving patterned lines of a hand-knotted rug by The Rug Company inspired by molten glass.
Braganza: Curated by Jermaine Gallacher
Inspired by original tiled murals from the Palácio dos Marqueses de Fronteira in Lisbon, ‘Braganza’ is a garden scene similar to de Gournay’s well known Chinoiseries, but depicts florid, bird-filled trees hand-painted as though upon ceramic tiles – with a grid effect and a glazed finish in the manner of porcelain.
Within his sprawling London showroom, amidst an eclectic mix of vintage design and pieces of his own creation, the young British design dealer Jermaine Gallacher’s avant-garde interpretation stages the design off the wall.
Nordic Garden: Curated by Amanda Brooks
This wallpaper shows a sparse and pretty scene inspired by the original wallpapers of Svindersvik – a Rococo era mansion located outside of Stockholm containing a muted Chinoiserie of a distinctly Scandinavian character – hand-painted in evergreen colours against a softly mottled Xuan paper.
This scene is curated in the heart of the English countryside by Amanda Brooks, proprietor of the eponymous Cutter Brooks shop, its fresh charm finds a natural home within satellite premises of the Cutter Brooks emporium, filled with the elevated homeware stocked by Brooks: oak leaf candle sconces crafted in burnished brass by Jess Wheeler, hand-sculpted porcelain flowers by Vladimir Kanevsky and Tensira textiles, alongside artwork by Brook’s husband Christopher and her own Delftware.
Marble: Curated by Ting Ying Gallery
Inspired by the myriad specimens, colours, and patterns of natural stone, the Marble design evokes the historic grandeur of the ancient world and the architectural feats of Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia mosque and the Pantheon in Rome, with the strata of intricately veined stone rendered by hand in Boiserie sections – setting the irregularities of the natural world within the rigid forms of cut stone.
Installed within the apartment of Ting-Ying Gallery founder Peter Ting and his partner, curator Brian Kennedy, the Marble backdrop elevates their personal collection of artworks and porcelain – with works by ceramic artists such as Carol McNicoll, Alice Walton, Chang Chingyuan, and Emma Witter filling the scene.
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