The show season is upon us in a big way, with the Merchandise Mart International Fair just concluded in Chicago, and the International Fair in New York now underway. The San Francisco Fall Antiques Show will preview this coming Wednesday, briefly overlapping the New York show. The country is blanketed in quality fairs. Is this overkill? Not in my opinion, as the best fairs provide not only a buying opportunity, but an educational opportunity for interior designers and collectors both. With the inclusion of 20th century design in most fairs, the move toward eclecticism in contemporary interiors is made manifest, with plenty of dealers, including Chappell & McCullar, blending contemporary and period art and design in their show stands. It’s interesting, when we began to do this a couple of years ago, taking our lead from Godson and Coles in London, famed for their pairing of cutting edge art with 18th century English furniture, we found we were befuddling our clients. Even two years ago, designers had a general tendency to pair type with type- contemporary interiors contained only 20th and 21st century design, and period interiors with period design. At last we’ve seen a synthesis, with a blending of objects and artwork from all periods in the same interiors, and where the attempts might formerly have been at least quirky and often bizarre, now popular design has found its sea legs. We’ve changed, too. Our galleries now include examples of late 17th century Baroque within spitting distance of classic mid century modern.
If I’m trying to say anything in this blog entry, it is that the fairs, often thought as traditional and dowdy, have become the crucible of 21st century interior design. Go out this next week, and see for yourself. By the way, please don’t leave your wallet at home.