There is no time like Valentine’s Day to pay homage to red. Besides love—it’s meaning in many cultures—it also signals passion, excitement, adventure, seduction and, of course, sex. As interior designers, we often want to channel some of those powerful properties in a room. Even its negatives—such as danger, evil and anger—can’t diminish our ‘love’ for this potent hue. All of these characteristics can add a little welcome electricity to a way too tame space. For that reason, we’ve pulled together the most outstanding and effective red furnishings we’ve considered, or used, in our own luxury projects during the last year. All it takes is one great red piece to add a huge dose of passion or panache to a room.
We often build the design for a room from the ground up as a way to group furnishings, and use a dynamic rug to unify the space. And nothing is more dynamic than red. It can be a lot red, or a little red, depending on the effect we hope to achieve, or can incorporate complementary or contrasting colors and pattern to add greater impact. The "Monarch Fire" rug designed by Alexander McQueen for The Rug Company, hand-knotted in Nepal, blends luxury and romance with its fiery deep red silk threads swirling magically together like butterflies in flight.
When we think about using red in a room, furnishings, fabric or paint come to mind. Why not think out of the box, literally, with a red ceiling fixture. Designer Hervé van der Straeten channeled the heavens with a pendant fixture that emulates planets in orbit. We used it to add star-quality energy to a sumptuous yet streamlined home with a natural palette already punctuated by structural elements rendered in red. But it can have an equally stunning effect in a range of settings—a testament to the power of this transformative hue.
Sometimes, humor is in short supply, one reason why we swooned when we saw Elizabeth Garouste's curvaceous "Buster" commode at Ralph Pucci. Fabricated in red lacquer with polished bronze gold base that resembles anthropomorphic feet, it looks ready to dance away with Fred and Ginger. Whimsical curved bronze handles might even be mistaken for smiling lips. Smooch!
One red chair can take a room from ho-hum to lively. Make it one with major attitude, or a pair with a little swagger, and you can notch up a room’s ambiance from ordinary to sensational. Among our favorites for lounging, chatting, or dining are Vladimr Kagan's "530 Ondine" lounge chair from Ralph Pucci; Promemoria’s "Bilou Bilou" dining chair with red seat and frame; and mid-century petite wing chairs upholstered and tufted in swanky red wool from Assemblage at 1stdibs.
Luxurious furnishings don't have to loom large to make a statement when they’re executed in red. Any shape or style, from, traditional and staid to contemporary and adventurous, takes on new substance and standing in this effective hue. Our JLI team is smitten with Holly Hunt's acrylic-topped Lens table by McCollin Bryan, Christian Astuguevieille’s rope-encrusted Mivalo stool and Karl Springer's red snakeskin telephone table with go-everywhere casters. All take on big personalities when they’re cast in red.
14 Feb 2016