Chinoiseries is a type of decoration of the Asian flavour, pinching imaginary and subjects from the Chinese culture. From natural landscapes with fantasy flair, dragons and colourful birds, mesmerizing pavilions and the sweeping lines of the Chinese pagodas as well as people in Chinese clothes became popular in the West in the 18th century on different types of décor objects: porcelains, silk and lacquerware.
Today at Salda we continue to practice this wonderful technique to create exclusive pieces of extraordinary elegance. Today we show you the process to achieve such detailed craftsmanship pieces through the skilful hands of our artisans grappled with the decoration of a Louis XVI-inspired chest of drawers embellished with oriental motifs.
The decoration of this piece of furniture requires over 18 days of work and the skills of several craftsmen. The refined oriental motif that characterizes it is created by mixing the brush decoration with thin layers of gold leaf of different shades, superimposed on each other to obtain a depth effect.
One of our favorite activities is to redesign the pieces that have made the history of furniture from a contemporary perspective and more in line with current tastes and habits of life. This year we focused on the console table, one of the most versatile furniture of French origin in history.
We started from an ancient Louis XVI style model kept in our historical archive and we lightened it of the original gold frills to give it a more modern look. We wanted to preserve the original half-moon shape typical of the first consoles in history and emphasize the decorative function of this piece through meticulous attention to detail.
The construction and decoration of this piece go through delicate manufacturing stages that make it unique and customizable in the smallest details…
The basic shape of the legs is made by turning. Each single piece takes shape from a solid wood parallelepiped that is engraved and modeled manually with a chisel.The decorations are handcrafted one by one using small templates to draw a trace of the ornament and using chisels of different sizes to create the carved base. The carvings are embellished through the manual application and stripping of gold leaf.
THE TOP The top, made of wood and not marble as was the case in the 1700s, is entirely hand decorated according to the ancient brush decoration techniques. Refined classic decorations, inspired by nature, develop around a refined fan motif made with different shades of blue and gray.
The classic silk damask is a fabric with a warp and weft of identical color, in which, however, the design stands out noticeably from the background by contrast of shine. The final product is enchanting because the fabric becomes two straight ie without the wrong side!
China was the first country to introduce ornamental motifs in fabrics: the Chinese emperor Wendi of the Sui dynasty had owned a damask dress since the fifth century. Over time, damask began to be produced in India, Persia, Syria and Byzantine Greece. Towards the sec. XII, the city of Damascus surpassed all the other countries so much for its beauty and originality of designs, that its silk fabrics were sought everywhere. And, from the heart of the Middle East it was sold in Europe. The West impressed by the high quality and value made it ceremonial, priestly clothes and used it in the furnishing of churches, palaces and royal residences.
Today, with its regal charm, damask is widely used in fashion and in the furnishing of luxury interiors. We like it very much in pastel shades, mixed with fabrics similar in color, but different in texture and composition and combined with golden finishes and shellac.
Every year we prepare something special for Salone del Mobile.Milano … This time we presented a new interpretation of the classic Chinoiserie bringing this decorative art on a modern material like glass and leaving the traditional realization on wood practiced by the French cabinet makers in the 18th century.
We started from a Louis XVI model kept in the company’s historical archive and we made an exclusive chest of drawers of oriental flavour, using a mix of ancient techniques and fashionable materials.
The decoration of this piece goes through delicate manufacturing stages that make it unique and customizable in the smallest details…
DRAWING ON GLASS
This is the stages that takes the longest and requires the most attention because the glass is painted reversed and the final result appears only at the end of processing, when the glass is turned around. The drawing is placed underneath the glass and traced with a black outline, trying to keep the trait accurate although working the other way round.
COLORS AND GOLDEN LEAF
The imaginary landscapes, dragon and colorful birds, Chinese pagodas and the human figures which compose the drawing are painted using bicomponent colours for glass painting. The classic hues of Chinese decorative art – brick, ocher and brown – are mixed with accents of red and precious gold leaf in order to give a refined and modern vision of a classic theme.
The decorated glass panels are sprayed with matt black lacquer in order to fix the drawing and enphasise the details of the scene. Once dry, they are placed on the front, sides, top and drawers of the furniture, made of beech and ash wood.
The precious gilded brass details placed on the drawers come from an original design and are handmade using sand casting. First, a wooden model is made, which the engraver uses to make the lines which characterize the design. Then, the engraved wooden model is used as a master for the mould made of casting sand, a special material into which the molten brass is poured. At the end of the process the mould is broken, in order to extract the brass piece which has the intended shape.
The 18th century’s artistic spirit and manual skill live again in the elegant oriental-inspired decorations and in the small details of this new chest of drawers. An exclusive creation which can be placed in different settings, a timeless beauty that can infuse and transform everyday surroundings, leaving behind outmoded distinctions between antique and modern, oriental and Western.
