12 November 2018

Designing an Art Deco Inspired Apartment

Tucked Under
A period carpet captures our attention and becomes the starting point for a project in downtown Manhattan.

“Start with the rug,” is something we talk about today as a first step in designing a room, but in fact, dating back to the Art Deco period and before, decorators would design carpets as the main focal point of their interiors. Beginning in the 1930’s, a more functional, minimalist approach to interior design became popular, very much evidenced in the carpets produced at the time. Historian Susan Day notes that at the 1937 International Exhibition Society des Artistes-Decorateurs, many of the exhibited carpets had evolved from once densely patterned designs towards a minimalist grouping of motifs often reduced to the simplest form — a few undulating lines, repeating circles, cross-hatching or sprig-like-motifs arranged on plain or neutral grounds. When we took on the interior design of an apartment in an Art Deco building earlier this year, this concept of selecting a true statement carpet rang true. In an effort to speak to the architecture of the building (as well as the stylistic leanings of our client), we worked with Doris Leslie Blau to modify and recolor a 1935 carpet attributed to Maurice Dufrene. An example of the more minimalist, modern carpets of the time, it has been a wonderful foundation to work with, especially as we collect some beautiful vintage pieces to layer on top of it.


No longer simply a discreet complement to an interior, Art Deco carpets became the focal point of the room.

Our furniture plan was driven by the swirling branches of the carpet.

Following the carpet, we began to curate a collection of furniture pieces in keeping with the Art Deco period of design. Our search quickly honed in on the work of Carl Malmsten, a seminal figure in the development of Swedish design in the 20th century. His traditional furniture forms were known to incorporate classical themes, and could be found in simpler, more contemporary interiors during his lifetime. As the project progressed, our client continued to be inspired by Malmsten’s furniture pieces, purchasing a round side table with a classical Greek key detail on the apron as well as a pair of “Jonas Love” chairs. Added to the mix are some contemporary pieces like a steel waterfall table and a Maison Jansen glass and brass coffee table. Below, scroll to see the full collection.



Modern Classicism table by Carl Malmsten.
A Greek key detail on the apron.
Art Deco Modern Classicism Armchair.
Steel and Brass Coffee Table attributed to Maison Jansen. 
Swedish Side Table, circa 1940, top veneered with burl maple.
A contemporary steel waterfall table.
Pair of "Jonas Love" chairs by Carl Malmsten.

These beautiful pieces, combined with custom upholstered pieces, window treatments, lighting and some fabulous decorative finishes will be installed soon. We’re looking forward to sharing this apartment with you!

— Lauren & Suzanne
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