Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Road Well Travelled

I've had a passion for twentieth century art and literature for as long as I can remember, it was only after several years at art school that I came to work in the field of design. The way that creative thinkers have felt compelled to overcome society's insistence on living a a life more ordinary has always held a fascination for me. One of my very favourite books, originally purchased because of my interest in Jean Cocteau, is 'Writer's Houses'.

Written by the former editor-in-chief of Italian Vogue and Casa Vogue, who now works at French Vogue, Francesca Premoli-Droulers. A cursory glance at the stunning images of remnants of mid-century life lived without surrender will reveal a parallel aesthetic trajectory along which the likes of KWID may have traveled. I remain fascinated.

On another note entirely, I've been looking at some flooring solutions and came across this last night. Being a total devotee of the great British decorator David Hicks, I felt compelled to share it:

David Hick's iconic 1960's designs have been set in stone by Studium. Nine of the motifs, including my favourites 'Isfahan' and 'Fiorentina', have now been reproduced by his son Ashley Hicks as floor tiles in marble and limestone. Prices start at $75 per square foot. I'm still waiting on Australian pricing, which may prove prohibitive considering the tyranny of distance. More details are available at

Saturday, May 30, 2009

EmpireLady: Resident Muse

Empire Design is home to a resident muse: EmpireLady, she is somewhat misleading about her age, which is somewhere between 35 and 235 on a bad day. Having recently mastered the use of a very old typewriter, she likes to make a contribution to this blog.

We warn that there have been occasions when EmpireLady has been banned from the blog, and in fact the office in general .... largely as a consequence of a range of difficult behaviours, usually brought on by a somewhat inappropriate fascination with Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and Madame Arcati, with whom she is strictly forbidden to communicate.

On the whole we must say that EmpireLady can be most charming, despite a somewhat brittle temperament. She is a lover of modern art who rather approves of Daphne Guinness and Oscar Wilde and is currently to be found in a deckchair, on the lawn, reading a text on the demise of the three great European Empires in the C20th and is applying what she has learned to her obsession with ephemera from that era, stating: one must understand that the art of 'living in collapse' requires just a little more style .....

Friday, May 29, 2009

First Post

Well, this is my very first attempt at a post. I have been reading Blogs for quite some time now, and I must say, with enormous appreciation.

My spelling will reveal me as British, as my ever vigilant spell checker reminds me, but I am based in Australia. I am one of those people with a curious double-life. Half of me engages with the world in my capacity as a Legal Practitioner specialising in Crime, and the other half (seemingly on the run from the law) operates Empire Design, a company specialising in Interior Decoration, Design and Antiques. As opposed as these two realities first appear, they are both based on disciplined problem-solving and a sometimes vast cataloguing ability. Despite this, life remains a balancing act. This Blog will not be about the law, although it is possibly about my escape from it!

It is my sincere wish that this visual list of inspiring things, of interests and obsessions, will be enjoyable. I have struggled to think of where to start, and I can not think of a better place to begin than with someone who was Coco Chanel's muse who I am sure would have been a blogger ..... if he could have been a blogger..... and this is a photograph of his desk below, the inimitable Jean Cocteau.

I found this image, unattributed, on a French website but I suspect that it should be properly attributed to the photographer Erica Lennard.

Cocteau's House at Milly-la-Foret and the man himself below
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