Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Gilding the Faded Lily

Flamingo armchair

Take two clever Swedes, one London studio, a smattering of neglected furniture and a fair amount of spare time, mix it all together et voilà - Jimmie Martin - a contemporary (well, sort of) furnishings line by Jimmie Karlsson and Martin Nihlmar.

Tulip wardrobe, designed for the April 2007 exhibition at Liberty

Starting with inexpensive items like revival-style chairs, tables and armoires, Jimmie and Martin come up with all sorts of ideas for unusual, one-off paint jobs. Most pieces are coated with a high-gloss paint, but each has its own surprise. From bright, contrasting colors, to graffiti scrawl to custom pet portraits - a Jimmie Martin design can be anything you desire.

Dog chair, the back rest upholstered with artists' canvas

Recipe arm chair, from a series commissioned for a new Gary Rhodes restaurant in Marble Arch

Orchid bench

What is surprising, though, is the approach of Liberty, one of England's most venerable and traditional shops, with a deal to exhibit their designs. Granted, they've stuck to the slightly safer pieces (some Jimmie Martin designs veer sharply in a goth direction), but kudos to them - and to the designers - for taking a risk and having some fun.

Gold cocktail cabinet
On display at Liberty, the gold-leafed cabinet is painted with a chandelier on the front doors. The bright-red interior is fitted with glass shelves and lighting.


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