Bold, extravagant and quirky, the Neo Baroque style can take any space from drab to stunningly fabulous with its colourful, theatrical persona. Not a design style for everyone, this style is a fun, entertaining interpretation of 1600's Baroque. A playful melding of the opulence and grandeur of classic Baroque with contemporary materials, hues and designs, Neo Baroque is known for its creation of spaces imbued with layers of luxurious enigma. This is an aesthetic often seen in the luxury hospitality space, such as in the work of famed Dutch designer Marcel Wanders, internationally known for his iconic Knotted Chair. The creation of the 'Modern Baroque' is credited to renowned interior designer Dorothy Draper, whose trademark cabbage rose chintz, oversized details and numerous mirrors are hallmarks of this style. Characterized by ornate, layered decor; vibrant, splashy colors in unheard of combinations; rich textures and striking ornamentation, the Neo Baroque home is designed to seduce with its artistic, almost illusory feel. Dramatic, larger than life and often with a generous sprinkle of bling. The Neo Baroque design style is perfect for those who truly believe that life is a stage and one that must be embraced with vivaciousness and an exuberant confidence.
Neo Baroque: Alice in Wonderland!
Walk into a Neo Baroque space and you will be forgiven for mistaking it to be straight out of the pages of a beautifully curated, modern day wonderland. Interiors from another time and place with an enduring classic appeal that is as striking as it is timeless. The Neo Baroque style takes the extravagance and pomp of 1600s Baroque and blends it with a contemporary aesthetic. Modern materials, vibrant colours and a touch of whimsy, creating an alluring design style that is innovative and stunningly beautiful.
Fantasies come alive at the iconic Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht, the luxurious boutique hotel created by celebrated Dutch designer and architect Marcel Wanders. Known as the 'Alice in Amsterdam' experience, the Andaz tells the enchanting story of Amsterdam's history through charismatic, sophisticated interiors with a gentle shimmer of whimsy. Dark timber furniture blends with Delft blue ceramics to create an enigmatic undertone; a glittering constellation of stars and planets hangs from a glass ceiling, creating a magical first impression. At Marcel's Mondrian South Beach hotel, styled as 'Sleeping Beauty's castle', private cabanas created with curtains of living foliage and an exquisitely patterned grand floating staircase recreate a modern tale of enchantment.
Branded by the New York Times as the 'Lady Gaga of the design world', Wanders' oeuvre celebrates all things whimsical and experiential. At one of his launches in Milan for iconic brand Moooi which he co-owns, Marcel's then girlfriend, a dancer and an acrobat, hung upside down from a chandelier popping champagne corks and pouring drinks for guests below, creating a Bacchanalian experience of sorts, to simulate an experience that combined a hint of turbulence with romantic fantasy.
Neo Baroque takes some of the quintessential elements of the Baroque style, the extravagant motifs; decadent, curved contours; stucco work; dark colour palette and fuses it with modern materials and fresh, trendy hues. Philippe Starck's Louis XV Ghost Armchair for Kartell is signature Neo Baroque, designed to dazzle and captivate. In a silhouette similar to the traditional Louis XV chair, Starck's version uses translucent injection-moulded polycarbonate instead of the traditional timber frame and upholstered seat and back, for a quirky yet elegant design. The first Louis Ghost armchair created in 2002 was a postmodern celebration of innovation and historic style; the transformation of an ordinary dining chair into sculptural form. Often hailed as the God of product design and known to make even the most banal product look good; Starck is famously known to have said that he can design a chair in two minutes and a hotel in a day and a half! A self proclaimed maverick, he prefers to work alone, sometimes "naked in the bedroom" and calls himself a modern monk who spends a couple of months every year completely secluded, locked in one of his houses and devoting himself entirely to work.
Quirky and entertaining, the Neo Baroque aesthetic is designed to grab your attention with its enigmatic, luxurious appeal. Whimsical and dramatic, you may like it or hate it, but this is a style you definitely cannot ignore!
Making it your own: Create your real life fairy tale
With its enduring love of the golden ages, the Neo Baroque home has its heart firmly in the retro space and its arms outstretched towards a glitzy, visionary fantasy. The beauty and appeal of this style lies in its masterful merging of the past with contemporary strokes that are innovative, whimsical and intensely captivating; creating a timelessness that goes beyond fanciful fads and the latest trend.
Opulent arches, dramatic curves, exaggerated carvings and complex, layered decor characterize the Neo Baroque home. This is a style that demands a lavish use of space to do full justice to its dramatic leanings, and yet seeks to create a layer of intimacy within large spaces. Carefully selected furnishings and vintage accessories merge with mirrored accents and crystal chandeliers. A fresh and bold use of contemporary materials comes into play, rubber chairs in bright pops of lime green or icy blue; acrylic silhouettes with printed carvings; Mondrian style stained glass tiles against custom made wood marquetry and polished stone. Create a sense of gorgeous contrast with a Lucite lamp against a textured wall in gold leaf patterning or add some space age swank with an antique table juxtaposed against Jasper van Grootel plastic chairs.
