Sunday, October 23, 2016

ODD BITS: "Sophisticated, provocative and poetic": Deep amethyst wins out as Benjamin Moore's 2017 color of the year

Here in the corporate suites of Mad for Mod, we are
always on the lookout for the most au courant color trends in interior and 
fashion design (especially when our main office needs a new paint job.)
 On line for a big rollout in 2017 is
Benjamin Moore's recently selected Color of the Year. 

Shadow is seen here in a grand entryway, demonstrating that entrances 
don't always have to be light and airy. Sometimes a dramatic hue is 
the most effective way to give a sophisticated tone to one's home. 

“Elusive and enigmatic, Shadow is a master of ambiance. It is a color that calls to mind a past, yet it can also make a contemporary, color-confident statement,” 
Ellen O’Neill, Benjamin Moore’s creative director, asserts.
The hue is part of a bolder “Color Trends” palette that Benjamin Moore says 
reflects consumers’ newfound level of confidence in using 
deeper, saturated colors. The "confident palette" includes colors with 
names like Jade Dragon, Hot and Spicy, Midnight Show and Lemon Burst.
Bathrooms can be a great place to experiment with dark colors,
as long as there is ample interior lighting.

“Dark colors visually advance a space and sometimes, can make it feel cozier,” 
says design consultant Sam Jerrigan. “It’s sort of like a snuggling-up-
with-an-afghan-on-a-sofa feeling. This deeply saturated shade holds a 
bit of mystery, suggesting a room with a past but at the 
same time a contemporary statement."

A note on amethyst:

Purple amethyst has been highly esteemed throughout the ages for its striking  beauty 
and purported powers to soothe the mind and emotions. In ancient times, 
used in decorative arts by both the Hebrews and the Egyptians, 
it was called  a “Gem of Fire,” and was considered a precious stone, 
worth as much as a diamond. Today, it is considered to be a stone of 
spirituality, healing, and contentment.


Sunday, October 16, 2016

EXHIBITIONS: Rolling Sculpture: Art Deco Cars from the 1930s and ’40s gleam at the North Carolina Museum of Art

An astonishingly elegant and futuristic exhibition of Art Deco cars 
was recently rolled out at the North Carolina Museum of Art in
Raleigh. These vehicles epitomize the Art Deco style during its golden age,
with its streamlined essence, audacious decorative elements, sweeping 
curves and modern industrial look.

Can you believe this car was designed in1938?

And this one too (right):
Talbot-Lago_T-150C-SS  Teardrop, 1938

Cars in the 1930s became substantially more luxurious than their 1920s
counterparts. Their design became more sleek and rounded, and also
incorporated radios and heaters.

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 A digression: I must confess that Art Deco is my favorite decorative art style.
It conjures up images of glamorous women in beaded dresses and sparkling 
headgear, accompanied by -- let's say -- a tuxedoed Cary Grant, conversing
wittily whilst sipping champagne from crystal glasses. 

 Above: Flapper detective Phryne Fisher simply refused to
be left out of this posting.

°     °     °     °     °      °     °     °
Meanwhile, back at the cars ...

Bugatti Type 57S Aerolithe

          Peugeot 402 Darl’mat Coupe, 1936

A number of workshops and curators' talks will be offered over the exhibition's run, including

• A Studio Class: “Alabaster Art Deco Style”
   Saturday, October 22, 2016 | 10 am

"Inspired by the flowing art deco designs and hood ornaments of Rolling Sculpture, award-winning sculptor Paris Alexander will help participants design, carve, and polish a lasting work of art in alabaster (a soft, translucent stone)."

 Xwide Peugeot,402 Coupe,1936

Art +Cuisine: Sculpted in Steel
Wednesday, October 26, 2016 | 6 :30 pm

Guest curator Ken Gross will guide guests through the Rolling Sculpture exhibition, revealing information on their classic design and construction, which combined simplicity and functionality with extravagance. This event features cocktails, a tour of the exhibition, and a three-course dinner. Advance registration is required. $125 members, $150 Nonmembers

Delahaye 135MS Figoni Roadster, 1937

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Above: Auto enthusiast F. Scott Fitzgerald with wife Zelda and daughter Scottie, 1923, in the "sports coupé" the author purchased a few years earlier after selling his first novel, This Side of Paradise. Fitzgerald wrote prolifically of America’s dreams and enduring love affair with the automobile. His first car was a bit of a clunker, though, compared to the Art Deco beauties above; and his last was a second-hand 1937 Ford convertible.

