Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Lately I've been admiring the work of Paris-based interior designer Jean-Louis Deniot.  He is known for his stunning interiors that brilliantly combines history with contemporary flourishes.  Deniot has a love for neoclassicism and a knack for taking historical references and updating them in a sophisticated way. "Many people think you can create an effect through a form of provocation," he explains, "by juxtaposing something very classical with something very contemporary.  For me, things should be a lot more subtle." 

Neoclassical style is a timeless, elegant historic decorating style and one of the most influential and popular themes in home decor.  Neoclassicism surfaced as an opposition to the excesses of Rococo style.  It takes the graceful curves of the Rococo and combines it with Gothic, Chinese, and Palladian elements to create a variety of sub-styles including late Georgian and Regency periods in England, Louis XVI and Directoire or Empire in France, and the Federal period in the newly formed United States of America as well as the later Victorian Greek Revival, which was heavily influenced by the recent archaeological discoveries of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Decorating materials and accessories in the Neoclassical styles have themes and motifs drawn from classical Greek and Roman mythology.  Urns, decorative columns, laurel wreaths, slender arabesques, cupids, stylized palms known as anthemions (Greek) and palmettes (Egypt), Greek key designs and marble (or faux marble) busts and statuary are characteristics of neoclassical interior design.

Neoclassical furniture is characterized by restrained, symmetrical design and tends to be rectangular.  Architectural details and motifs are frequently used for decoration.  Legs are turned and fluted in reference to classic architectural columns.

Neoclassicism provides a grand statement with an element of restraint, a perennial favorite throughout history.  Do you have a little Neoclassicism in your home?  What is your favorite detail?  

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