Whether working in busy urban studios or quiet countryside spaces, there’s no denying that makers and creators remain an integral part of Ireland’s culture and workforce. From painted canvas and chiseled stone to woven tapestries and hand-sewn clothing, the art of the handmade item is alive and well.
In fact, General Paints Group is telling the story of what it means to craft and create in Ireland in the only way it knows how: through color.
The company’s new Curator collection features 144 unique paint colors developed and sourced from artists who focus their creative endeavors in Ireland. The palette presents everything from neutral hues that speak to the quiet woodlands of West Cork to bolder shades that evoke the country’s strength and spunk.
“From the very beginning, we wanted to make a collection that was authentic, special and genuine,” says Rachel O’Connor, expert director for General Paints Group and one of the developers of the Curator brand. “[The artists] all had colors that really meant something to them and inspired their work. And for a lot of their work, their muse was Ireland and our lovely landscape.”
O’Connor, who is also heading up Curator’s U.S. presence, says that develop-ing and sourcing the palette was a nearly ﬁve-year journey. After extensive searching, the team worked with 29 Irish designers and artisans to discover the history and heritage behind the colors that inspired them. Although the concept of the palette changed along the way, O’Connor says the goal of capturing “the passion they bring into their work” remained a driving force
O’Connor, who is part of the third generation of General Paints Group’s 65-year history, also points to her company’s own entrepreneurial spirit as part of the collection’s inspiration.
“We’ve always had an admiration for artists and craftspeople. Many are solo entrepreneurs who are doing what they love. We worked with a broad range of artists — potters, millers, sculptors — and although they’re all different, they had one thing in common, and that was color,” she says.
O’Connor speaks fondly of the stories within the pigment and describes some of the bolder colors in the palette. There’s Ancient Black, inspired from the creations of sculptor Ronnie Graham. O’Connor describes the lore of this deep, moody color as “haunting and mystical.”
“[Ronnie] works with what’s called buried oak — it’s oak that’s been buried in a bog for thousands and thousands of years. During the preservation process it turns a beautiful charcoal color,” O’Connor says. “Ronnie believes it emits a mystical power — and he tries to capture that in his sculptures. Interestingly, it’s been one of the most popular colors in our market.”
The Curator collection was intentionally designed to easily discover and combine complementary shades. Here, Ancient Black is paired with Kerr’s Pink and Rose Mantel.
O’Connor also suggests the colors can be used seasonally — such as on flower boxes and planters, furniture or even doors; she describes charming Irish neighborhoods with bright pink, turquoise and other colors adorning the front doors of homes. “But we don’t like to be too prescriptive. There’s no such thing as a wrong color combination,” she adds.
Even the palette’s more traditional hues have a story that is anything but. Horseshoe, for example, is a stone-gray shade, aptly named for Horseshoe Mountain in County Sligo, Ireland, that inspires pottery artist John Ryan.
O’Connor’s personal favorite paint is also bright and bold: Running Tides, a bril-liant aquamarine unique to the seascape paintings of Irish artist Carol Cronin, who has captured the Atlantic Ocean on canvas for decades. (“You might think you could get bored of painting waves, but [her works] are stunning,” O’Connor says.) These brighter, livelier shades off er the “pop of color” that O’Connor sees throughout the commercial interior design market.
“People are starting to be less afraid of taking risks with pops of color. We’re seeing a lot of restaurants, hotels and public spaces take bolder risks. We think it’s a great trend,” she says.
The collection boasts shades like Pulled Rhubarb, Tailored Tweed and Dried Kelp (painted on chairs left to right) that ad richness and depth to ordinary spaces.
“[Ryan] is immersed in the landscape surrounding his workshop, and it inspires these stunning creations,” O’Connor says of the potter’s handmade ceramics. “The color really shines through in his work.”
The collection made its U.S. debut ear-lier this spring in Connecticut and arrives on the West Coast in the fall, including southern California, Portland, Oregon; Scottsdale, Arizona; and Seattle.
Ultimately, the collection aims to not only honor these artists, but to inspire others to use color to express creativity and passion, says O’Connor. And in a way, that allows the consumer to play curator and tell their own story.
“The collection [is a] showcase of Irish craft and talent, but it goes beyond that,” O’Connor explains. “I think home is deeply personal to people. You want it to reﬂect your identity and personal style. When you bring a color into your home, you’re looking for more than just paint. In our collection, every color has a meaning and personality. [It’s] allowing the customers to be their own curator.”
All photos and featured photo courtesy of General Paints Group / Curator.
