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TIE ME UP! TIE ME DOWN! An argument for the return of BOWS to décor
(mainly because they are already here.)
Bows are for little girls.
An ABSOLUTELY INCORRECT assumption about the décor qualities of today’s subject, that charming “complication of cordage” that is THE BOW, and has been used to great effect in interiors since, well… literally, who cares? The point is: bows are relevant NOW.
As ever, we delve into some actual good sh*t people are making that is bows-and-knotsy, but an evaluation the current cultural MINDSET – critical in evaluating whether a ‘trend’ is legit interesting or not.
Let us review, in two+ images that show the SWAGGER OF BOWS, with a tangentially bit of love for their sibling, THE KNOT, and its swagger.
This is CRUCIAL BACKGROUND:
1. BOW SWAGGER: ESCAPISM (and pairs beautifully with a DISCORDANT TECH-AGE FLOURISH)
Bows are, for us, epitomized in the work of the always-exemplary SOPHIE COPPOLA and some BTS shots from “MARIE ANTOINETTE” (2006). Here, more so than in the film, we can see glimpse at the fantastic juxtaposition of the “FORMAL” BOW and technology: i.e. (1) an enormous Apple laptop and (2) a microwave.
Where the bows here are not “décor”, it is costume, which in the moviesphere is décor adjacent, i.e. décor and costume in this case are devised to work in unison, so we may view costume AS décor.
IN ANY CASE: the bow can, of course, be lipstick-on-a-pig – a decadence added something ultimately stinking, like a monarchy. And, sure, that’s impossible to stop. But the essence of the BOW in DÉCOR is ultimately ESCAPISM. The bow suggests there is reason for “Flourish,” that even with doom on the horizon we can use simple gesture to alleviate the mind.
This MEANS, thrillingly, that it pairs charmingly with other forms of décor/aesthetic escapism: TECH ESCAPISM (as in the M’Antoinette BTS example), or even AVATAR-, Ferngully-style ECO PARADISE ESCAPISM.
BOOK ALERT: COPPOLA’s FIRST BOOK (if you can believe it), stylishly called “ARCHIVE”, has just been added to bookshelves the world-over. We’d buy it from CLIMAX BOOKS, if we were in London. In Los Angeles we haven’t figured out where we’ll pick it up IRL. Arcana? Who has it?
1. AS AN ASIDE, KNOT SWAGGER: “READY FOR TRANSPORT” + SOMETHING KIND OF KINKY ABOUT IT
An important sibling to the bow, worth Not Ignoring, is the more simply KNOT. And, we want to acknowledge that KNOTS ARE BACK TOO. (We just wanted to dive deep into one of the two.) The knot, however is not so much ESCAPISM, as “ESCAPE-READY”. It is the ready-for-transport, packed-up aesthetic. (We do NOT “see” the nautical knot, at this point. It is invisible to us.)
There are few who have employed the knot with such great effect as CHRISTO and JEANNE-CLAUDE, the art duo dominated by the name “Christo” who were interestingly born at the same hour, on the same day, of the same year (‘35), but one in Bulgaria and one Morocco.
Though we may think of leading image, the covered-up monument of Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan (1970), as “WRAPPED”, its exoskeleton-y rope-and-knots is of equal importance to the actual fabric. For this one as for so many other CHRISTO-JEANNE-CLAUDEs, we’d argue that the sexy bit is really the knotty tying up bit. It makes it “parcel,” with a fetish-y aftertaste, a curious combination.
FILM ALERT: The marvelous misters MAYSLES (brothers David and Albert) made an acclaimed, if quite pared-back, docu on CHRISTO and JEANNE-CLAUDE’s 1972 “VALLEY CURTAIN” project in Colorado. You likely know these two from their seminal GREY GARDENS documentary, 1975.
The Colorado project:
And, just so you don’t feel like we’re swerving too far from DÉCOR, CHRISTO and JEANNE-CLAUDE did also wrap up some furniture too, at the Museum Würth. Note the table has a knot feature:
And some other wrapped chairs and tables by C and J-C, which are now at Vienna’s LEOPOLD MUSEUM:
These definitely have a hastily-wrapped ready-to-BE-MOVED vibe, which we’re feeling very much speaks to how totally unstable and “soon-to-be-uprooted” all of humanity is right now.
THE BOW GOODS
We start off in STEEL, and we’ll stay there a while. Because, you know what, we want to establish the thrill the HARD BOW. The bow needn’t be “soft” or delicate – it can be permanent and industrial. (These, in one object, bring together the formal-flouncy bow and technology-industry.)
And for this, we turn to goddess MARIA PERGAY (who is currently in her mid early 90s) – a stainless steel VISIONARY who did these f*cking amazing lamps for French brand UGINOX in the late 60s:
Ok, then cut to 2007 and: THE BOW BENCH. Flouncy-steely, a phenomenal tension, rarely accomplished.
Comes in pink, too. And, where some of her stuff is highly complicated, we’re fans of whatever she does that is kind of stripped back to a single concept. And, BOW BENCH truly has that “one simple thought” energy to it.
But she’s not alone in exploring the steel-bow. Zip, zip, zip and cut to THIS YEAR, and the new work of Manhattan’s BLUE GREEN WORKS, the beefy lighting designers whom WALLP*PER MAGAZINE refers to as fusing “sensuality and masculinity” (like, ok Wallp*per? are they mutually exclusive? We’re not a fan of the phrasing, but acknowledge that it maybe helps you get the idea). Anyway, we’re fans.
This is their “Banner” sconce (we’ll it BOW, though!). Comes in blue, too.
And new BOW WORKS doesn’t stop there.
To reinforce that “THE BOW” is back, may we also present a selection of Things by London artist LEO COSTELLOE, which is a name we love because a surname that contains the entirety of the first name is a DELIGHT (e.g.a bit like Boutros Boutros-Ghali, but better).
This isn’t all he does but there’s a LOT of bow, including BOWS FOR BODY:
OK, FINALLY, TWO OTHER NEW-STUFF BOWS THAT DIVERT FROM THE WORLD OF STEEL-SILVER BOWDOM:
THE LEATHER BOW MIRRORS by LOVE STORY. This is medieval sh*t! As in, the medieval folks were the ones that were boiling leather to make interesting stuff (including ARMOR), and that’s what LOVE STORY’s Bianca is doing for these:
A bow-knots TRANSITION item, the CAP STOOLS by SARAH BURNS. The stool on its own (ok, it’s steel again - probably) already gives a kind of bow-ish energy, but to add a little cushion, tied with a bow, is a sweet and knot-y way to ‘cap’ off a tough-looking stool. Pun intended.
TO TIE UP SOME LOOSE ENDS…
Of course, we have only discussed here the most literal, obvious interpretations of BOW, i.e. the most obviously ornamental of knots. And it’s this very obvious and direct communication the bow essence we admire.
There are, however, a zillion bits of furniture and things that more abstractly make reference to the BOW, or THE RIBBON, most of which are called “RIBBON CHAIR”. And, sure, go for those if you’re timid.
LETTING SOME PERSONAL POLITICS SHINE THROUGH: F*ck this idea that BOWS are “feminine”, because we’re all learning or already know that to call something “feminine” or “masculine” is a very loaded and complicated and mostly useless term (right?). Or, actually, more that it’s just lazy to describe some as one or the other. There are more interesting tensions held within a steely bow, for example, than masc-fem. (Sorry Wallp*per.)
But, we don’t want to really go down that path. We just want to go pick up a copy of “ARCHIVE” and call it a day. And, save up for a MARIA PERGAY lamp and bow bench.
Until next time. Love and good luck,
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