Thursday, October 26, 2017

Gaudí the Great: Part II

Antoni Gaudí’s limitless creativity and unique style cannot be compared or matched. In Part II of our focus on his work after Jean-Noël’s trip to Barcelona, we look at the acclaimed Sagrada Familia and symbolic Parc Güell.

Sagrada Familia is Gaudí’s most well-known project– in part for its extensive Christian symbolism and significance, in part for its astounding architecture, and in part for its lengthy construction, which is still ongoing. Gaudí began Sagrada Familia in 1882 whilst simultaneously working on other projects. In 1914 he decided to concentrate exclusively on this project, until his death in 1926, at which point the venture was only approximately 20% complete.

Sagrada Familia | ArchDaily

Today, the construction has progressed to about 70% and is scheduled to be complete by 2026, the centennial of Gaudí’s death. His vision for the project included 18 towers– four representing the Gospels, twelve representing the Apostles, one representing the Virgin Mary, and the largest representing Jesus Christ. It was his goal to use architecture as a means of expressing Christian beliefs and communicating the message of the Evangalists.

Completed Rendering by Gaudí | BlogSpot


It is clear one of Gaudí’s primary sources of inspiration was Christianity, but the other critical influence was nature. His observation of the natural world inspired him to apply its unique functions to the architectural frameworks and design of the temple. Examples of this include foliage and animal details on the facade, branching columns, and spiral staircases– which also represent the rising movement that links earth with heaven.

There is an infinite depth to the symbolism, inspiration, and function behind every element of this renowned temple. We will be anxiously waiting for nine more years until Gaudí’s vision is complete!

Parc Güell is a public park composed of gardens and organized groupings of homes. Gaudí fully achieved his personal style during this project, using creative liberties to develop imaginative structures that do not adhere to any rigidity of classic form, volume, or design. The park is another example of Gaudí’s incorporation of natural and religious symbols, as well as political symbols relating to Catalanism.

Parc Güell Entrance | BCN Events

He used shards of tile, similar to Caso Batlló, throughout the park to create these designs and symbols, and to add a playful, colorful, and approachable dynamic to the overall design. Gaudí’s typical use of organic shapes is best expressed in the curved and flowing bench that is covered in mosaic tiles and surrounds the terrace of the park, which overlooks the city of Barcelona.

Parc Güell Terrace | Flickr

View from Terrace | The Style Traveller

Gaudí built covered walkways using local stones and natural forms to incorporate them into the landscape. He also used the local stone to add subtle sculptures and other natural forms and symbols into these structures.


It is clear Gaudí– with his playful creativity, incorporation of symbol and meaning, unique sense of form and inspiration, and revolutionary architectural techniques–  is one of the great designers and architects of all time.

Posted by admin at 04:41:45 PM
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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Seeing Clearly, Lucite Chic

For a decade, we have seen the resurgence of Lucite in fashion and interiors. Developed in the 1920’s and trademarked by DuPont in 1936, Lucite was readily used in aircraft and submarines during WWII due to its light weight and shatter-resistant properties.
Simultaneously, Hollywood’s Golden Era, and the accompanying Hollywood Regency style, was peppered with Lucite furnishing as it added a new and glamorous element to the classics.
Lucite curved chairs | Design by Chahan Minassian
In the 1960’s Charles Hollis Jones pioneered the use of Lucite, according to the Smithsonian. Jones said “Lucite is rebellious” and used it in his iconic Mid-Century Modern pieces, some of which were custom designed for clients such as Tennessee Williams, Frank Sinatra and Diana Ross. Many of his pieces, including the Wisteria Chair and Edison Lamp, went on to be mass produced, which was a first for Lucite.
Of course, during the disco age Lucite was all the rage– especially in fashion! In the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s the use of Lucite expanded into a variety of practical uses such as bathtubs, spas, signage, illuminated billboards, and the like.
As for use in fashion and decor, Lucite laid low for a couple decades. The new appreciation of Mid-Century Modern Classics has brought Lucite back to center stage. The beauty of Lucite is in its ability to work with traditional pieces as well as modern and contemporary designs. It can be used to store items without adding weight to a space. It adds a whisper of sophistication to a room without overpowering other statement pieces. It can be the focus or simply neutral. We think Lucite is absolutely fabulous and hope it continues to be relevant in our homes and wardrobes for many years to come.
French vintage Lucite side table | JMF
Keep an eye out for our new arrivals next week. We will have a few new lucite pieces to consider for your home!
Posted by admin at 04:41:14 PM
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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Gaudí the Great: Part I

Antoni Gaudí is one of the most unique, approachable, and extraordinary architectural influencers of the late 19th century and early 20th century. He participated in the Catalan Modernista movement, but eventually transcended any defined style by creating one of his own—one of organic shapes, nature-inspired details, and groundbreaking techniques.

Antoni Gaudí | Daily Mail

Jean-Noël recently traveled to Barcelona and had the pleasure of experiencing Gaudí’s four main réalisations (achievements): Casa Milà, Casa Batlloó, Parc Güell, Sagrada Familia. This week we will take a look at the first two, Casa Milà and Batlló.

