LIVING Neale Whitaker reveals how to expertly group your objets d’art.
SHOWCASE YOUR STYLE BY CREATING A COLLECTION OF CURATED CLUTTER
Warning: this column may contain traces of nuts. That is, what I’m going to say might sound a little nuts. Because stuff is back in fashion, and I mean stuff in multiple. While the interior design pendulum still swings towards Scandi/ simple or industrial/functional, the bold, “up-and-at-’em” attitude towards art that has made galleries of our homes has spread to glassware, ceramics, candles and home accessories and artefacts generally. Stuff is definitely a thing.
The old adage “two’s company, three’s a crowd” might apply to relationships, but it doesn’t always resonate in the home. Two’s company but three’s way cooler. Just at this moment in time, more might actually be more, but of course there are rules. While the design gods are granting permission to clutter, the knack lies in the grouping.
I have a friend who collects horse sculptures. He has about a dozen which were once dotted around his apartment. Persuading him they would have more impact if they were all gathered together wasn’t easy, but once he tried it he was delighted. The stable of sculptures has remained. In Italy, I saw mass clusters of glassware and ceramics, the most effective groupings loosely connected by colour, shape, texture or size. The smallest might have numbered just six items (exquisite teal-blue ceramics), the largest a group of 40 wall-mounted plates at the furniture brand Baxter (www.baxter.it). Showstoppers in my book were bold new vessels by British designer Max Lamb shown en masse at that oldest of Italian ceramicists, Bitossi (bitossiceramiche.it), and layered, bowls-within-bowls in brilliant colours by stoneware designer Rina Menardi (rinamenardi.com). I also saw groupings of Murano glass, tribal masks and sculptures, wooden objects and decorative totems.
And, as so often happens, the impact of this simplest of design rules at home is substantial. I have three brass vases from the Swedish brand Skultuna (skultuna.com). Individually they’re nice but quietly introverted; grouped together in the centre of a black marble-topped table they’re dramatic scene-stealers. I’ll bet that many of you have quite a collection of scented candles at home – in the bedroom, the bathroom, lounge room, even the kitchen. Sound familiar? I’m not going to suggest burning them all at once, but try grouping them all together in one place. Now doesn’t that look better?
MULTIPLE CHOICE above) Anthropologie in the US and Danish brands Broste Copenhagen