One could argue (and some have) that the days of minimalism and mid-century modernism are being supplanted by a new "maximalism"; a move toward richer colors, a playful layering of texture and pattern, and a more robust and eclectic fusion of time periods, styles and atmospheres. The April 2011 issue of Elle Decor certainly supports such an argument. "I love the beautiful. Im not a minimalist. I love living and minimalism is for people who don't know how to live. I'm a maximalist." (Antonello Radi, whose home is featured in this month's Elle Decor)
Maybe its because it is Spring, when decor magazines tend to be infused with brighter and more jocular color schemes. Or maybe its because this is Elle Decor's "international" issue. But the tides certainly seem to be shifting toward a more theatrical, historical and eclectic decorating style. This issue is chock full of ethnic artifacts, oriental rugs, gold and red hues, intricately carved wood and metalwork. Every other piece of furniture is bejeweled, inlaid or embellished in some way.
Some of the highlights of the April 2011 Elle Decor:
Images 2 and 3: Beirut artist Nabil Naha's sumptuous Beirut home is full of decorative contrast and rich, vivid color, from mother-of-pearl inlaid case pieces and Islamic art to white leather Czech furniture.
Images 4 and 5: Sig Mergamin's beach house in Brazil is a study in eclectic charm. His guests can choose to lounge on Brazilian colonial chairs, Chinese ceramic stools or Nigerian beaded armchairs. The rooms are decorated with Buddha heads and Roman busts, Uzbek suzanis and Kenyan masks. "I try to mix colors and pattern wherever possible," says Mergamin. "I also have no problem mixing things from all over the world." Apparently his home is on sale for almost $4 million.
Images 6-10: In a spread titled "Shifting Out of Neutral," Elle Decor profiles the home of British hoteliers Kit and Tim Kemp, where "urban sophisticate meets God Save the Queen." Says Kit Kemp, "I love fabric and texture and fabulous pieces of art, not necessarily expensive." Their home is light, cheery and bursting with color and pattern. Of course, most of their furnishings (as is true of all of the homes profiled) are the stuff of fantasy for the average reader. But they do offer some stunning inspiration to us mortal folk.
Also featured in this issue (but not pictured here...you have to buy the magazine!) is Antonello Radi's breathtaking 16th century palazzo in Umbria. Sure, he is a millionaire (billionaire?) but we all know that money doesn't always translate into style. Radi has admirably deferred to his home's historical significance as a dwelling for Italian nobility, replicating the sky blue and red earth tones that would have covered the walls centuries ago. Persian rugs abound, as do Sicilian tiles, terra cotta vases and corals and seashells. Radi says he prefers antiques because they "transmit more energy. Every piece tells a story." He adds, "I love the beautiful. Im not a minimalist. I love living and minimalism is for people who don't know how to live. I'm a maximalist."