italian + french baroque // DESIGN HISTORY

The Italian & French Baroque periods started as the Renaissance, and the time of economic and social prosperity began to wane.  Italian Baroque design was complex, tense, exuberant, and grand with excessive motion and ornamentation.  Much like the architecture at the end of the Roman Empire, design attempted to express power and control as the society was beginning to experience a decline.


St. Peter’s Basilica + Albatross Residence in Australia

The Italian & French Baroque periods were known for grand buildings, often featuring large colonnades leading to the entrance. 

The entry to this beachfront home in Australia is through the long wood colonnade, which frames the ocean at the end.


Palazzo Barberini Borromini + Marchesi Antinori Winery

This dramatic spiral staircase that leads through an oculus to the top floor of the winery is reminiscent of the spiral staircases common to Baroque Palazzos, often winding through the middle of the building with a dome at the top to let in light.


Spada Galleria + Vanishing Mosque in the UAE

This mosque design is proposed for a project in the UAE.  The colonnade arches and brickwork of the surrounding structures decrease as you move toward the end, creating a sense of distance looking towards Mecca.  This is similar to Borromini’s colonnade at the Spada Galleria which forces a perspective to the statue placed at the end of the colonnade.

Much like Italian Baroque, French Baroque was also characterized with large, overdone decoration.  But this was also the time of Louis XIV, which is one of the more copied, and even sometimes, coveted styles, especially when it comes to furniture.  We’ll be looking at more Louis XVI furniture in the future, but for now, let’s focus on the architecture side of things.




Chateau Vaux le Vicomte + Wood Shingled Mansard + Private Home in King’s Cross, England

The mansard roof features four sloping sides, each of which becomes steeper halfway down.  French Baroque mansard roofs are always darker than the rest of the building, making for an imposing element of the structure.

The mansard roof went through a less attractive wood shingled version commonly found on the 60s and 70s inexpensive apartment complexes.

This example from 2014 gives the roof new life as a modern design element.  Much like the French Chateaux, this roof is made from slate and offsets the lighter stone and wood on the façade of the home.

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