Neale Whi­taker:

Blends the old with the new.

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - NEWS -

MIX PAST AND PRESENT

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Ev­ery­thing Old Is New Again” is a Peter Allen song, I know. But it’s also one of those clichés that bounces around the de­sign in­dus­try, and it’s never been quite so true as it is now. You may have heard Dar­ren Palmer, my fel­low judge on The Block, talk about “New Tra­di­tional” in the cur­rent se­ries. He was re­fer­ring to the fu­sion of Art Deco and mod­ern in the six Port Mel­bourne apart­ments, but there are plenty of other eras that are be­ing plun­dered for in­spi­ra­tion.

In the lat­est is­sue of Vogue Liv­ing, there’s a trend page on which ev­ery piece of fur­ni­ture is new, but you could be for­given for think­ing we’d raided the lo­cal an­tiques mar­ket. There’s a car­pet by Dutch brand Moooi re­sem­bling a Dutch old mas­ter; in­laid wooden cab­i­nets demon­strat­ing that the del­i­cate art of mar­quetry has been spared ex­tinc­tion; and salon chairs that owe a debt to their 18th-cen­tury fore­bears. My in­box is full of or­nate mir­rors and chan­de­lier of­fer­ings, and fab­ric re­tail­ers are re­port­ing in­creased de­mand for toiles, bro­cades, silks and damasks.

But so far, so tra­di­tional. Where does the “new” come in? Well, that’s all in the mix. Noth­ing feels quite so fresh – and ex­cit­ing, in my opin­ion – as the blend of old and new. These new

“old” pieces add an ex­cit­ing ex­tra di­men­sion. In Aus­tralia, the pared-back Scan­di­na­vian mid-cen­tury look has held sway for a long time, but it was in­evitable the pen­du­lum would even­tu­ally swing back, that we might crave some or­na­men­ta­tion. Those canny folk at the Na­tional Gallery of Aus­tralia (NGA) in Can­berra knew which way the de­sign winds were blow­ing. The Ver­sailles: Trea­sures From The Palace ex­hi­bi­tion opens in early De­cem­ber (nga. gov.au) and will tap right into the New Tra­di­tion­al­ist mood. As NGA di­rec­tor Ger­ard Vaughan puts it: “We want peo­ple to ex­pe­ri­ence the beauty and the glam­our. A bit of bling never hurts.”

But just as we didn’t want to see wall-to-wall Art Deco in those Block apart­ments, so too none of us re­ally want our homes to look like Marie An­toinette’s boudoir. To be ahead of the curve, try mix­ing an­tique and mod­ern. Think of it as the home-dec­o­rat­ing equiv­a­lent of adding a Tom Ford tie to a busi­ness suit, or a pair of Louboutin heels to a lit­tle black dress. It gives a whole new mean­ing to Dan­ger­ous Li­aisons. Neale Whi­taker is edi­tor-in-chief of Vogue Liv­ing.

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