As furniture makers we often look at iconic furniture pieces for inspiration and sometimes assistance with design issues prior to production. This is a giltwood Pier table designed by Thomas Hope during the English Regency Revival period (circa 1800). Inspired by the Ancient Greek and Roman design, the table contains four carytids and above them are four medallions representing the gods of night and sleep. The carytids, according to Hope, represent the four parts of the day. The top is made out of a black marble slab. Hope’s used symbolic ornaments in his pieces to influence designers, clients and other craftsmen. Hope used giltwood in much of his furniture to contrast with the often colorful interior decoration of the time period.
One of the most iconic and influential English Regency interiors is the Lincoln Fields Inn, London 1812-1814, which is now the Sear John Soane’s museum. It was built by one of England’s greatest architects, Sir John Soane. He was renown for eliminating details and reducing classical forms to reflect slender proportions. The light effects are created with the use of skylights and mirrors. The breakfast room features a light, and a shallow dome stretches across the center of the room and is illuminated by an octagonal skylight filled with panels of colored glass.
Some of the most common furniture forms used in the Regency style are curule forms, x forms, klismos, sphinxes, monopodia, chimera and griffins. The most influential designers of this period were Sir John Soane, Thomas Hope and John Nash.
Pictured is a single pedestal round Regency dining table we are finishing up at our studio. One of the principal elements of Regency furniture is the combination of touches of exotic ornamentation with classical motifs. Many of the design motifs in Regency furniture were influenced by ornamentation prevalent in France, Belgium and England. Regency furniture is known for combining modulated curves with straight lines. Thomas Hope, perhaps Regency’s most famous furniture designer, incorporated exotic details in his furniture including animal heads and paws, sphinx shaped supports and carytids. This solid mahogany dining table features hand carved acanthus leaves, rosettes on the feet, and a diamond shaped pattern almost representing a pineapple. If you are looking for a dining table in the Regency style, there are several variations in this design style with varying leg widths, brass feet and alternate base carvings.
Regency furniture was strongly influenced by clean lines and was inspired from the ancient Greek and Roman styles.
The Regency style tends to have gilded and hand carved furniture with brass, inlays and trim. The forms and detailed elements are emphasized and exaggerated and also are influenced from Egyptian, Oriental and medieval Gothic styles.
Pictured is a characteristic Regency sofa in rosewood veneer, one of the favorite featured materials used during the Regency period. There are other pieces such as the Spoon back chairs, regency stools, extension tables and the gilt-decorated Greek style couch that influence modern, contemporary interior design.
Pictured is a solid mahogany wood dining table that we offer at our ERA Interiors Store. For this furniture design we incorporated cherry and mahogany veneer on the table top, created a custom pattern, and applied a french hand polished finish. This 5′ diameter could be also custom made in any wood type, finish and size.
A great article from the September 2006 issue of architectural digest interviewing Axel Vervoordt and highlighting the fundamental essence of creating and designing high end handmade furniture. “Chairs “sit,” tables “live” and “grow old” and, refreshingly, “get better with age.” Bringing together antique and contemporary pieces is, he observes, “like a dialogue. It’s like bringing people together around the table to have a nice dinner.” We as humans are constantly looking for that authentic, human connection, whether it’s a 200 or 20 year old handmade chair, piece of music or painting, the ability to feel the essence of the works’ creation is what gives them their value.
Designing and creating something handmade that will immediately look amazing in your commercial or residential space, and ten times better in twenty or fifty years, is a key factor to consider when purchasing a piece. Although the pictured spoon back chair was recently created by Vervoordt’s firm, it can fit effortlessly into a 17th century european villa filled with antiques.