‘We may talk of the weather, but we are looking at the furniture’ Elsie de Wolfe
For most if not all designers, Elsie de Wolfe plays an influential role in their design approach. She is revered as America’s first designer, if not going further to say she invented the profession. Almost singlehandedly she vanquished Victorian gloom and clutter and replaced it with an aesthetic of light, air and comfort, illustrating optimism within a space.
She defied dark furniture and over-polished mahogany of the time and opted for the soft browns of oak. Heavy drapery was replaced by softer, brighter fabrics allowing a subtle blend of colours, airiness and charm to be illustrated.
Through her casual feminine style she had discovered a new sense of how a house should function, focusing on comfort, practicality and tradition. Furniture was placed to encourage conversation rather than randomly placed. She designed with practicality and life-style in mind. For example, in the dressing room, an abundance of mirrors and electric lights is essential: “Know the worst before you go out!”
She took the view that form follows function. ‘If an object fulfils its mission, the chances are that it is beautiful’. Every piece of furniture had a purpose as well as beauty.
Her pioneering anti-Victorian style of brighter, refined and more streamlined rooms created a timeless ‘freshness’ that is still celebrated today. She used the home as a medium of self expression as well as enhancing a refined and comfortable living environment.
She was the ultimate ‘life-style artist’
Areas of Inspiration: Freshness, functionality and Airiness.