there is usually a showstopper room at the san francisco decorator showcase.
last year, it was the living room by catherine kwong design, with a cy twombly like floor.
living room | catherine kwong design | 2013 san francisco decorator showcase
living room floor | painted by stancil studios | 2013 san francisco decorator showcase
cy twombly (1928-2011) | untitled | acrylic on canvas | 2006
sotheby’s new york | contemporary art evening auction | 14 may 2014 | lot 41
this year, it’s the master bedroom by antonio martins interior design,
who paneled the bedroom in blue and white portugese tiles, called azulejos.
master bedroom | antonio martins interior design | 2014 san francisco decorator showcase
martins, who was born in portugal, grew up in brazil, and now works in san francisco and lisbon, re-imagined the traditional tiles as contemporary art. one of martins’ relatives loaned the 17th century portugese bilros bed to him for the showcase. martins imported the family heirloom to san francisco and had it restored. another relative assisted martins by taking photographs of the portugese tile collection at the museu nacional do azulejo (MNAz) in lisbon.
photographs taken by martins’ relative at the museu nacional do azulejo (MNAz) in lisbon
martins collaborated with decorative artists linda horning and katherine jacobus, who painted the 243 masonite wall panels for the bedroom from the museu nacional do azulejo photographs. they took some artistic license. to modernize the azulejos, they increased the size of the 4″x4″ tiles to 24″x24″ panels. but, they wanted the 24″x24″ panels to appear authentic. so, they applied a crackled finish on the panels to replicate the crackled glaze on the tiles. and, they painted the scenic panels in sequence, so that the panels would seem historically accurate.
master bedroom azulejos wall panels | painted by linda horning and katherine jacobus | 2014 san francisco decorator showcase
martins deconstructed the scenic panels, then reconfigured them, and installed them on the bedroom walls.
‘i love the use of traditional design and techniques in a whole new way.’
interior designer antonio martins
the deconstructed panels of azulejos could be compared to contemporary art.
eduardo nery | vibracao I | 1987 | artist’s loan | museu nacional do azulejo | lisbon, portugal
and, the bedroom could be compared to a contemporary art gallery. not only are the floors and ceiling painted white. but, each corner also contains a sculptural composition.
antonio martins | rope sculpture
braided from 200 pounds of italian jute
the wall panels and the window coverings are so well coordinated that the fabric looks like it could have been hand painted by horning and jacobus.
the bed is framed by contemporary furniture. vintage john dickinson african side tables at the head. and, folding stools in the style of poul kjaerholm at the foot.
john dickinson | african series plaster side table
a contemporary brass sideboard, which acts as a vitrine for blue and white porcelain vessels, is the focal point of the opposing wall.
when i visited lisbon in 2004, i thought that some of the contemporary azulejos at the museu nacional do azulejo (MNAz) were as outstanding as some of the historic tiles. the MNAz owns the largest portugese tile collection in the world. so globally, it is considered one of the most important ceramics museums.
highlights of the MNAz collection include a panoramic scene of lisbon prior to the earthquake that devastated the city in 1755.
grande vista de lisboa | museu nacional do azulejo | lisbon, portugal
which do you prefer? historic or contemporary azulejos?
paolo ferreira (1911-1999) | lisbonne aux mille couleurs | 1937 | museu nacional do azulejo | lisbon, portugal
shown at the portugese pavillion at the 1937 paris international exhibition
some more information about azulejos:
the word azulejo is derived from the arabic word الزليج (az-zulayj): zellig, which means polished stone.
azulejos are square ceramic tiles, which are decorated on one side, often with tin glaze. tin glaze is a lead glaze with tin oxide added to make it opaque. tin glaze does not run when fired, so tin oxide is also a pigment stabilizer.
azulejos have been used as a traditional component of portugese architecture since about 1500, when king manuel I (1469-1521) imported tile from the mujedar workshops in seville, spain to decorate his palace in sintra, portugal. seville became a tile manufacturing center under moorish rule between the 8th and the 13th centuries. in portugal, azulejos have been used as an ornamental or functional building material on the interior or exterior of public or private buildings since then.
in addition to the influences of hispano-moorish geometric tile, other stylistic influences include italian polychrome majolica, and dutch blue and white delft ware.
geometric azulejos | sala dos arabes | circa 1503 | palacio nacional de sintra | sintra, portugal
polychrome azulejos | circa 1670 | palacio dos marqueses de fronteira | lisbon, portugal
blue and white azulejos | circa 1670 | palacio dos marqueses de fronteira | lisbon, portugal
azulejos patterns followed historical design trends.
gothic, renaissance, mannerism…
allegorical, mythological, or religious scenes…
vases of flowers…
bucolic, mythological, satirical, hunting, or war scenes…
the late 17th and early 18th centuries are considered the ‘golden age’ of azulejos.
the palacio dos marqueses de fronteira in lisbon contains one of the most important collections of azulejos from the ‘golden age’. the michelin green guide describes the quality and the variety of the azulejos at the palacio dos marqueses de fronteira as ‘outstanding.’
the art of azulejo in portugal exhibition catalog | instituto camoes