Luxist Guest Post: Summer Thornton at the Biennale Des Antiquaires
Guest Post by Interior Designer Summer Thornton
Put diamonds, antiques, and french architecture in the same building and I'll be there. Actually I was there, in September at the 25th Biennale Des Antiquaires. Talk about an interior designer dying and going to heaven! Set under the beautiful architecture of the Grand Palais in Paris, eighty of the world's top antique galleries and seven of the world's top jewelers showcased their best collections.
With so many gorgeous showrooms, the thing that really stood out was the way in which many pieces were displayed. It seemed to be all about presentation, which varied so much by gallery that entering each gallery was like entering a different little world. The jewelers did an amazing job merchandising. Paris-based Van Cleef and Arpels pulled out all the stops on their showroom to include a fabulous 20,000 leagues under the sea themed room and display cases complete with submarine and a hot air observation balloon.
Dior similarly wowed by displaying their jewels in an exquisite manner appropriate for the event - encased in tiny room vignettes utilizing miniature furniture primarily of french design. And the skull themed jewelry at Dior was the perfect balance of sexy and dark - I was dying to take something home.
Amongst the antique dealers, Anne-Marie Monin presented their antiques in a refreshing manner that stood out from the rest. They displayed exquisite antiques against a moody black backdrop which made them feel more modern and relevant to the way people live today. They showed a gorgeous intricate gilt console but playfully included a "LOVE" sign on top which made this room seem like something I would actually do for a client. Plus the insanely enormous mirror on their back wall was to die for!
Didier Aaron took a more playful slant on tradition with their showroom. They painted 2D moldings on the walls rather than applying traditional plaster/wood carvings. The lighthearted approach to traditional molding was a nice relief to all the formality. I also loved their use of intensely saturated upholstery fabrics on what were otherwise very traditional antique furniture pieces - check out the intense orange mohair on the gilded chair! Now that is something that I could really get excited about! Other enchanting pieces were a gorgeously smokey mirror, beautiful Russian malachite vases, and several traditional gilt furniture pieces that against the playful background looked both important and approachable!
Within the more traditional showrooms, I was most interested by a room collaboration between Francois Leage antiques and Feau & Cie, a collector and restorer of antique wood wall paneling. I had heard about Feau & Cie a few months ago and was excited to see one of their rooms in person. It literally felt like I had stepped back in time - if only Marie Antoinette had been there I'm sure we would have had cake. So between the gilding, the walls, and the antiques, this showroom really set the bar for traditional. Now if I could just get some of those gorgeous moldings in my house!
Every showroom had beautiful elements. These were just a few. To see more images, check out the gallery and let me know what you like best. If you could take home one thing, what would it be? And how do you feel about the blending of playful and antique?
For more information about the Biennale, visit www.bdafrance.eu. For more information about Summer Thornton Design, visit www.SummerThorntonDesign.com
P.S. A few other standouts amongst the antiques which have photos in the gallery include:
- the Jean-Christophe gallery featured a series of ancient Asian helmets and battle armour
- an exquisite silver collection including some used by Louis XV at Bernard De Leye
- an interesting collection of religious paintings dated as far back as 1300 from the Moretti Gallery
- an over the top carved, gilded, and hand painted grand piano at Michel-Guy Chadelaud
- early edition and rare books including those by William Shakespeare, Edgar Allen Poe, and a portfolio of Picasso's