... Babylon - well, the East River - I sat down and smiled.
Joseph Braswell's own apartment overlooking Sutton Place in Manhattan photographed in April 1974 for Architectural Digest is very different from what I expected, though that says more about me than Mr Braswell, for if you remember he was the designer of the Helena Rubinstein richly colored and immensely stylish corporate offices shown in Wednesday's post.
I realized, and this is the smile of the title, is that not only could I in a figurative sense have lived in this apartment with very few changes, details really, and what I really like about 1970s interior design I still seek today - the combination of clean-lined modern architecture, logical floor plans, historical reference, color, comfort, meaningful chotchkes, if any, securely corralled.
Mr Braswell's interior is all of this except that it is completely neutral in palette, "non-colors" as the designer said "In our work at Braswell-Willoughby we are steeped in strong patterns and colors all day, and it's easy to become surfeited. Here at home I wanted to restore myself in a tranquil palette of earth tones."
Color, such that it is, is intrinsic to the materials: sisal, rattan, lacquer, chrome, leather, suede, hopsack, mirror. This is 1977 and those materials in intrinsic colors and textures have never really gone out of fashion since. Emphasis has changed somewhat over the years: sisal had its heyday during the 1980s, but it's still around and been joined by seagrass; hopsacking is still in use as an upholstery material now called "Belgian" linen; suede, whether from the tanner or the oil refinery, comes and goes ; mirror, antiqued or not, a couple of years ago was applied to every unsuitable piece of furniture within reach and now its permissible again to clad walls with it; chrome momentarily was supplanted by nickel; lacquer, the real thing, is as fashionable as ever but that other lacquer comprising four coats high-gloss paint is beginning to be considered bad for the environment. Rattan? Least said the better.
The palm frond console in the foyer is 1930s Serge Roche for Emilio Terry. The paper sculpture (you cannot imagine the throb of nostalgia I felt at reading those words) above the desk is by Nancy Miller. Printed fabrics by Allen Campbell, I think.
Photographs by Peter Vitale from Architectural Digest, April 1977.
Title of post refers to By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept by Elizabeth Smart and by extension to Psalm 137.