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MASTERING "DAY-CORE": SUNLIGHT AS EPHEMERAL DÉCOR
And strategies to maximize its charm; many images; (did you get "day-core" as a décor homonym?)
A week ago we were SHADY about the all-poo aesthetic quickly dominating America. Today, we’ll be praise-y about SHADE, which we think is a nice rhetorical counterpoint. Shade, which is - of course - a crucial form of ephemeral décor.
(Thank you to our FLORAL CORRESPONDENT Stewart Bean for the idea.)
EPHEMERAL DÉCOR CATEGORIES:
Shade; which changes due to the Earth’s rotation
Flowers and branches (cut); which change due to decay
Televisions and sound systems; which change because we’re convinced to upgrade at an unsustainable rate (APPLE!!)
Of these, shade is the most life-affirming and important. We’ll focus on the ones formed because of DAYLIGHT.
Shade and shadows are, especially in a city like ours (LOS ANGELES) where shadow-producing light is very reliable, an exceptionally important consideration because light is truly a PHENOMENAL THING, without which humanity - and all that surrounds it and preceded it - would not exist.
Yet, beyond comments of “GREAT LIGHT!” when first viewing often empty domestic spaces, appreciation is rarely held for the dance of the sun’s rays.
TWO NOTES ON “SUNLIGHT” AND “SHADOWS” AND THEIR VALUE IN THE HOMESPHERE
N.B. REMINDER, WE’RE GONNA FOCUS ON SUNLIGHT HERE, versus the electrical kind, which we discussed here.
→ As rarely mythical as FOR SCALE is, the sun does deserve worship
For MILLENNIA, monuments have been erected to honor THE SUN, from Stonehenge circa 5,000 years ago (and also before it) right up to ALL HOMES WORTH TALKING ABOUT in the 20th century. See here an example on the Right of a home by mega minimalist home-maker JOHN PAWSON. See how both Stonehenge and Pawson employ “STRATEGIC APERTURE” to create a SUN SLICE.
Why did Neolithic humans and also John Pawson-circa-2000s care?
The sun, as you know, is a huge ball of basically-eternally burning gas, both totally constant-seeming and also erratic in ways (i.e. sun spots and flares); light, for its part, acts like both a wave and a particle, confounding science. These mind-bending realities of the natural world should impact directly how seriously we décor with light.
In any case, we were ALSO recently reflecting on how the sun rules our lives after touring the MOUNT WILSON OBSERVATORY and encountering STEVE, who has hand-drawn maps of sun spots, by hand with pencil, for the last 47 years. Such commitment to the sun is highly admirable.
Rarely do we link the concepts of humble domestic LIGHT/SHADOW together with Stonehengian mysticism or the complex science of universe voyeurism – but it’s all one and the same thing, folks.
So, don’t kid around with this stuff. LIGHT and its sexier, seductive counterpart, SHADOW, are linked to various kinds of society-defining worship and ERGO should be honored in your own home.
→ The one time we’ll ask you TRUST THE MINIMALISTS
Very good shadows are desirable in nearly all circumstances, but there is something about how much more impactful they can be when presented sans clutter. (Don’t shoot the messenger.)
The more you get into shadows, the more we expect you’ll want to rid yourself of any Excess Of Stuff, providing a “blank canvas”-like context.
Take for example the 1981 bedroom of THIERRY MUGLER (and we say BEDROOM in the most direct and literal sense because it’s mainly only Bed):
A relatively unexceptional casting of light, AND YET the fact that it is one of few things to look at almost gives it “OBJECT”-level presence - kind of sundial-y alarm clockage.
READING LIST OF ONE:
In Praise of Shadows (ISBN: 9780099283577) is an essay by Juni’chirō Tanizaki, which was published in the mid early 1930s. And it’s very much about Japanese aesthetics kind of across the board, and very metaphorical about the SEARCH FOR TOTAL LIGHT AND CLARITY (boo!) and an appreciation for subtlety (yes!).
Anyway, it’s rich, it’s nuanced, it’s not something we’re willing to try and summarize, because it’s also quick to read and so you should just go for it.
