‘Stick to the things you really love. An honest room is always up to date.’
Billy Baldwin is one of the worlds most celebrated designers. He had a completely American outlook in his aesthetic and created crisp, elegant interiors which above all were simple and practical. He favoured the clean-cut, hard edged and pared down aesthetic rather than the elaborate florid, baroque and Rococo. His work was considered ‘snappy’ with every detail tailored, starched and polished – yet at the same time uncontrived.
His rooms sparkles with freshness and a sense of ease, albeit trying to never re-create the same rooms again. He detested what he referred to as ‘the sterility of perfection’ and said that if you could recognise a Billy Baldwin room, then it wasn’t done by him.
He was a master at matters of scale, proportion and juxtaposition of furniture, however his primary interest was colour. He was star-struck by Matisse’s incredible palette and continuously illustrated splashes of blues, pinks and greens through his use of paint and patterns. He embraced colour and was very specific about what particular shade and gradation for saturation i.e. blue ran from gamut from sky to the rich hues of a Matisse masterpiece.
He generally preferred cottons over silks, and was very playful with his use of pattern. This often resulted in pattern on pattern on pattern. He also was not afraid to use new materials, including plastics and even tortoise shell vinyl as a wall covering. He embraced natural materials, like wicker and bamboo which he considered to be important components that ground his rooms when juxtaposed with his patterns, simple drapes and modern art.
When decorating, he always believed in using some of the client’s own furniture that they already possessed, to retain the client’s personality within the space. He believed in the importance of ‘personal manifestation’ to enhance the full atmosphere and mood of the room to come to the surface. ‘Nothing is interesting unless it is personal’
Areas of Inspiration: importance of gradation of colour saturation, sense of ease, incorporating client’s personality in the space.