Orientalist and Chinoiserie lights by Venetia Studium

marble house exterior European Orientalism, as it developed in the mid to late eighteenth century, was an exhilarating hotch-potch of Japanese, Chinese, Indian and north African motifs. But maybe what makes it so attractive to us today is the underlying delicacy, playfulness and lightness of touch -- shared with other contemporary, and closely related, Rococo and Gothick structures and detailing.

Though there are famous Oriental buildings and interiors in the grand houses throughout Europe -- the Chinese tea house at Sans Souci, for example -- the main enthusiasm for this style was in England. But the other great European centre for Orientalism is Venice. This is not surprising, given that its wealth was based on trade between east and west. The influence of the east on Venetian architecture is covered in Deborah Howard's excellent  Venice and the East.

It is fitting therefore that the best source of Orientalist lights and interior accessories is based in Venice -- Venetia Studium. The company was formed in order to create to the very highest standards authentic re-editions of the designs of Fortuny who, though Spanish/French, lived in Venice at the end of the nineteenth century because he was allergic to horses (another FLN factoid...!). It is a collection of Fortuny's Concubine, made from wood and silk (hand-painted in Venice)  that decorate  this pavilion (Nan McEvoy's Marble House in Marin, Calif.):

Marble2 House Venetia StudiumHere is Loto from the collection:

Loto Concubina silk pendant light from Venetia StudiumYou can see that it is beautiful. But it is even more impressive, luxurious, indulgent, a little wicked, when you experience the details: a tassel...

Venetia Studium Concubina tassel ...a corner:

Venetia Studium Concubina silk pendant light corner

There are six Concubine designs in all. Here is Tempio:

Venetia Studium Tempio Concubina Fortuny silk pendant light

They have a new relevance today as more and more designers are working on projects in the middle east. Many of the finest interiors in the region would have been hung with sensuous hangings and other fittings that were portable, the main structure often being a tent. So it is very exciting that Venetia Studium do not only make lights but also exquisite cushions and hangings. There are door curtains...

Silk embroidered Door Curtain Venetia Studium


Embroidered Silk cushion from  Venetia Studium

...and wall hangings...

embroidered silk walll hanging from Venetia Studium

...for which even the bars from which they hang are gorgeous...

shinto bar for wall hanging detail Venetia Studium

All these components can be combined for a complete interior:

Venetia Studium Fortuny Concubine inteior

Here's another look at the Concubine in the pavilion:

marble house Venetia Studium chinoiserie

And maybe there will soon be Chinese clients who would like a European chinoiserie room. In which case, you'll want to read Dawn Jacobson's Chinoiserie.

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