Monday, May 18, 2009

2009 Designer Showcase

Cabinet of Curiosities designed by Nicole Hollis

Stairwell designed by Nicole Hollis

Garden View of Salzburg by Mathias Diesel

Natural history undeniably marks one of the standout trends from this year’s Designer Showcase. Upon entering the magnificent Georgian mansion, visitors are greeted by a monumental cabinet of curiosities—a tradition dating back to Renaissance Europe, where objects, whose categorical boundaries were yet to be defined, were showcased. It is easy to comprehend the design community’s interest in natural history as well as its lasting appeal, when considering the history of collecting. Initially, collections acted as a library, museum, and means of displaying an individual’s wealth. Indeed, these objects (on loan here from the California Academy of Sciences) invite observers to touch or study objects that are not only beautiful but also serve as remnants from the beginnings of collecting.

Along the main stairwell, butterflies and various other natural history prints hang, further indicating how living among references to the natural world can be richly fulfilling. Other examples of an adherence to natural history, include a prehistoric skeleton of a predatory marine reptile, located on the upper hallway, and pet portraiture which hangs along the stairwell leading to the penthouse.

The Study, designed by John Wheatman, achieves a timeless conformable retreat, making it one of our favorite rooms. Near the bookcase, hang lovely 18th century views of the Mirabelle Gardens in Salzburg, Austria. These engravings prove the importance of integrating art with design, for their presence contribute in large to the scholarly and leisurely atmosphere. Examples of picturesque Baroque gardens, these views are available through Arader Galleries.

Needless to say, the Designer Showcase is one of our favorite times of year. Inspiring elegant new design ideas, this event keeps us coming back year after year. Arader Galleries is pleased to offer a special catalog highlighting our natural history material. Please contact Arader Galleries at 415.788.5115 or email us to receive our Exploring the Natural World catalog.

The 2009 San Francisco Decorator Showcase is open through May 25 at 2830 Pacific Ave., San Francisco. Hours are 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. Tues., Wed. and Fri.; until 7 p.m. Thurs.; 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. Sunday and Memorial Day. Closed Mon., except Memorial Day. $30 at the door; $25 seniors. Proceeds benefit the financial aid program at San Francisco University High School. Please call (415) 447-5830 for more information.

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