Modern: In Black and White

Designing with black and white can create drama and a visually powerful space. It requires a thoughtful and deliberate approach, positioning objects in such a way that they are read in contrast. The design work of Architect Joseph Dirand, is a gorgeous example of this stylistic approach. It offers an unparalleled simplicity, which suggests a carefully curated experience of space. When I look at these images, I find myself focusing on each object and its artful position in the room, as part of the overall composition. Really, isn’t that how we experience space? As we walk through a doorway and into a room, we are positioned to see a layering of objects, which creates our impression of the space. When designing with black and white, the limited palette allows us to focus on the details, and minimize the chaos or “noise” in the room. Try it. Take a black and white photograph of your room. When you look at it this way, it helps to understand the level of contrast in the space, and the powerful opportunity it provides to design.

Images of the work of Joseph Dirand sourced on the Architects website.

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A Perfect Formula

When it comes to decorating, I nearly always start the process with a monochromatic palettes. Perhaps it’s because I’m a girl that likes to play it safe, or maybe I just gravitate toward simplicity. Either way, I’m a big believer in investing in timeless black and white pieces to fill out a room and adding less expensive accessories to keep the look fresh.

But how do you keep the look warm, rather than cold, minimalistic and uninviting?

[Image: Bodie & Fou]

With wood.

It’s very Scandinavian, yes, but also very classic and easy to transform as your tastes grow and change. After all, wood can be finished, re-finished, painted, re-painted and stripped over and over again. Even better? Wood is a warm tone, so you can count on its texture to create an inviting atmosphere in your otherwise monochromatic room.

White + black + wood = my perfect formula. What’s yours?

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On reading…

Came across “On Reading” by legendary photographer Andre Kertész the other day, and said to myself, I’ve got to have this book! Kertész photographed people reading for fifty years. Yup, fifty years. “On Reading” contains of a series of photographs taken between 1920 and 1970. The way he captured his subjects – the readers – are like taking a snapshot of their most solitary moments. A tiny glimpse into their world as they spent their minutes, hours, or days alone. Kertész went around the world to find those everyday moments, and it was the ones that were taken on rooftops that I’m most intrigued by. Maybe it’s because of the architectural quality of the images, the juxtapositions perhaps, but they really speak to me in the most graphic way. Do you think these photographs would have had the same effect if they were in color and not black and white? Somehow the black and whites carry a history behind them, but at the same time, there’s a timeless quality to them. I especially enjoy “searching” for the readers, my eyes don’t necessarily go to them straightaway, I tend to look at everything else that surrounds him/her. Now, that’s a great storyteller.


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