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Rolling Sculpture will be on exhibit through January 15, 2017

For more on the Art Deco style itself, you can link
here for a short video.


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

ODD BITS: Britain's Royal Mail releases stylish, puzzle-filled Agatha Christie commemoratives

In honor of the 100th anniversary of Agatha Christie's first book release --
the Mysterious Affair at Styles, which introduced the redoubtable Belgian detective 
Hercule Poirot -- the British Royal Mail has published a 6-stamp set 
of fiendishly chic Art Deco stamps. Each contains a hidden clue 
as to the identity of the murderer, along with a "red herring" to mislead the viewer.

This design is so clever, I almost can't stand it!

The Mysterious Affair at Styles was written in the middle of the First World War, in 1916, and released in 1920. It was Christie's first published novel, introducing the recurring 
characters Hercule Poirot, Chief Inspector Japp, and loyal sidekick Arthur Hastings. 
Poirot is a Belgian refugee settling in England near the home of Emily Inglethorp, a good friend who is helping him to begin his new life. Alas, she is killed, 
and Poirot uses his incisive detective skills to solve the mystery.
Below: Ms. Christie at her writing desk, surveying a few of her titles
When will they topple?

Agatha Christie was the best-selling novelist of all time. Her entire output consists of 72 novels and countless short story collections, as well as poetry, memoirs, children’s stories and plays. Her books have been translated into 103 languages, and to date 
more than two billion (yes, that's a "b") copies of them have been sold.

“With her astonishing number of book sales worldwide, crime writer and playwright 
Agatha Christie has been outsold only by Shakespeare and the Bible,” said a 
spokesman for the Royal Mail. “So it’s fitting that we mark not just the centenary of her writing her first crime novel, but also the 40th anniversary of her death with 
a stamp issue that’s full of intrigue.”

In And Then There Were None, a curious assortment of 10 strangers are summoned as weekend guests to a creepy private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, 
an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. What all
the guests have in common are checkered pasts and secrets that will seal their fate
 each has been marked for murder. One by one they fall. Before the weekend is out, 
there will be no one left. Only the dead are above suspicion.

Murder on the Orient Express (1934) is perhaps the best-known and loved of all Agatha Christie's novels. It has been made into a film and television show several times (1974, 2001, 2010, 2015) each with an illustrious actor playing detective Hercule Poirot: Albert Finney, Peter Ustinov, and Alfred Molina among them. For me, actor David Suchet was the greatest of them all, capturing Poirot's fastidiousness and wry wit brilliantly.

 David Suchet in his signature role

A 2017 film release of Murder on the Orient Express is reputed to be in the works.
It will star Kenneth Branagh, with Dame Judi Dench, Sir Derek Jacobi,
Johnny Depp and Michelle Pfeiffer in supporting roles.

 A Murder is Announced (1950) introduces Miss Marple,
a tea-sipping, down-to-earth and kindhearted crime solver. 
At the beginning of the book, a perplexing notice appears in the morning paper 
of a perfectly ordinary (and perfectly named) small English village, Chipping Cleghorn: 
"A murder is announced and will take place on Friday, October 29th, 
at Little Paddocks, at 6:30 p.m." Mayhem and paranoia ensue.
... in which the body of a dishy young platinum blonde woman (some may say "tart") unknown to the household is found in the library at Gossington Hall, the residence of  
quiet retired Colonel Arthur Bantry and his wife Dolly. She was strangled. 
Arthur calls the police, and Dolly calls her old friend, Miss Marple to solve the crime.
I'm with her!

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A note about the stamps:
According to The Guardian newspaper, each design includes microtext, UV ink and 
thermochromic ink. "The concealed clues can be revealed using either a magnifying 
glass, UV light or body heat, and provide pointers to the mysteries’ solutions."

For more information, link here

Au revoir, mon ami