The romantic style is very popular in home decor and interior design. It makes a room elegant, warm, calm and most of all confortable. In our opinion the best way to get a romantic atmosphere is to choose French style furniture from different ages and sumptuous decorations of elaborate taste, which never lead to excesses. The secret, for us, is a balanced mix of pastel colors, ornate decor, floral patterns, curved lines and natural light, without ever forgetting the French technique of layering texture and color…
A Century after the birth of Art Deco, we have decided to reinterpret one of the most exciting, rich and glamorous periods in the history of design by creating a unique piece, with a sumptuous yet measured style.
Here is our exclusive Art Deco cabinet, characterized by contrasting geometric shapes, elegant bright rays and rich glares made with precious materials such as Makassar ebony, mother-of-pearl and shiny brass.
The decorative elements of the early 20th Century avant garde have seen a return in the last years and inspired the entire design of the cabinet, conceived as an aristocratic symbol of the early 20th Century, the elite of an industrialised society aware of the appeal of the artistic avant garde, whilst still wanting the luxury and elegance of the past.
When we rummage through our archives, we always discover something new about the history of furniture and the tastes of different eras. This time, thanks to the original sketch of an elegant sideboard produced in the early 1900s, we made a leap in the 20s and rediscovered techniques, materials and workmanship typical of those years.
To reproduce this model faithfully it was necessary to do a great deal of research on materials. In order to get the most out of it, we needed slices of different veins of ebony and maple, European marble and sheets of pure white mother of pearl, materials frequently used in the gay yet sophisticated drawing-rooms of the haute bourgeoisie around the end of the First World War as a symbol of rediscovered affluence and modern elegance.
Mother of pearl
Behind the decoration of this piece, lies all the manual dexterity of our craftsmen. Slices of makassar-wood with different grain patterns were combined and fitted together by hand to create vertical streaking on the side doors and edges and a herring-bone motif on the central doors, inlaid with dots of purest mother-of-pearl.
The characteristic cigar shape of legs have demanded the skills of a number of different craftsmen: the turner, who taked the unshaped billet and gived it the basic cylindrical shape, the shaper who chiselled out the grooves, and the wood-carver who smoothed and hand-finishes the shapes left by chisel and router.
After more than a month’s work the result was amazing. A supreme example of cabinet-making in the Modern style with interior of maple wood and decorations in makassar and mother of pearl inspired by simple geometric shapes. A model which is a reflection of its times, and in particular of a society returning to life, longing for opulence and concerned with modernity.
We love to reinvent the classic pieces by mixing styles, colors and inspirations, but sometimes an ancient romantic vein prevails and leads us to the pure classic style, the sober and elegant authentic French taste …
In these moments our choices colors fall on colors rich in history and meaning like the French Blue, one of the most refined nuances in history. French Blue has been used in the heraldry of the French monarchy since the 12th century, with the golden fleurs-de-lis of the kings always set on a blue heraldic azure background, thus the other name “Royal Blue”.
French blue is a shade of azure, but often mistakenly used for greyish-blue colors. A delicate and sophisticated nuance, perfect to decorate a contemporary style private retreat, a restful bedroom in which shades of grey, precious Louis XVI style handmade carvings and golden accents create an atmosphere of quiet and noble beauty.
Whenever there is a new model to “dress” for the first time, in our style department there is a lot of excitement … especially for the choice of color beacuse with the color you do not mess around! When our designers showed us for the first time the sketch of a new armchair inspired by the 40s, with sober lines, rounded back and base in precious slices of different veins of ebony makassar, a great work of chromatic and stylistic research began. In order to interpret a piece inspired by the most sophisticated decade of the last century, a particular nuance was needed, capable of emphasizing a design with not very elaborate shapes, but very, very chic!
To avoid mistakes we chose an intense and warm coral nuance, not quite pink, neither orange. A precious color used since ancient times and back in fashion in luxury furnishings for its metamorphic particularity that makes it very bold or delicate and feminine depending on the combinations.
And seeing the success of our armchair at the Salone del Mobile, we can say that coral was the right color!
Some time ago, wandering through the Paris Museum of Decorative Arts we came across an eighteenth-century original piece of absolute and timeless beauty. We decided to reinterpret it adapting its size and proportions to life in modern apartments in order to bring to contemporary living all the elegance and costly refinement that lived in the royal dwellings of long ago.
To decorate this piece, we worked with rosewood strips of different vining fitted and joined by hand by our marquetry artists. A craft work that demands immense dexterity and great visualising ability to compose regular geometrical designs to suit the sinuous lines of the piece as a whole.
All this piece’s brass components were craftsmanmade using the sand-casting technique and then dipped in baths of liquid 24-carat gold and oven-cured. The brasses were shaped under the blowtorch to follow the lines of the individual components where they were to be fitted and its were drilled and then mounted by hand onto the various parts of the wooden frame.
After more than a month’s work the result was amazing. A masterwork of craftsmanship and refinement with sinuous curves in Louis XV style, marble top, chiselled fittings of gold-plated brass, frame and drawers enhanced by geometric motifs of rosewood’s marquetry.