Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The lowdown on the Louis

As you readers would have noticed by now...us here at Romantiques love turning the traditional and historic elements of furniture on its head and throwing it into the 21st century with a bit of innovation and added pizazz.

It doesn't matter the era, or the type, as long as it's furniture, we can do something with it. And this post? It's all about that wonderful piece called the Louis chair. We not only love it for its beautiful shape classic of French style furniture, or its history, but for the endless possibilities it presents us. Whenever we acquire a new Louis of our very own its always a debate as to which direction we'll take to achieve that finished product. Should we go down the traditional path with a beautiful painted finish and soft coloured upholstery? Should we gold or silver leaf the entire frame...yes and...should we match a jet black finish with a twist on the upholstery- an image of the queen of burlesque...Dita Von Teese. An utterly appropriate marriage for such a scandalously stylish chair, don't you think?

But in order for us to come to that decision, we had to consider that Louis chair's history. Was there anything out there to help us create the unique, yet distinctive feel the Louis chair exudes in unprecedented amounts? There was.

Where to begin? The style. It was the fashion in France at the time to name the furniture styles after the reigning monarch. For centuries, fashions came from the top, to the bottom, filtered down through the masses. Each new king had his own style that differentiated his reign from the others. And there was one that we were particularly concerned about- the Louis XV chair in the Rococo style. That's the one that most similarly represented our project, with its distinctive curved cabriole legs. But how did it come to be this way? Through an evolution in chair design, from the late Renaissance styles of Louis XIII to the Baroque style chair of Louis XIV, the Sun King. The same creative mastermind behind the redecoration of the French palace of Versailles. Our chair's wide seat and back were a result of a breakthrough in chair construction, with the back becoming higher and the seat becoming larger to accommodate the more ample space required by the fashions of the day (or a more ample backside, you choose!). The arms and legs of the chair were also usually heavily carved. Grand designs for grand spaces, we think.

This research led us down another path...inspired by the innovations behind the changing styles and designs of the Louis chair throughout history...we came to our conclusion. We would do exactly the same thing. Create our own design...continue the process of evolution, just with the same beautiful Rococo style frame revamped, and a change of upholstery, printed with the image of our favourite icon. Thus, the idea for our chair was born. Whew!

But bear in mind, readers, that this evolution can continue with your own ideas. If you have your own beautiful chair, it doesn't even have to be Louis...we can do the same thing, and revamp it with an image of your choice. Your beloved pet, that hunky actor you have a thing for, or your wedding vows...immortalised on your chair's upholstery. Who would have thought?








upholstery by John Camilleri