As technology and communication introduce global influences, we desire more international, worldly interior designs at home. 2014 saw a resurgence of Chinoiserie, the Oriental- and Indian-inspired design last seen on these shores in the 1980s. However, Chinoiserie has remained relatively popular in Europe since the 1600s. But, what is Chinoiserie and what is its modern relevance?
Chinoiserie style is simply defined as “a style in art (as in decoration) reflecting Chinese qualities.” Webster’s definition is straightforward, yet still unclear. Chinoiserie interior design ranges from blue-and-white embossed china to Chinese- and Japanese-inspired furniture to cherry blossom-printed wallpaper. Chinoiserie elements accent the finest modern and classic homes – often unrealized. So, where did this style originate? We argue that Chinoiserie originated in 1670s with burgeoning trade between Europe and China. As teas, porcelains, and silks swept right into French and British palaces, the style trickled down to the fashionable mid- and high- socio-economic classes. Chinoiserie gained popularity into the eighteenth century, when every royal / upper class home featured . However, despite its popularity, Chinoiserie was only associated with women and their specific rooms—the only Chinoiserie element seen in the more “masculine” sections of the home were serving and decorating china. Only the construction of the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, England spread this style through the rest of society. The Royal Pavilion, constructed for King George IV, was the first structure with exclusively Chinoiserie-styled rooms – and to an extreme level. This resurfaced Chinoiserie style in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, before disappearing again until the 1980s and again last year.
So, how does this centuries-old style, add a modern accent to our homes? The easiest way to introduce Chinoiserie in the bedroom starts with the bed—The Damai creates a clean, modern Chinoiserie feel. With classic blue-and-white on both sides of the duvet cover and shams, the room instantly becomes Chinoiserie. Add simple white-and-blue accessories to compliment the bed, make the patterns stand out strongly, or tie the room together with classic blue-and-white china in small portions throughout the space. To highlight walls with Chinoiserie, perhaps The Café Cinnamon or The Hulopoe Bay with their simple duvet covers and complimentary pillows fit best. We’ve seen more designer interest in further mixing collections by introducing print pillows from the classic Damai collection into simpler designs, subtly adding Chinoiserie accents. There are many options and levels to adding Chinoiserie with Mystic Valley Traders—we encourage your creative experimentation.
So, go forth and take this exotically classic style and bring it into your modern home. Whether in details or throughout the room, Chinoiserie fits into any home and will last in style and influence.