Thursday, March 12, 2015

Plaza de España, Seville

Why don't we have World's Fairs anymore? They provided us with some of the worlds great monuments such as the Eiffel Tower and the entire City Beautiful movement. If you have any Beaux-Arts styled buildings in your city or town, such as a courthouse, museum, or townhall, you can thank the World's Fair movement!  I saw an exhibit on that at the National Building museum a few years ago and it was really an eye opening experience (read more about that and how it influenced modernism HERE).
Recently I was sent photographs of the Plaza de España in Seville, which was the centerpiece of the Ibero-American Exhibition of 1929, by my Australian Penpal which really took my breath away.
This enormous plaza designed by Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier contains fountains and a Venetian-style lazy river complete with boat rides, surrounded by a semi-circular building which now houses government offices.
At the base of the building designed by architect Anibal Gonzalez which surrounds the plaza are 48 alcoves which represent the provinces of Spain, seen in the image above. These have provided great photography fodder with Spanish tourists posing in front of the alcove representing their home province.
This grand entry loggia leads one into the center of the main building and provides a shady respite from the harsh Spanish sun.
In true Spanish tradition albeit with an Art Deco twist, the ceiling of the loggia is beautifully patterned.
Lets step inside the main building to the central staircase, setting of many Spanish weddings. The image below shows why!
The tilework of painted encaustic tiles is beautiful and lends human scale to the otherwise massive stair.
As if one needed another reason to visit sunny Spain, be sure to check out the Plaza de España in Seville!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Fabric decision - designers help!

At this past weekend's estate sale HERE I purchased a Biedermeier stool for use with my comfy reading chair, another estate sale find which I recently had reupholstered (see that transformation HERE). You can see the upholstery that came on the stool is in good shape, a synthetic material from the 1960s, but doesn't quite go with my apartment.
Of course the easy answer is to use the remaining fabric I have on the chair, a linen printed with a white paisley. Is this too boring? I also worry the light colored fabric will soil easily.
I have some lovely black mohair I purchased for another project and never used. I worry this is the opposite - too dark.
Some striped velvet left from a chair I recently had reupholstered in my bedroom would work but I'm not sure it works here.
The last choice I already own is an embroidered paisley silk in blues and french grays. I think the colors seem to go with the room, the darker colors may mask any dirt, and the paisley patterned fabric relates to the chair.  I'm obviously leaning in this direction but what do you think, will any of these work?

Monday, March 9, 2015

Identify this estate sale find - help!

This past weekend I attended one of my favorite kind of estate sales: a very old Washingtonian family in a very old grand house. The family bought said house during the great depression after selling their huge estate and literally never touched the house again: not paint, no adding furniture, etc.  Shabby chic would be a great term (if it wasn't already attached to something quite different). I wish I had some pictures to share with you of the house but I never thought of taking any snapshots unfortunately.
Sloans and Kenyon, a local auction house, hosts the best estate sales of the oldest families here in town. If they're hosting you know you need to be there! I had a huge haul (including literal armfuls of linens which I spent all day Sunday oxy-cleaning, laundering, and ironing) and just a few of the items are shown here in this post.
One item I purchased remains a bit of  a mystery. This small pitcher reminds me of belleek ware - the collectible paper-thin Irish porcelain, but is unsigned.
Notice it is double walled, the outer wall being pierced with a continuous inner lining.  The only marking is an S.72. and an LS scratched into the glazing. I can't figure out who made the thing.
Any idea who could have made my new treasure?