It is Paris Design Week, and the French capital is teaming with exhibitions, installations and creatives types from across the globe, all eager to discover the latest ideas, the most current designs, and be amongst the first to enjoy a glimpse into future trends. But for yours truly, the greatest source of inspiration from France has been my trip to a much older showcase of great Design. This year, I took a short 30-minute trip outside the French capital to visit the Chateau of Versailles.
As I wandered through the magnificent halls, what struck me most was just how timeless, and relevant the designs are still. A world heritage site, the Palais de Versailles harks back to the year 1682 when King Louis XIV began the mammoth task of building the Palace on the site of his father’s former hunting lodge. The palace remained the principal residence of the Kings of France until the revolution in 1789. And many of the designs that the French King implemented over 3-and-a-half centuries ago, continue to influence the great designers of our time.
The first thing that came to me as I toured the grand palace was, “well no wonder there was a revolution!”.
The opulence and grandeur are omnipresent. This palace was the palace that all later palaces were modelled on. It was the very symbol of extravagance I could so see why a French peasant farmer might feel that the national wealth was a tad unfairly distributed. So then how could such totally excessive gilt and glitz be relevant today, I hear you scream…
Well; beneath all that ostentation are exquisite details and a masterly use of proportions, pattern light and colour which have inspired designers (yours truly definitely included) for centuries. I am sure it will continue to inspire for many centuries to come.
Peter Marino, Jacques Garcia, Kelly Wearstler, Mary Mcdonald, Jean Louis Deniot, Joseph Dirand, Pierre Yovanovitch these are some of the biggest names in design of the 21st Century. Their works regularly grace the pages of International design periodicals and images of their work are some of the most “pinned” pictures on Pinterest. So where do these design gurus get their inspiration?
Scroll through the images below and see if you agree…
WOW… Just look at that floor! Dramatic geometric lines, sharp contrast, magnificent proportions – Installed in the 17th Century but could anything be more current! Just check out this home in Hong Kong by San Fransico interiors firm Bamo and an apartment by the great Pierre Yovanovitch.
Kelly Wearstler and Mary Mcdonald are two of the most celebrated American designers working today
– any guesses where they have drawn inspiration?
Perhaps from here? The Salon De Diane, Grand Apartment, Chateau De Versailles
Jean Louis Denoit is another one of the 21st Century’s great designer.
Check out the photo of one of his recent projects featured in Architectural Digest.
and compare it to a room from Versailles below.
Kelly Wearstler’s restaurant design for Bergdoff Goodman (below) was widely hailed as iconic by design lovers…..
but check out my picture from Versaille… look familiar?
These photos of an interior by Jacques Garcia who CNN describes as the “Creator of the worlds finest hotels”.
This has long been one of my favourite images of the work of Jean Louis Denoit.
Below is the Chapel at Versailles.
The Hall of Mirrors: perhaps one of the most famous rooms at Versailles associated with the unrestrained decadence of the pre revolutionary French Court.
And look at this interior below- thoroughly contemporary!