Saturday, October 31, 2015

the making of "modern chinoiserie"

This past October marked our participation in the third year of Dine By Design East, a charity fundraiser that we co-founded with local decorator Jonathan Legate and East Coast Living Magazine. The event provides a wonderful venue for the design community to come together and raise funds for design scholarships for NSCAD University. To date approximately $60,000 has been raised.

Dine By Design East provides ten design teams with a blank canvas to create a 10' x 10' dining room, and and the opportunity to unleash their imagination, as there is no client providing parameters. Each year we create something very different from the year before. This year our inspiration was based on Instagram posting about a year ago by Christiane Lemieux, founder of Dwell Studio and author of Undecorate, of an image of de Gournay handpainted wallpaper:

The background imagery is based on Chinoiserie, a design influence since the 17th century, Chinoiserie, from 'chinois' the French for Chinese, was a style inspired by art and design from China, Japan and other Asian countries. During the time of Louis XV, entire rooms were painted with Chinoiserie compositions, often depicting garden scenes. European craftsmen developed fanciful furniture styles, including fretwork and glazing. 

Our concept was to work with traditional Chinoiserie elements, and combine them with pieces with mid-century and modern influences. Because we were incorporating the garden theme into our design, we also wanted to integrate natural elements such as branches and birds. This is our inspiration board:

Being fine art graduates of NSCAD University, it's important to us to have something handmade in rooms that we create. We decided to take on the very ambitious project of doing six paintings, each 3'w x 7'h, for a total of nine feet in length on each wall, based on de Gournay's Japanese Garden. Internet searches revealed details, but with just some small jpgs to work with, we decided to tackle the drawing ourselves, use our imagination for the missing elements where necessary, plus add our own personal style.

the painstaking process of the drawing is underway

painting begins

more colour is added and the panels begin to come to life

Suzanne Saul paints flowers

Christopher Joyce paints birds

bird and branch detail

Suzanne adds more silver leaf while Chris works on the custom dining table

painting the custom fretwork ceiling

selecting the custom frame from Secord Gallery for a peacock print

set-up is underway in the Attica booth at Dine By Design East
the custom Peacock table designed and made by Christopher Joyce takes center stage

the front view of Attica's "Modern Chinoiserie" display