Monday, July 31, 2017

Designer I Love: Barbara Barry — What’s New

Los Angeles designer Barbara Barry has been at the top of design for three decades—designing influential interiors, creating collections for Baker Furniture and Boyd and McGuire, as well as fabrics, and almost too many great labels and ideas to mention. Now she’s working closely with Baker Furniture to launch new furniture with sleek modern lines, new silhouettes.

“As a designer, I need the infinite well of the inventive thinker. And I need the ability to make the inventive real to my clients. The problem-solving, the thinking, the collaboration, and the editing and discovery, are what leads to successful commercial products.” — Barbara Barry

Barbara Barry is a polymath. As she goes from one design project and assignment and achievement to another, from one airport or country to the next, her inspiration and ideas and drawings keep springing up.

In three fast decades, Barry has limned interiors, furniture, lighting, linens, tabletop decor, carpets, fabric for office and home, and splendid new tableware. She has designed restaurants in San Francisco, London and Los Angeles.

When, you might ask, is she at home in Ojai or Los Angeles?

“Time at home is sweet and meaningful because my work is intense and demanding and takes me all over the world,” said Barry. “When I do finally have a Saturday morning at home, after a business trip to New York or Hawaii or Chicago, I’m ecstatic.”

Barry dances to the muted music of white and beige. For her, the infinite range of whites, ivory and palest beige is pure beauty--soothing, timeless, classic, and always tasty and refreshing. She also loves a wide range of green colors but uses them sparingly.

Now with her new collections for Baker Furniture, Barry takes a sleek, modern and powerful new statement.

Join me this week to view Barbara Barry’s newest collections, and to view her new furniture. You are sure to be inspired.

Above, Barbara Barry’s new collection for Baker Furniture.

“I am motivated by the natural world--by light falling on a subject, by the forms that exist in nature, and by perfect proportion. I’m also motivated by lightness, brightness. I love the light of day. I watch it spill across a room and I’m stimulated. And every day is pure potential.” — Barbara Barry

Los Angeles-based Barbara Barry notes that all of her collections, in crystal or silk or fine woods have a decidedly feminine sensibility.

“I like softer lines, order, gentle not jarring colors, and subtle silhouettes,” noted Barry. To launch her newest portfolios of design, Barry is applying her prodigious sense of clarity of form, balance, proportion, naturalism and elegance.

To each she brings her innate sense of understatement, refinement, polish and freshness. Now her newest ambitious design project is a series of new collections for Baker Furniture.

Baker Furniture’s Russell Towner with Barbara Barry at High Point.

“We are especially excited to partner with Barbara Barry, who has been a part of Baker’s history and helped shape our identity for over twenty years. Barbara has taken a decidedly modern approach, while maintaining the relaxed sophistication that is her signature. The range is a curated mix of open-grained wood finishes, touches of bronze, textural fabrics and polished lighting which we at Baker feel taps into a global movement where relaxed and formal, couture and street fashion are mixed.” — Russell Towner, president of Baker

Barbara Barry’s collection for Baker Furniture has more relaxed wood finishes that are neither precious nor formal, reflecting the influences of her own life as well as her clients. There is an emphasis on utility, modern upholstery and easy-to-live with textural fabrics. The upholstery is covered in chenille, bouclé, velvet and crisp linen, which is tonal and textural and soft to the touch. The color palette is soft and easy with colors inspired by nature: Cinder, Pink Salt, Bleached Sand and Awash reflecting her watercolor washes, all intended to serve as a quiet backdrop for living. 

Designers and Architects Admired by Barbara

“John Dickinson was a favorite furniture designer. I loved his plaster tables and his subdued color palette. I also love the work of Jean-Michel Frank for its great lines, modern elegance and beautiful materials. “I love all the Edward Lutyens tomes that document Lutyens’ country houses, such as Munstead Wood, as well as the houses he designed in France. Photographs originally published in “Country Life” show interiors with finesse, character, and superb interior architecture. I studied the floor plans of his work and love the central halls, his civic vision, the proportions of his rooms.