Architectural tours are gaining popularity as designers revamp historic sites with fresh perspectives and classic details.
Photo by Eirik Johnson
The Glass House found in New Canaan, Connecticut, is an architectural icon and offers ideal tours for families, architecture and nature lovers, and more. The stunning grounds and architectural wonders make for an intriguing visit full of history.
The Glass House is one of 14 structures that can be found on the 49-acre site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in New Canaan, Connecticut. The structure dates back to 1949 and has since been restored to near pristine condition. Described as a pavilion, best used for observing the surrounding landscape, the structure’s walls are made mostly from glass. The house is 55 feet long and 33 feet wide, with 1,815 square feet.
Photos by Michael Biondo
According to The Glass House website, “Philip Johnson, who lived in the Glass House from 1949 until his death in 2005, conceived of it as half a composition, completed by the Brick House. Both buildings were designed in 1945-48.” The Brick House was completed just prior to The Glass House and sharply contrasts the near-unobstructed views by being almost totally encased by brick.
Photo by Eirik Johnson
Other structures on site include the Da Monsta, Studio, Painting Gallery, Pavilion in the Pond, Sculpture Gallery, the Ghost House, and more.
Photos by Michael Biondo
Three tours are offered. Find the one that works for you!
Glass House Tour – One hour
- Tour the glass house and promontory
- Minimal walking
- Concise and enjoyable
Glass House and Galleries Tour – Two Hours
- The most popular
- ¾ mile of walking
- Visit the Glass House, Painting Gallery, Sculpture Gallery, outdoor sculpture, and Da Monsta
Glass House Extended Tour – Two and a Half Hours
Photo by Michael Biondo
Artemest is well-known for its dedication to hand-crafted designs and luxury products. The collections are carefully chosen for their quality and the company works closely with various artists and designers in many different regions around Italy to maintain the highest standards. Artemest and TED Milano working together are bound to impress.
For the first time, Artemest is fully designing a home from start to finish. This will include the home’s range of lighting, stunning decor, and furniture for every room that has been crafted by talented expert Italian artisans and designers. This project is creating spaces and images of contemporary living. Unique immersive experiences are the result.
Living Objects is about bringing life into a space or home. Each piece of furniture and décor has a soul, which will be revealed through the poetry of their movements, infusing life into the house with a series of performances. “This year we have chosen to create an immersive experience that mixes design, art, music, and theater with a touch of technology. As international ambassadors of Made in Italy, it is our mission to provide as many tools as possible to promote the uncompromising quality of which our country is a world leader,” according to Marco Credendino, Artemest Co-Founder and CEO.
The furniture has a unique fluidity to them. The mixture of lines that are rarely simple and the variety of textures will urge guests to explore the items more closely. From the Mosaic Dresser and Synchronicity Desk to the Julep Sofa, your senses will awaken.
Each piece stands out on its own but they have been expertly paired and arranged to achieve a truly unforgettable home.
Living Objects will take place in Via Giovanni Randaccio 5, in a splendid 1930s villa on two floors, located in one of Milan’s most elegant residential areas.
Images courtesy of ARTEMEST. Photos by Matteo Iotti.
Partnering with icons from the design and architecture industry, CITCO — an Italian stone company — has created an impressive home and office collection.
Created in 1990, CITCO continues to reimagine the perception of marble with revolutionary partnerships alongside Zaha Hadid Design, Ora ïto, Daniel Libeskind and Arik Levy.
Zaha Hadid Design
Zaha Hadid Design presents the Malea Coffee Table, with the idea of a spiraling seashell at the heart of the design. Despite being carved from a block of onyx, the table appears malleable with sweeping lines and fluid shape. The transparent acrylic material that is paired with the onyx adds to the complexity of the piece.
The Isa Coffee Table, designed by Ora ïto, also has a sculptural look with bold and curving lines that draw the eye. The table is reminiscent of a table designed by Isamu Noguchi in 1947, but with a clear sense of the new designer.
Arik Levy brings us Negative Spaces, a new series of vases that are available in three different shapes and sizes. With the impression that the pieces have movement, the vases work together to create an energy and depth. The materials are semi-polished Onice Cappuccino, capturing a sense of warmth in nature.
Using sculpture as inspiration for furniture, Daniel Libeskind reveals his Endless Side Table. The piece plays with perception and is multi-functional, quenching the thirst for art and function. A unique viewpoint and manipulation of space, light, and lines have brought a three-dimensional spiral into the home and office space.
Photos courtesy of www.citco.it