Sometimes in our “bigger is better” world, we tend to overlook the little things that offer a new perspective. From an interior design point of view, the big picture is essential to any successful room. But one should never ignore the details — those little objects that give a room its texture and charm. When it comes to objects that play with proportion, our favorite object is the architectural model.
Architectural models originally were (and still are) tools that architects used to show a building’s design for approval by a client. Many of the world’s greatest buildings, from antiquity to the modern age, were first built in a small scale for this very reason. The delight of those tiny buildings made them wonderful objects in their own right. Eventually, miniature architectural follies were created simply to delight the eye, or perhaps to serve as a tiny temple. This early 19th century gilded Italian tempietto (left) fit that latter category, but now sits on a library table in a sun-drenched room. With its elegant gothic arches and dome reminiscent of the Duomo in Florence, it allows one to see historic architecture from a different point of view.
Because of our great admiration of classical architecture, we designed a table based on one of the most recognizable buildings in the western world — the Parthenon. Cast in rich, patinated bronze and set on a painted wood plinth, a sleek piece of heavy glass creates the table surface. Our Parthenon Table gives even a very modern room an injection of architectural antiquity.
The western world isn’t the only place where a passion for beautiful architecture in miniature is admired. The Taj Mahal has been endlessly and beautifully reproduced in carved ivory for tourists for centuries. The piece above, however is not a copy of that splendid monument, but perhaps was inspired by it. The elegant columns and Indian dome protect an ancient head while blossoms in simple glass cups create a spring-like garden on the floor of the piece.
Such models give us a glimpse of architecture that we could only otherwise see if we were the fifty-foot woman. These Lilliputian structures are historically interesting, visually delightful and add a great architectural interest to the rooms lucky enough to hold them.