Cookies Policy

By using the BRIDGE FOR DESIGN website you agree to our use of cookies as described in our cookie policy. Click here to view cookie policy

Date published: July 07 2018

Click here to visit Baskervill Website >>

The counterbalance between old and new makes the antiques so powerful

Today’s interiors are about story-telling and no element adds more to the story than a beautifully crafted antique object. There is magic in the mix of ancient and modern that creates a dynamic visual tension. As Alexa Hampton shared with me, ‘If the architectural backdrop is modern and contemporary, pieces with age and patina will serve as the perfect foil to the stark  modernity of their surroundings.’ It is the counterbalance that makes the use of antiques so powerful in the hands of a skilled designer. It is invariably this mix that creates the timeless quality that our clients want in their interiors.

Another valued colleague, Mary Douglas Drysdale, said to me, ‘I have always favoured rooms with mixes… antiques, transitional pieces, modern art and unexpected finds. This classic modern mix, says more to me about the complexity of taste and times, than a room that is perfectly balanced and of one moment in time.’

Similarly, Toma Clark Haines, CEO of The Antiques Diva & Co., the world’s largest antiques touring company, agrees. She explains, ‘It’s all about the mix. Different periods and different styles, different echelons and origins are what makes a room exciting. People today want their rooms to reflect their globally chic lives - Global influence - Southeast Asian textiles next to
Swedish Rococo Chairs, and French Louis XVI gilt consoles paired with a vintage African juju hat.

Another magic aspect of antiques is provenance. A single antique element can shift and enrich the character of a space. It brings with it the craftsmanship of another time, in some cases craftsmanship and materials that can’t be duplicated in our own time. Exquisitely carved ivory and tortoiseshell objects are but two examples.

There is the intrigue of another culture that has the capacity to transcend the ordinary, much as a film can captivate and create an alternate perspective. A Moroccan inlay chest, an ornately carved Venetian Commode, or an English Tudor chest all serve the same purpose but their cultural content is distinctive and the experience they elicit, equally unique.

Perhaps more profound, some artifacts possess the cache of having been owned by a person of distinction. Recall the red hot auctions of the collections of celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe, or of an eccentric collector such as Doris Duke or better still the coveted collections of Jacqueline Kennedy or The Duchess of Devonshire.

Years ago, I had a chance to purchase a rosewood étagère from the collection of Nancy Lancaster and have regretted not making the purchase for decades. Sharing an object with a person we have admired connects us in a very particular way over many years.

It is hard to overstate the intrinsic spirit that antiques have the capacity to evoke, meaning that goes beyond just the tangential sphere. From my perspective, antiques are as close to magic as we get with our material world. They represent our connection to the past and our desire to live a unique life filled with personal meaning. Hopefully they evolve into treasured family heirlooms. When you travel add antiques shopping to your itinerary and you’ll discover a treasure trove of remarkable design and objects that will enrich your life forever!

Author: Gary Inman

Company: Baskervill

and get ten issues for the price of eight