The whimsical, almost child-like qualities of 18th Century French art, architecture and design was a reflection of the French economy (unfortunately) benefitting from slave labor and colonization. This period saw several strong design movements – Régence, Rococo and Neo-Classical, all featuring pastel colors, gold gilting and over-decorated curvilinear forms.
The Swing by Fragonard + Manuel Canovas Fabric
Art in the Rococo period highlighted the light and fun aspects of life. The protagonists were painted in bright pastels and were shown as carefree and light.
Manuel Canovas has included the same concepts into his L’Envol fabric and wallpaper line which features fanciful scenes in bright pastels.
18th CENTURY FRENCH FOLLY
Pyramid Folly at Désert de Retz + Etruscan Temple Folly
A folly is an ornamental building with no practical purpose, designed to celebrate and replicate architectural styles of the past.
This modern folly shares many design features of an Etruscan temple. In both cases, the folly serves as a small decorative building, meant to be enjoyed from the outside but also seated space for contemplation on the interior.
ARCHITECTURAL DRAWINGS AS DECORATION
Colloseo by Piranesi + Fornasetti Wallpaper
The artist Giovanni Battista Piranesi traveled to areas in the old Roman Empire in the 18th Century to sketch its ruins. These drawings then became common wall hangings in wealthy French homes.
Black and white “hand” drawings of scenes in Venice fill this wallpaper designed by Fornasetti for Cole & Son.
Queen’s Bedchamber at Versailles + Home in Perth
The modern parquet floor in this private home is reminiscent of the geometric parquet found in 18th Century French homes. The modern chevron design is also repeated in the brick wall.
18th French Commode + Keno Bros. Commode
This modern commode has many of the same features of the commodes from the French Empire period. Both feature mahogany, an oversized body compared to the legs and very little space below the legs. The curve along the bottom of the piece also hangs very low, like the Empire commodes. Unlike classic French commodes, this version does not have a marble top.