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INSPIRATION | March 28, 2023 | By Saxon Henry
Today we’re having a little fun by featuring a number of our most whimsical furnishings that help bring a sunny disposition to a space. These include our Minerva Medium Owl, shown in the vignette above that has a sophisticated vibe thanks to the lovely Thibaut wallpaper. We have several offerings in this category in our winter introductions that debuted in January. The word whimsical, and the derivations whim and whimsy, originated in the early 16th century as whim-wham, which was coined to represent an ornamental object or trinket.
Two Sarto Glass Vases are shown here with the Jackfruit Blue Oval Bowl, each piece among the whimsical furnishings in our product lineup.
Merriam-Webster explains that whim-wham, with its fun sound, would also eventually refer to a fantastic notion or odd fancy. “The word’s origin isn’t clear, but it’s worth noting that the similar-sounding flimflam had, in its earliest use, a similar meaning referring to an odd or nonsensical idea or tale,” editors say. “Whim naturally came about as a shortened form of whim-wham, and whimsy and whimsical eventually followed. Whimsical now describes more than just decisions made impulsively, but things resulting from an unrestrained imagination.” We couldn’t have come up with a better description for the artisans and designers who dream up our products, as you can see from the whimsical furnishings below!
The Minerva Medium and Large Owls were inspired by a sculpture from the 1950s. Made of terracotta by the women at the border of Burma and Thailand who create so many unique accessories and lamp bodies, the milky white sculpture is the epitome of personality. The expressive surface is hard-won, as all of the feathers are hand-applied on the hand-thrown body.
Handmade from brass to look like found objects unearthed in an exotic bazaar, the Cici Brass Fish Set includes one tall and one short fish in antique brass finishes. The artful creations extend from white marble bases that contrast the warmth of the brass fish sculptures.
Made of terracotta with vibrant glazed motifs on the matte surface, the Hamsa Demijohn Vase is a colorful riff on the ancient Middle Eastern amulet symbolizing protection and happiness. Bringing the token into the modern day, the colorful contemporary rendering will draw attention in any space. The multicolored decorative jug will be a definite conversation-starter, as it was inspired by Picasso and celebrates Mediterranean culture during the 1940s. It is shown here with the Amphora Large and Medium vases.
Inspired by a previous whimsical design that has been extremely popular, the Abu Gold Planter with its seated ape, molded in cast aluminum, lifts a plant-worthy vessel with little effort. The antique gold finish that covers the piece makes the gold planter read as if it has aged. The texture that is inherent in metal poured into molds in a foundry is evident on this piece, which brings it a vintage flair. It is best to use a liner with the solid metal planter when a planter has a drain hole.
The lovely profile of the Snowy Owl Table Lamp was sculpted by the artist who conceives many of our most personable products. To make the white table lamp an heirloom that will last for the ages, we created a mold and achieved the design in composite. The wise bird with its piercing stare perches atop a natural wood base that echoes the tones in the grasscloth shade, a cohesion that Tom Caldwell achieves so brilliantly in his designs.
Tom Caldwell designed the Sweetbriar Chandelier, which is one of our new winter introductions. His inspiration was a Griffon Begonia in his wife’s garden. The leafy plant that doesn’t blossom is captured so beautifully in steel finished in crisp gesso white and painted gesso white. The white chandelier is small-scaled enough to be perfect for powder rooms and for hanging above breakfast room tables.
When a fantastical decorative element is desired, the King Louis Table Lamp is a perfect choice—the pert mammal is among our winter offerings. The modern terracotta sculpture of a pensive monkey is topped with a natural rattan shade, the composition warm and inviting. A clever design detail is how the finial is shaped like the tip of the monkey’s tail.
The Saras Bird Set includes two contemporary bird sculptures made of solid alabaster, which makes them luminous accent pieces. The white, black, and brown veining will differ from sculpture to sculpture because these decorative objects are made of a natural material, each one handcarved with smoothed surfaces.
The Rialto Magenta Glass Fish Set includes large and small glass sculptures created in the Venetian tradition of glassblowing. The pink fish sculptures require special tools to twist certain aspects of the pieces when the glass is beginning to thicken, such as the tails and the lips. The fins are added by hand, a precise effort that takes great skill and experience in order to know when the glass is the perfect temperature so that they will adhere rather than melt. Each piece will have slight variations, which makes these pink decorative accessories unique.
The Medium and Large Hoot Owls were created by Thai artist Arjan Deng, who is known for his one-of-a-kind ceramic statues of emotionally evocative characters. These are his interpretations of the wise animal, made of terracotta that is splattered with a reactive glaze to bring the sculptures a sizable dose of texture and character.
Proving even furniture can be whimsical is this grouping of occasional tables that includes the Coral Accent Table and the Serpent Accent Table, shown here with the Freya Accent Table with its chic marble top and the Gallo Bronze Accent Table with its pebbly forged surface—each of these new in the fall of 2022. We look forward to seeing how our valued customers infuse their homes and projects with whimsy as they source our most amusing products!