And I admire architects like John Pawson, Adolf Loos, Le Corbusier and Tadao Ando who prefer no decoration or lamination but achieve complete integration of form, space and light. I admire Ludwig Wittgenstein’s “laboratory for living” at Kundmanngasse in Vienna, built in 1928. For Wittgenstein, very millimeter was important.”

Barbara Barry’s Collections of Crystal for Swarovski

Barbara Barry on Kitchen Design

Barbara Barry believes that kitchens should be furnished like a room for living—not a machine for cooking.

“I like to furnish a kitchen with a good, solid table and some very comfortable chairs, along with banks of cabinets and drawers,” said Barry. “I like the idea of an étagere for holding books, an old bookcase to secure cookbooks, photography and collections, and perhaps old cabinets. I love to have piles of books and magazines. I like to have space for an iPad or a newspaper, a notebook, painting supplies”

She likes to carve out extra counter space or position a table so that she can mount tablescapes of platters, and bowls and trays of seasonal fruit and vegetables, along with candlesticks and perhaps a large vase holding branches or stalks of flowers from the garden. Barry also likes to see newly collected bottles of wine or favorite ingredients for a special occasional cocktail.

“In my kitchen I have a lamp for more intimate and pleasing lighting, rather than just an overhead light,” said Barry. “An overhead light can be harsh and glary but perhaps on a dimmer it can work. You set the lamp where you need it, for reading, cooking, dining. It brings the room down to a more human scale.”

Musical Inspiration

“Musica Latina is my favorite music next to Mozart, Chopin, Beethoven and Verdi. Musica Latina is happy music and never fails to put a smile on my face and lift my mood, and it makes me want to dance! Every Saturday I listen to Alma da Barrio on the Los Angeles radio station, KXLU, 88.9FM. It’s a college station. It’s authentic, soulful and very uplifting.”


Images courtesy Barbara Barry, published on THE STYLE SALONISTE with express permission.

‘Barbara Barry Around Beauty’ published by Rizzoli. 

For More Information: 

Barbara Barry
9526 Pico Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Phone: 310-276-9977

Monday, July 24, 2017

Three Great New Style Books for Lifetime Reading

Newest Style Books I Love: The Best Design and Style Books, Summer 2017

My top picks: 
Flammarion’s ‘Villa Astor’ and Rizzoli’s ‘Christian Dior in the South of France The Chateau de la Colle Noire, along with Lannoo’s ‘Margiela The Hermès Years’ make for delicious viewing and vivid, highly detailed reading.

Superbly designed and art directed, these three books will be stars in your reference library, constant inspiration, and a rich source of lifetime reading and pleasure. That’s always my goal, a lifetime of enjoyment and ideas.

1. Villa Astor Paradise Restored on the Amalfi Coast

Introduction by The Right Honorable the Lord Astor of Hever. Text by Curt DiCamillo, Suzanne Tise-Isoré, Alexandra Campbell, Rita Vessichelli Pane.
Photography by Eric Sander, Flammarion 2017

Imagine a grand villa on a cliff high above the Bay of Naples near Sorrento, basking in the Mediterranean sunshine and with spectacular views of Mount Vesuvius.

Windows are open to illuminate priceless Greek and Roman statuary.

Villa Astor is an Italian landmark with a rich history dating back to the Roman Empire.

American businessman, collector, and politician William Waldorf Astor fell in love with Italy and in 1875 acquired the villa that bears his name. He turned it into a paradise of art, beauty, architecture, and exquisite gardens.

Villa Astor was maintained by the Astor family until 1919.

Now for the new owners, the acclaimed French decorator Jacques Garcia has beautifully restored the villa and exceptional gardens to their former splendor.

This scholarly book vividly illustrates the interiors, the collections, the lavish gardens and statuary, along with history, archival images and paintings.

Images take readers on a private tour—always with the (imagined) sounds and fragrant breezes of the Mediterranean for atmosphere. Divine.

The Right Honorable the Lord Astor of Hever is the great-grandson of William Waldorf Astor and a member of the House of Lords. Curt DiCamillo is a Boston-based architectural historian and an authority on the British country house.

