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Magazine    November 2001

Interior Elite



André De Cacqueray's Louis XVth-inspired bedroom in London Nicholas Haslam: good with chintz or with fur and skins


David Collins's glamorous bedroom for Madonna


A uniquely presented "directory" of Britain's leading interior designers was recently published by Carolynne Murphy, a journalist and writer covering design. Interior Elite offers a collection of portfolios of 40 of England’s top design practitioners offering up a broad array of styles—from a traditional bedroom with chintz wallpaper (above right) to fashion designers Dolce and Gabbana's villa in Milan, with its zebra-print dining room (below right).

Murphy wanted the book to serve as a showcase for the designers so she asked them to choose their own pictures, which have been presented in a very artsy manner, some spanning two pages, others arranged four or six to a page. Her in-depth profiles would help any potential client decide which personality is going to be invited in to redo the house.

The book includes the established crowd, such as David Mlinaric, Kelly Hoppen, Nina Campbell, Jane Churchill and Nicholas Haslam, and lesser-known design experts. Mlinaric, the most prestigious in England, focused his images on the restoration of Spencer House, a historic London residence, and David Collins shows us what he did to Madonna's bedroom (left), done to excess with a pink shag rug and white furniture and recalling the glamour of old Hollywood.



Nicholas Haslam, in a traditional mode Dolce and Gabbana's dining room in Milan




The World of Biedermeier




Biedermeier was the name of a German cartoon character that embodied the characteristics of simplicity, frugality and order so admired by the German bourgeois of the early 19th century, and when the wealthy middle class rebelled against the ostentatious tastes of the aristocracy Biedermeier became the appellation for furniture that was simple, elegant and honest. A handful of antiques dealers in the United States specialize in Biedermeier furniture; one of them is New Yorker Karl Kemp, who this month introduces a book, The World of Biedermeier, with interior designer/author Linda Chase.

Beginning with a short, interesting history of the period, the book delves into the collections at the Hofmobiliendepot (the Imperial Furniture Collection) in Vienna, the Geymullerschloss Palace in Austria and private collections in the United States. Chase describes her visit to the Hofmobiliendepot as a “Kafkaesque adventure” in which she walked along an army of bedside tables, a forest of coat racks, a pyramid of busts and an avenue of 30,000 chairs. The museum’s collection of 163,000 pieces of 19th-century German furniture and decorative objects, many of which appear for the first time ever in the book’s large-format 416 pages, is the biggest in the world.

Photographer Lois Lammerhuber shot many of the pictures with an artistic purpose in mind—something that’s easy to do with Biedermeier because the silhouettes of the furniture are curvy and the wood graining is dramatic.


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Interior Elite Who's Who in Design
by Carolynne Murphy
Art Books International, £35.00

The World of Biedermeier
by Linda Chase and Karl Kemp
Thames and Hudson, $95
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