Sunday, December 10, 2006

Royal Pavilion at Brighton

On my recent trip to England, I was able to spend the day in Brighton visiting the Royal Pavilion. To be able to see this Chinoiserie fantasy up close was a dream come true.

Built by George IV, the Royal Pavilion was initially a smaller, neoclassical style structure designed by Henry Holland. About thirty years later (in 1815), John Nash was hired to expand the home into its current incarnation- an Indian style palace characterized by onion domes and minarets.

While the exterior is awe-inspiring, it is the interiors, in my opinion, that make the Pavilion most remarkable. The Banqueting Room is a mesmerizing mix of Chinese (or at least a British interpretation of) elements- fretwork wall covering, gilt dragons, and Chinese inspired murals. This ostentatious display is continued in the Music Room, which is also decorated in a similar style and is grandly topped by a gilt capiz shell dome.

What I was taken with is that many of the rooms seem so current. I could see taking certain elements of the decor- perhaps the Chinese style wallcoverings and the Regency furniture- and using them in a contemporary setting. I think this is why the Royal Pavilion continues to inspire and fascinate designers today.

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