Notes of Revisionism
Voltere Agees -- Interior Design, 9/1/2001 12:00:00 AM
The summer has come to a simmer, or so it seems in our familiar quarters.
I see lots of paling complexions, but what is worse, my carefully crafted snarling visage banally blends among the commoners' long faces. Is this the unpleasant cosmetic outcome of a premature beach withdrawal, or the early signs of a financial glacial winter? Some excitable souls are going plain catastrophic, interpreting the September pallor as no less than the cruel departure of the golden age of lavish commissions and an abrupt stop to the harmonies of the design heavens. Granted, the economy looked bushed the last time I bothered to check, but my perfunctory morning inspection confirms the sky is still safely set in its Galilean ethereal equilibrium.
I have been gleefully cheering lately for a change in scenery. It is about time geniality surfaced pristinely unpolluted by the Newsy, Noisy, Glitzy, and Ephemeral. These four equestrians have proved themselves to be not such apocalyptic forces of change and innovation in interior design, but they certainly have been adept at editorial rustling and spotlight hogging. They also proved pleasant dining companions at the bountiful table-of-the-industry bull market, and we have raised many bubbly cups celebrating our good fortune. Recently, however, I had the dubious privilege to observe these snotty gate-keepers, fallingdown drunk braying about the "unpolished" masses soberly toiling in Chicago. I did not realize I had crashed a goodbye party, and by the time I turned around I was alone. These consummate interlopers had already left our divine Garden. Good riddance!
Speaking of gardens, only yesterday I was taken by surprise when a friend in the trade flatly stated her glib satisfaction with the products of lifestyles "unfettered" by our past.
After momentarily recoiling, I mused that she was perhaps affected by that widespread "unbearable lightness of being" that attacks even the keenest wags. Although not serious in our demimonde, its pathology seems to keep alive that ubiquitous notion that contemporary interior design grows like a happy pumpkin only among artsy turnips and literary broccoli in the metaphysical glamour patch between the Manhattan rivers.
Design is multifaceted, and, when original, it emerges as a joie de vivre transcending even my poised detachment. In effect, we rejoin our senses. What should heal the afflicted is the power of love: design is the ultimate "up close and personal" affair. If that did not work on my recalcitrant friend, the following will: design is the sum of the designer's unique ethos—with our very real present and, most importantly, with our past.
The latter has the impish habit of being un-unfettering.