So I read something about wigs yesterday, and that got me thinking of Madeleine Castaing. (And for those of you who are sick to death of reading about Castaing and her wig with the chin strap, I know and agree. She was so much more than that wig, but what a wig it was.) One of my very favorite Castaing rooms is the Paris bedroom of composer Baron de Banfield, which I am assuming was decorated in the 1950s or early 1960s.
I think that what strikes me about this room is the architecture. The apartment itself was in a modern building, so Castaing had to employ architectural improvisations. The designer chose to imbue the apartment with an 1830s feel (think Regency, Charles X, and Biedermeier), which explains the use of arches and columns throughout the space. Because Castaing felt the bedroom was too long, she added an arched alcove at one end with closets on either side. (Don't you love those closet doors?) A bronze Directoire bed was placed within the niche, but according to the accompanying text, it rested only halfway in the alcove. Quite honestly, it looks to me like it's pressed up against the wall, but what do I know. Still, if it was positioned the way the text says it was, it would have given the perception of depth.
Another bold design gesture was the color choice: red. An unusual choice for a bedroom certainly, but the fact that the walls were covered in red fabric might mean that the effect was more cocoon-like. But to me, the most striking aspect of this room (other than those fabulous closet doors) is the "braiding" that was used on the walls. Castaing trimmed the walls with it, and cleverly created crown molding with it as well. In the top photo, notice how she took the fabric over the edge of the ceiling.
The same fabric was used in the small hall that led from the bedroom to the bathroom. Note the criss-crossed braiding on the ceiling.
If I'm not mistaken, the braiding was one of Castaing's signature fabrics. If it looks familiar, it might be because the same Castaing fabric (or one that looks awfully similar) also made an appearance in Lisa Fine's Paris flat, featured in the current issue of Lonny.
See the fabric on the little slipper chair? Looks similar to the Castaing fabric, don't you think?
Many of the fabrics that were hallmarks of Castaing's work are available through Clarence House, including my all time favorite "Coppelia". But, for a fabric with a similar feel, there's also Cassaro's "Bergama" in Wineberry.
(Castaing photos from The Finest Rooms in France; Fine photos from Lonny magazine, Miguel Flores Vianna photographer.)