Mlinaric on Decorating (Anglais) Relié – Illustré, 21 octobre 2008
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Mlinaric's reputation and his eclectic style led to work outside of England as well. He did interior decorating on projects in Italy, Corfu, France, Ireland, and also Texas and New York. The sites of his work range from city to country to water side to rural; the projects, from apartments and individual rooms to sections and private and public areas of manors. This variety of work is displayed in the thirteen chapters on individual projects and in a few cases similar type of project throughout Europe and a couple of spots in the U.S. Several photographs of different sizes from wide angle for entire rooms to close-ups for details of particular objects or groupings capture the accomplishment of the interior design. Mlinaric decorates a room as its architect might imagine it to be decorated ideally. Spacing, colors, shapes, central utilitarian objects such as sofas or beds, and furnishings such as lamps, ceramics, or bronzes make each room unique, inviting, and habitable. Mlinaric seamlessly and singularly bridges the usual, conventional divide between private and public. The objects of his designs--whether chosen by him or givens as with museum pieces--attract, and satisfy, one intellectually and sensually; while their placement (in spots in rooms of homes) or presentation (in museums) gives off an aura of intimacy and ease. This bridging of private and public is accomplished by one's conscious or unconscious involvement with the objects. In museums, this can be paintings, sculptures, or objects d'art; in private homes, often these combined with finely-bound books, ornately-framed mirrors, simply-shaped lamp shades, and combinations of formal-looking and generously-padded furniture.
Curiosity about how Mlinaric acquired his knowledge and vision is answered in the first chapter. Born in 1939, Mlinaric attended London's Bartlett School of Architecture; which at the time followed a historical approach to the study of architecture. This traditional approach included subjects such as "sciagraphy," the science of how shadows are cast and in so doing affect architecture. Travel to his father's birthplace of Yugoslavia and to Italy and France complemented his sound, traditional learning. In Paris, by chance he came upon the shop of the legendary decorator Madeleine Castaing. Its collection of mixed objects and materials made a lasting impression on him. Such are some origins of Mlinaric's outstanding design sense which is both uncompromising over decades and adaptable to the nature of each particular project. His characteristic eclecticism has no relationship to collage, pastiche, or kitsch. It is a reflection of classical education, wide-ranging experience and interests, and intuitions of space. He absorbed Madeleine Castaing's remark about designing rooms as poets write poems.
This book details many of those projects, although it would have been sublime to have had more of his private work featured. His own homes are included in the book as well as the homes of his business partners. His work is not flamboyant - there's a historic element and appropriateness you will see. But his work is highly original He believes in the philosophy one should "set houses free" to speak for themselves, this book tells us. Written by Mirabel Cecil who has written for WORLD OF INTERIORS and COUNTRY LIFE, Cecil has known Mlinaric since 1975. He asked her to write the book as he was reticent to use the words 'I' and 'me' in talking about design. Although I love to hear designers and artists talk about their work, you have to admire his humility.
Cecil writes of Mlinaric's approach: "He does not specialize in any period but is conversant with many...his priority - that what an object, whether a piece of furniture or a picture, a book or a rug, IS matters more than its condition - has been inspirational in the creation and the arrangement of interiors during the decades covered by this book." The book's narration travels chronologically through his career and ends with his latest country home decorated rather simply. This home in Somerset, called Spargrove, has lovely limewashed colored walls that look like water color paint. There are 200 photographs, 175 of them in full color. There were many full-page images - you wish that most of them were. The paper is thick and the color seemed fairly true.
You realize with Mlinaric's 50-plus year career, there were probably many more projects which didn't make it into the book or magazines, and you can't help to want to see more of this talented designer's work. This is a lovely compilation of his talent.
Mlinaric's taste is quite interesting, quite subtle both in mixing styles and in the finishing details, a kind of studied insouciance, quite gracious. Students of decorating will learn a lot. Mlinaric has a sense of historical and modern beauty that is unflashy, deep, and meaningful. The writing is very good at pointing out details and telling the decorator's story.
of this true "master of The English Approach" to restoration
and dssign. British taste at it's best.