Suzanne Tise-Isoré is an art historian and coauthor of French Decorative Art: 1900- 1942.

Alexandra Campbell is a biographical researcher and writer.

Rita Vessichelli Pane is co-author of I Sapori del Sud.

Eric Sander’s photographs have appeared in Smithsonian, Life, Time, Newsweek, Le Figaro  Magazine, and numerous books, including A Day at Château de Fontainebleau (Flammarion, 2015).

2. Christian Dior in the South of France
The Château de la Colle Noire

© 2017 Christian Dior.  Text by Laurence Benaïm. Photographs by Miguel Flores-Vianna and Bruno Suet. Illustrations by Jean-Philippe Delhomme.

The Château de La Colle Noire, which Christian Dior purchased in 1950, sealed his love affair with Provence. The delightful times Christian Dior spent in his beloved chateau were also occasions to welcome family and friends at La Colle Noire and cultivate friendships with the artists he cared about including Bernard Buffet, Marc Chagall, Marie- Laure de Noailles and many others who shared laughter and terrace dinners with Dior.

During the day, he cultivated his roses and sketched, relaxed, and continued to refine and define the landscapes and interiors.

Now, the superb estate has undergone a complete restoration, conducted by the neo-Provençal architect André Svétchine.

The beautifully edited book illustrates that La Colle Noire gardens flourish thanks to landscape designer Philippe Deliau. Interiors were restored to their original design by decorator Yves de Marseille.

Art direction and design for La Colle Noire are by the highly admired team from Cabana magazine, and the pages are ornamented and richly embellished (in the style of Cabana). The book has great charm.

In particular, I love the delight of the witty and informative back pages, A Guide to Christian Dior’s Places to visit, which invites readers to discover mythical sites, from the famous to the surprising and cultural, where the couturier/ perfumer liked to stop when driving around Provence in his Hotchkiss convertible.

The black truffle market in Aups, the glass factory in Biot, the bouillabaisse fish stew at Tétou and the bar at the Carlton Hotel, the Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul-de-Vence and his favorite hotels, sites, galleries, museums (Picasso), along with the Villa Kerylos (my favorite), and all the must-see Dior picks of Cannes, Nice, Vence and all points of style and interest. Every detail of this book is carefully considered and superbly produced. Most impressive.

3. Margiela  The Hermès Years

The enigmatic, brilliant and highly influential Belgian designer Martin Margiela created and delineated fashion and accessories for Hermès for four years, launching in 1997. This highly original book documents and illuminates his Hermès designs of that period as well as his own label collections at the time.

Martin Margiela’s tenure at Hermès was one of the most surprising and important of all of their designer collaborations.

Cleverly and wittily, he took all of the Hermès codes and signatures—elegant simplicity, cashmere, luxe leathers, crocodile skins, seasonless dressing, low-key classic colors, subtle tones, no pattern—and amplified them in a new and edgy manner.

I’ve always admired that era, and this book perfectly defines the subversiveness of simple uber-luxury mashed with the avant-garde chic of the designer.

Suzy Menkes loves his ‘tactile fabrics for feminine allure’ and she admired his clean silhouettes and pared-down details.

Margiela was and is a joyful renegade, and he understood that traditional forms and shapes could be transformed with amplification and restraint.

The book shows, in contrast/juxtaposition his own experimental fashions of those years, and his studio milieu and models.

Margiela has always had a cult following—and I admire the way he applied his own deconstruction design process to his label Maison Martin Margiela—and the great house of Hermès.



Villa Astor Paradise Restored on the Amalfi Coast
Published by Flammarion. All photography © Eric Sander

Christian Dior in the South of France The Chateau de la Colle Noire is published by Rizzoli USA, Photography by Miguel Flores-Vianna and Bruno Suet, with art direction by Cabana.

The Hermès Years is published by Lannoo, based in Belgium, Essays by Rebecca Arnold, Kaat Debo, Elisa De Wyngaert, Sarah Mower, Vincent Wierink, Karen Van Godtsenhoven.