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Object of Desire // Antique tapestries

06 Oct 2018 by In Object Design

I’ve always been mostly a traditionalist. Perhaps it’s my father’s ancient English roots or perhaps my mother’s lineage of fine dressmaking. I think it is actually the combination of this history paired with the circumstances of my own life that have formed my affiliation with the traditional. In Australia life is easy, being outside is a huge part of any childhood, and the architecture is, frankly, for the most part basic.

Perhaps if I grew up in the ornately decorated, centuries old Sussex farmhouse that my father did I’d be as tired of tradition as he… No, I’m sure not! But life in Australia isn’t traditional and I long for the rich history of tradition, the warmth and comfort of truly cosy spaces, and the beauty of design and detail that has developed over the course of hundreds and hundreds of years with many talented mingling hands adding their bit.

Antique Tapestries

Over the past 18 months I’ve found myself noticing tapestries in my travels. I can envisage them working well in so many varied spaces. The lovely thing about them is that they not only decorate a room just as art might do, but they also add warmth and texture, and in this way soften a space – not just aesthetically but also acoustically (nothing worse than a big echo-y room!). I particularly like antique French and Belgian examples that tend to be of blue and rich cream colourways and would sit perfectly in either contemporary or classic spaces.

Sometimes I do feel that people miss out on the benefits of traditionalism because they’re overwhelmed with the intensity of a space that is purely traditionalist. I find that for the most part an amazing piece can work wonders all by itself in even the most simple of spaces. In fact, it’s in these spaces that an individual collected can really item sing.

I think an overarching attitude of ‘all-or-nothing’ is the reason that it’s not easy to find precedents of these beautiful pieces in pared back or more contemporary spaces, but the last image is a good example and shows how versatile a tapestry can be if you open your mind up to the possibilities of a creative design approach (that needn’t follow any set rules).

Designer Waldo Fernandez created the home of the head of Mansour carpets, Ben Soleimani.

This amazing tapestry showing a lively jungle scene is in the home of  Ben Soleimani who is the head of Mansour Carpets. The space was designed by Waldo Fernandez. Image sourced from Architectural Digest.


Atelier AM

Atelier AM designed this space and many of its furnishings. The antique French tapestry is luxuriously draped over the coffee table and beautifully grounds the various colours in the space. Image sourced from Architectural Digest.

Julia Boston antiques

Julia Boston Antiques of London has a stunning collection of antiques and this tapestry sits as a lovely backdrop to this landing space. Image sourced from Julia Boston Antiques.

David Easton

The antique Flemish tapestry brings depth and colour to this wonderful neutral entry hall. David Easton renovated the enormous and stunning Florida mansion. Image sourced from Architectural Digest.

Paolo Maschino

This sumptuous bedroom is that of the talented design duo behind Nicholas Haslam, Paolo Maschino and Philip Vergeylen. Image sourced from Architectural Digest.

Brooke and Steve Giannetti

This supremely alluring space is part of Brooke and Steve Giannetti’s home outside of Los Angeles. This example of a tapestry is in fact part painted and part woven, which perhaps means that it was the original piece (from which other handmade versions of the tapestry were made..). Image from One King’s Lane.


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The Author:

Our principle designer Poppy is a Masters of Architecture graduate from the University of Newcastle, Australia. She graduated in 2013 with First Class Honours, received the Dean's Medal and was awarded the Australian Institute of Architects NSW Chapter Masters of Architecture Graduate of the Year prize. In 2010, Poppy received the Eric Parker Travelling Scholarship encouraging the research and drawing of architecture.

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