Two of my favorite interior design elements are the "anti-decor" elements of French design and the warmth and subtle experimentation of midcentury modern design. Let's take a look at a few examples of both of these styles.
""The whole idea is anti-decor. To make it look like the owner did it himself — to make it look natural. Which is, of course, very French." - Jean-Louis Deniot
Anti-decor is a stylistic approach that you will find in the most tres chic of Parisian apartments. The idea is to embrace a hybrid of tradition and personality, which in turn creates a natural, though thoughtfully curated, aesthetic.
Notice in the above photograph that the arrangement appears to be not so much as designed as it is "collected". In anti-decor, the elements should combine in such a way that those who visit the room feel the owner placed the elements him/herself. It is also a sale that can be tastefully emulated.
"The architectural style is known for its use of expanses of glass, flat planes, and a strong connection to nature." - Sara Tardiff, Architectural Digest
What I most love about midcentury design is the combination of the Japanese minimalist and naturalistic tendencies and the stylistic statement pieces that are allowed to speak for themselves due to sparse surroundings.
My favorite midcentury home, Schaffer House, was designed by architect John Lautner. You might have fallen in love with Schaffer House while watching the Tom Ford masterpiece A Single Man.
There is an interactive openness that accompanies the greatest midcentury homes. Schaffer House, which is relatively small with 2 bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms, showcases the benefit of glass walls. The home appears infinitely spacious as the design opens itself up to nature.
Do you see a common thread between "anti-decor" and midcentury design? I believe that both concepts embrace personality. There is a certain juxtaposition of curating for the purpose of appearing "effortless". There is also a noticeable victory.
Not only does Warby Parker boast the most stylish, innovative design in spectacles and sunglasses, but their "Buy a Pair, Give a Pair" social mission has provided over 3-million pairs of glasses to people in need.
With an eclectic range of styles inspired by mid-century and 90s heartthrobs, at Warby Parker, there really is something for everyone.
Daiso is a Japanese dollar store concept, full of treats, trinkets, and joy.
When I step into Daiso, I feel like Dorothy crossing over from her mundane Kansas farmhouse to the colorful world of Oz.
When you think of a "dollar store" the mind can often drift off to the nightmare of a disorganized, crowded-aisled discount store. That is definitely not the Diaso way. Constantly clean and full of Japanese imports that you didn't know you needed. I've purchased hand-painted teacups, tiny Japanese Neko cat figurines for my desk and doorstep, and several of the world's finest notebooks in shades of 70s orange and mustard yellow.
Shakespeare and Company
There is only one greatest bookstore in the world and it resides at 37 rue de la Bûcherie 75005 Paris, France.
Shakespeare and Company perhaps the most famous bookstores in the world and is celebrated for its literary pedigree and tireless dedication to writers and artists of all walks of life.
Shakespeare and Company special because it is not only a store, but a home. Writers without a roof are often invited to sleep in the store. They then join the ranks of "Tumbleweeds" who have called the bookstore home. Previous hangers-on at Shakespeare and Company include Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Joyce. And later, Sebastian Barry, Ethan Hawke, and Geoffrey Rush.
Owen Wilson in Midnight in Paris.
You'll spot the store in many films. My favorites are Midnight in Paris and Before Sunset. If you find yourself in Paris, find Notre Dame, and cross over to the Left Bank and into a literary mecca.
Nick Bridwell is a novelist (The Ties That Bind, 2014) and journalist living in Plano, TX. To see more of his work, visit his profile at www.nickbridwellwriter.com.
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