Cindy Allen -- Interior Design, 8/1/2005 12:00:00 AM
A triumph of the Paleolithic period, Lascaux shines undimmed by the passing of millennia. (If you were still allowed to visit and point a flashlight, that is.) The cave walls are uneven, and the pattern of black strokes on red ground is pretty much "primitive bison," but we like to think of Lascaux as the world's first interior-design commission, too. The job seems to have been entrusted to a very professional group of shamans engaged in power-thinking a series of bring-home-the-bacon hunting expeditions.
Lascaux may be 15,000 years behind us now, but it sure came rushing back to mind when we received a tantalizing submission from Copenhagen. There, on the (smooth) walls of an ordinary hotel, 21 latter-day shamans had worked their magic with psychedelic swirls, storybook forests, and, yes, miniature mounted antlers. Because the transformation was commissioned by Volkswagen to rev up publicity for the Fox two-door, the rechristened Hotel Fox represents the ultimate bring-home-the-bacon quest for these artists and their designer collaborators—besides being unabashedly unique and truly inspiring.
If you're hunting for more Art with a capital letter, you might not look right in the middle of our own country. Look again. With a house for collector friends near Oklahoma City, a local architect brings the Mies pavilion home, while Minnesota's Rochester Art Center is more of a cubist composition. In California, artist Andrea Zittel lives the Arte Povera life, a painter and playwright make a statement in steel, and a college chapel finds spirituality in stone and glass, water and light.
Our cover story, an antebellum house in the nation's capital, was once famed as the home of the Hope diamond. Now—transformed by architect Salo Levinas and designer Jeffrey Thrasher and filled with a stupendous collection of contemporary photography, painting, sculpture, and installation pieces—the house is a 44-carat legend in its own right.