April 14, 2014
This is Happening: Primary Modernism
Part Lichtenstein, part Mondrian, Primary Modernism is a bold and saturated look, characterized by clean lines with midcentury influences, and the use of bright, primary colors as perfectly illustrated in this space captured by Oberto Gili for Elle Decor. The streamlined, bold style is a perfect foil to other popular interior trends we see everywhere these days. "I think the design world has been inundated with pattern in recent years, especially of the Eastern and tribal variety, in a rainbow of colors," shares interior designer Nick Olsen. "The De Stijl art movement, which reduced 2-D and 3-D works to elemental abstraction in red, yellow, blue, and black, feels fresh today because we're nearly overwhelmed with visual stimuli--Instagram alone drives me to distraction!" Mainly absent of pattern aside from stripes and spots, these interiors project a certain confidence and radiate playfulness. "While I still love ikat and fretwork designs, I find the work of early Modernists to be a powerful counterpoint to these trends, especially when rendered in bold, primary colors," Olsen shares. Somewhere between the world of a juvenile comic book and that of a sophisticated, minimalist gallery, this style is for the adventurous, the lively, and the brave. Through use of key midcentury furniture pieces and light fixtures, and careful color placement, Primary Modernism is a fresh take on a classic style. Read on for ways to get the look, if you dare. Go big or go home with saturated, vibrant hues on upholstery, gloss finish furniture, or over-scaled art. Embrace this style even more by introducing multiple bold elements in the same space, such a vibrant coffee table and sofa, or a statement rug with attention-getting drapery.
Furniture with clean lines is especially impactful in these rooms. They balance the visual stimuli of more shapely items, and better evoke the rigidness of the original art movement. "The clean lines of modern pieces add a sculptural quality to Minimalist rooms but also look fabulous next to curvy Continental antiques," Olsen adds.
If a bright red sofa or a shocking blue coffee table are too much to bear, start small with pillows, throws, decorative accessories, or lamps. Several pieces with modern lines in bright hues will still give you the look, but allows for easy swaps, if your taste changes rapidly.
Neutral furnishings can still fit in when set against vibrant painted accent walls, doors, or cabinets.
Tone down the vibrancy and avoid visual assault by incorporating black and white accents. "I have a pair of reproduction Rietveld Zigzag chairs in my office where I've limited the palette to black, cream, and the three primary colors," Olsen says. "It helps me decorate with a clear head!" Pieces with an absence of color such as rugs, accessories, and black and white art, will prevent the comic-cartoon influence from becoming too much of a reality.
So tell us, what is your take on this artistically-influenced design style? Let us know in the comments.
Photographs: Oberto Gili via Elle Decor, Hartô, Kim Jeffery via House and Home, via Stylish Times and Things, Wayne Nathan and Carol Egan, Trevor Tondro, via Elle Decor España, Jeffrey Hirsch, Jean-François Jaussaud via Elle España, Dwell, Frank de Biasi Design, Jean-François Jaussaud, Oberto Gili via Elle Decor, Nick Olsen, Jason Schmidt, Jean-François Jaussaud, Robert Schlatter for Dwell, Spotti Milano, via Digs Digs.
|Nelson Marshmallow Sofa in Crepe, $3749, Design Within Reach||Blue Block Rug, From $299, CB2||La Mela Modern Poster by Enzo Mari, $450, Nova68|
|System 1-2-3 Lounge Chair in Fabric, $1450, Design Within Reach||Around Table, $699, Design Within Reach||Ball Chair by Eero Aarnio, $8900, Nova68|
|Damien Hirst: Spot Wall Clock, $410, Moma Store||Reversible Mother Child Pop Throw Pillow, $145, Jonathan Adler||Heller Rainbow Mugs, $60 (Set of Six), Design Within Reach|
|"Bright Yellow" #2022-30, From $37, Benjamin Moore||"Brilliant Blue" #2065-30, From $37, Benjamin Moore||"Red" #2000-10, From $37, Benjamin Moore|
|Stockholm Rug, $199, Ikea||Gerrit Rietveld Zig Zag Chair, $636, B2H||"Murder Mystery" by Dante Carlos, $30, Debbie Carlos|