Gaudí was commissioned to design Casa Milà by Roser Segimon, a wealthy widow, and her second husband Pere Milà, to be their private residence. This modernist building is also known as La Pedrera, or “open quarry”, which is a reference to the rough-hewn and irregular exterior. Gaudí used ruled geometry and naturalistic elements to design the house as a constant curve, on both the inside and outside.

Casa Milà circa 1914 | Wikepedia

Casa Milà is especially noteworthy for its self-supporting stone facade, which uses curved iron beams to connect the facade to the internal structure of each floor. This allows internal walls to be built and torn down without impacting the stability of the building.

Also of note is the use of catenary arches. At the time, the catenary curve was a mechanical element that was used solely to build suspension bridges. Gaudí was the first to use this technique in an architectural context. These arches distribute the weight they carry evenly, therefore allowing Gaudí to create structures of considerable strength.



Casa Batlló is a remodel and redesign done by Gaudí in 1904. It is also known locally as Casa dels ossos, or “house of bones”, for its visceral and skeletal exterior. The famed arched roof has been likened to the spine of a dragon or dinosaur, which is said to be speared by the lance of Saint George (patron saint of Catalonia, Gaudí’s home), represented by the turret and cross to the left of the arch.

Casa Batlló | Barcelona Tourist Guide

The overall design of the building can broadly be attributed to Modernism or Art Nouveau, though in Gaudí’s typical fashion, it is largely a creation of his own unmistakable style and imagination. The facade has three distinct sections, most of which are covered with broken ceramic tiles in colorful mosaic designs. The ground floor is especially unique, with irregular oval windows and flowing stonework, the middle floor has curved skeletal balconies, while the top floor is the same level as the roof and contains some of the most intricate mosaics.

Casa Batlló | Wikipedia


Gaudí’s lack of linear design and incorporation of colorful ornamentation continues on the interior as well.

Gaudí’s work is very clearly his own, and we will look into more of his réalisations next week!

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Thursday, October 05, 2017

Hearth for the Holidays

With Thanksgiving and the entertaining season just around the corner, it is time to fill your home with pieces that bring warmth and ambience to the space. As the focal point to a room, the fireplace lights up as the weather outside grows cold. From modern style to an antique aesthetic, we have gathered some stunning hearth designs and paired them with a few of our favorite Jean-Marc Fray Antiques pieces. If you’re looking for design inspiration to draw attention to your fireplace and bring cheer to your living room for the holidays, look no further!

This modern fireplace makes a strong statement, contrasting the clean lines of the glass and metal with the natural elements outdoors. Our dynamic Stilnovo style chandelier would be the perfect addition, matching the modern materials while introducing eye-catching angles and light.

Modern Hearth, Dwell
Stilnovo Style Murano Glass and Brass Chandelier, Jean-Marc Fray Antiques

The bold architectural elements of this Art Deco space are warmed both by the fireplace, but also the curves of the lighting and furniture. These Venini style chandeliers bring a softness to the room that is mirrored in the arms of the chairs and the floor lamps. This would be a wonderful space to host a holiday event.

Art Deco Inspired Living Space, Frédéric Sicard
Venini Style Pair of Murano Glass Curve Chandeliers, Jean-Marc Fray Antiques
Italian Modernist Pair of Leather Armchairs, Jean-Marc Fray Antiques
Murano Glass Mirrored Floor Lamps, Jean-Marc Fray Antiques

No hearth is complete without an exquisite antique mirror! This Louis XVI style trumeau adds depth and history, as well as brightening and elongating the room. The carved details of this fireplace are matched by the mirrors, but it would look just as wonderful juxtaposed against a more austere and simple mantel as well. This style is typical of Parisian apartments with luxurious living spaces at the end of the 19th century.

Antique Fireplace with Louis XVI Trumeau, Dust Jacket Attic
19th Century Louis XVI Style Trumeau, Jean-Marc Fray Antiques

The stark white walls and fireplace bring attention to the vintage rugs and accessories. We love the concept of adding Murano glass to provide texture and shimmer while keeping the monochromatic aesthetic. These accessories always make an impactful addition to a space, whether entertaining or year round.

White Minimalist Fireplace, Architectural Digest
Murano Gold-Flecked Opalina Glass Urn Lamps, Jean-Marc Fray Antiques
Murano Glass “Girasole” Prismatic Vases, Jean-Marc Fray Antiques
Sergio Costantini Murano Incamiciato Glass Vases, Jean-Marc Fray Antiques

Nothing says comfort like a sofa near a fireplace. This bright red Chesterfield is inviting and cozy, while still maintaining a sharp style. As a mid-century piece, it can be paired with antiques or modern details.

Living Space with Chesterfield, Eye-Swoon
English Red Vintage Chesterfield Sofa, Jean-Marc Fray Antiques

Add to the ambience of your fireplace or your home for the holidays and visit our new arrivals page. We would be happy to help you find the perfect piece and will work with you to ensure it arrives before your next dinner party or holiday soirée!

Posted by admin at 04:40:15 PM
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