Dramatic and contrasting color schemes combine with a mix of fabrics and patterns to create a look redolent with luxurious enigma. Shiny black ceilings are offset by jewel tones in sapphire and emerald; burgundy parquet flooring in the finest wood works with bright purples and oranges to create awe inspiring drama. Rich fabrics in velvet, damask and toile create an opulent feel; an indulgent use of high-end silk and gold trim adds to the multi-level sensorial appeal. Oversized floral patterns combine with bold stripes, infusing a generous dash of exuberance. Take a leaf out of legendary interior decorator Dorothy Draper's book and embrace the 'decorating is fun' philosophy so integral to the New Baroque ethos. Recreate the Draper look in your bedroom with swathes of textured wallpaper, burgundy curtains and bedspreads in Draper's trademark cabbage rose patterned chintz and chenille. One of Draper's most famous designs is The Greenbrier Hotel, West Virginia, for which she used 'romance and rhododendrons' as the design inspiration. Each room of the hotel was redesigned from floor to ceiling with Draper's painstaking eye for detail distinctly visible. She apparently threw a hissy-fit on the day of the hotel's grand reopening because a gardener was watering the hotel lawns with a black hose despite her clear specifications that the hose be red!
The perfect theatrical setting needs the right kind of mood; no wonder then that lighting plays a starring role in the Neo Baroque home. Traditional baroque patterns in blown Murano glass get along swimmingly with a super sized, ornate Abigail Ahern chandelier. Starburst ceiling lights glitter over chevron wall sconces, combining with large glass backed windows and custom faux wall finishing to create a room that is light and airy during the day and dramatic and glamorous after dark. Sunburst sconces, a trademark Neo Baroque touch are reminiscent of the time of France's Louis XIV who commissioned the Palais de Versailles to be built in 1661. Known as the 'Sun King', Louis XIV had the palace decorated throughout with images of himself as Apollo the Greek God of the Sun, for he saw himself as a God at the center of the universe, adopting the sun as his emblem.
The Neo Baroque style is strongly characterised by its pursuit of pleasure; its celebration of playfulness. Whimsical elements abound such as rhinoceros feet on a credenza, damask inspired wallpaper on a newsprint backdrop or leather upholstery with canine or equestrian prints. Shapes merge with Cubism to create dramatic faceted decor pieces and sumptuous rococo references and stucco ornamentation bring in a sense of indulgent decadence. And when it's Neo Baroque there's always room for some bling, even if it's your bathroom or utility area! Bring on the shine and shimmer fearlessly with a sparkling diamante rock ledge in your laundry area or a Mathieu Lehanneur inspired liquid marble pedestal stand in your powder room.
Reveal the Neo Baroque side of you
Few people can match your vivacious energy and your constant quest for inspiration from everything that surrounds you. Life for you is a gigantic blueprint; one that you are always drawing from and experimenting with. And a dash of glitzy drama or glamorous turbulence only fires your creativity further! You seek out exciting adventures and experiences that are hard to replicate. Celebrating an anniversary in a hot air balloon or immersed in a scuba diving experience at Kota Kinabalu is exactly the sort of thing that gets your adrenalin pumping. A quiet holiday for you would mean a getaway to the Swedish Lapland, sleeping on ice and discovering snow clad forests, reindeer and cloudberries under the magic of the Northern Lights. The famous Icehotel in Jukkasjarvi, Sweden traces its origins to an exhibition held by French artist Jannot Derid, in a cylinder shaped igloo in the area. One night, due to a lack of availability of rooms in the town, some of the visitors at the exhibition ended up spending the night at the igloo in sleeping bags on top of reindeer skins, and became the first guests of what went on to become the Icehotel.
Your love for luxury fashion draws you to the London Fashion Week every year where you seek out inspired collections from the Renaissance and French Rococo before heading to the high street or your personal couturier to create your signature look with embroidery, needlepoint and tapestry effects on velvet and silk, layered with dramatic costume jewelry. For your work look, there's your go to personal stylist at Selfridges, whose discreet and intimate service appeals to you as much as the forest themed rooftop restaurant and bar with its pink neon accents, twinkly fairy lights and glitter balls. This is a place you often like to unwind at, over a concoction of dark chocolate and mint liqueur and your copy of the Conde Nast Traveller. In the store's early days many forms of entertainment took place in the roof gardens - from dance performances to charity balls. But the rooftop remained closed for over seventy years after it was bombed during the second world war. It reopened in 2009 after Michelin-starred French chef Pierre Koffmann came out of retirement to run an exclusive pop up restaurant there. The contract was extended from a week to over a month and the location has since continued to host many pop ups including restaurants, bars, crazy golf and even a boating lake.
For a night out with friends, cocktails at a glamorous Mayfair or Soho watering hole is your idea of a spiffing evening; followed by a Cantonese meal at Hakkasan where the constantly evolving menu catches your fancy as much as the innovative environment. You'd go to places to indulge your sweet tooth- quite literally! Even if it means transporting your brood in your custom Rolls Royce for the dessert platter at Roka Aldwych or soya milk sorbet and yoghurt snow at The Manor.
The after party always continues at your home where the almost illusory quality of being keeps the sense of euphoria eternally alive. Friends love to unwind there over a screening of the Titanic or Coppola's Apocalypse Now; or just admire the works of Giorgio di Chirico and Salvador Dali on your walls, set to the strains of Stravinsky's Pulcinella. In the artistic, gloriously indulgent setting that is your home, the performance will always be on, the spotlight on you, as you embrace the stage time and again with a fearless candour.