You can find it here, from HEARTWORM.
THE STRATEGIC CASTING OF LIGHT
There are, of course, ways to play with THE STRATEGIC CASTING OF LIGHT and SHADOWAGE. Before we get there, however, a small moment of appreciation for the hard work of the window frame in its unadulterated state:
All present the glory of WINDOWS, necessary for light play, that easily give us some wonderful domestic shadowy décor. This also introduces our first actual STRATEGY:
Beyond the UNBRIDLED WINDOW where we often simply get the shadows of its frame, there is an opportunity to add to a shadowscape the “silhouette”, pardon our French.
Silhouettes are tantalizing, offering a very satisfying sense of “easily solved mystery” but also does two, seemingly mutually exclusive things to décor:
i → REDUCES OBJECTS to one of their most basic components: shape
ii → DOUBLES OBJECTS UP as it exists both in its physical form and also in its silhouettery shadow
ASIDE: ETYMOLOGY LESSON
“SIHLOUETTE”, the word, deserves a moment. It is named for Étienne de Silhouette, an 18th-century French minister of finance… and nobody f*cking knows why.
Silhouettes play a significant role in visual culture, as we’re sure you’re aware, making it easy for us to highlight their incredible cinematic qualities:
i → Tarantino’s KILL BILL VOL. 1
ii → Curtiz’s CASABLANCA
iii → Kurosawa’s KAGEMUSHA
All very charged scenes, sharing in common a heightened sense of FOCUS (you pay attention in a different way when it’s in silhouette, don’t you?) and a very compelling sense of choreography. This, you’ll be pleased to know does, to some extent, translate into the domestic sphere.
Examples, including some strange glass objects from LEO COSTELLEO, whom you may recall from the ODE TO BOWS:
It can, as you can see especially from the latter two images, very much change the shape of things, exaggerating their presence. If there’s anything our culture loves, it’s exaggerated presence.
2. DRAPERY, LOOSELY SPEAKING
Pick your poison here, but do NOT disregard the very beguiling work of the much-derided VERTICAL BLINDS, which have/had been completely absorbed into a corporate aesthetic, and/or ‘generic condominium’. You can see here (Image 2) they can offer an otherwise flouncy room a certain level of structure and authority.
Personal psychology is crucial here: the physical experience of adjusting various types of window coverings, or the way one peers out of them, is definitely a PART of the choreography of light. It is hard, for example, to be romantic with a Venetian, as compared to drapes. (Both, however, can be dramatic.)
When selecting from the options available to you, take into consideration whether you are A or B:
The dapple, of course, often occurs because of some external element, e.g. a tree. Nonetheless, this is décor.
The EAMES at home is truly quintessential dapplery:
Yet, there are ways in which you, yourself, can incorporate dapplery in a more autonomous and moveable (and move-with-you’able) way, and that is the ROOM DIVIDER. We have ALSO written about this subject in full.
Two divider examples not included in our previous room divider post are, in fact, the most amendable for dappling. They are:
i → EILEEN GRAY, Metal Screen for Vereinigte Werkstätten, 1920s
ii → CARLA SOZZANI’s home in Milan , 1999
Which, if you have been to 10 CORSO COMO in Milan, you’ll realize mimics this kind of evil-eye-ish motif she’s f*cking obsessed with.
Again, much like drapery, DAPPLERY creates an ability for you to make some very impactful selections that reflect your state of mind, usually relating to how dramatic you want to be. (Recall: light and shadow, as we’re hoping to establish here, is VERY CINEMATIC; Gray, in this case, being higher drama.)
AND, just before we head off, a moment for the lacy demi-drape. We’re obsessed, and they are hardly used domestically which is a shame. Here is one at the Los Angeles restaurant “DUNSMOOR”:
Ok, well, we’ve basically exhausted ourselves before even really rattling off all we know and feel about SHADOW i.e. the best shadow-casting furniture, which we guess will become an eventual Instagr*m post.
Until then, though, love and good luck,
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