Regina Sturrock Design

“study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”


― Frank Lloyd Wright

My inspirations in design and art are so very often taken from nature. Anyone who knows me understands my love for connecting with the outdoors. Hiking through the woods is always a journey of discovery for me. It’s a special time when I can turn off the world and find some inner peace; some ‘power of the now’. 

It’s amazing what one can see with a clear mind and some fresh air. Colours and textures, forms and patterns are so perfectly intertwined in the natural world and the detail is so exquisite. The greatest artist could not create such simplicity and complexity within one piece. 

I often snap photos of the large and the small; of various things that catch my eye while I’m walking. I want to study them later and perhaps even put them to canvas. Invariably however, the lesson is best taken in during the moment of perception. It’s an animated and multi-sensory teaching. Light and shadow dance over the composition and sculpt it or veil it. Movement and time create continuous and endless variation in pattern. Every now and then a random element falls into the screenshot; a natural eclecticism, I would venture to call it. It’s always perfectly suited it seems. 

This week’s walk held some magic. It was very quiet. Winter still had its hold but there was promise in the air and a stir in the streams. It’s so different from season to season, this place I call my inspiration trail. I know it well but it always shows me something new.

To collaborate with mother nature is to work with the greatest designer. This was the mantra of Zinc Textiles for their latest collection. I found it so interesting how these textiles collided with my recent trail photos. The large scale moire wallcovering reminds me of the concentric rings of the felled tree I saw; a beautifully unfolded pattern. The pattern is fluid when embroidered on velvet and tends to take on the ripples of water.

I love birch trees.  I was intrigued to see a slubby yarn woven on a lustrous ground mimic my favourite tree. 

A foil printed velvet is another beauty fabric that spoke to me as water over pebbles. I could watch the water weave it’s rippled path forever and to see this applied to textile is brilliant. How beautiful this animated fabric would be set in a modern space with natural elements. 

Beauty and art is a continuous reinvention. To see and understand the simple design of the natural world is a privilege and one of life’s greatest gifts. 

 

The Evolution of a Spirited Building

“It is better to preserve than to repair, better to repair than to restore, better to restore than to reconstruct.” A.N. Didron

At one time a group of artists used the walls of an old abandoned building as their canvas. The expressive brushstrokes are now forever part of the many layers composing the historical Couvent des Recollets in Paris.

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Constructed in 1604, the structure was originally a convent. It has led a rich and illustrious life, later serving as a military barrack, a textile factory, a hospice, a military hospital, a university teaching hospital and a school of architecture. Ultimately the old-soul-of-a-building was boarded up when a fire displaced its final occupants, the group of artists, in 1992.

A glorious preservation of the decay then took place by commissioned architects Karine Chartier and Thomas Corbasson. As a powerful continuation of history, the building now takes on its next role; an architectural cultural centre named the Maison de l’Architecture. 

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The architects’ approach is a full expression of the 20th century preservation movement. This is not about restoration. Preserving the evolution of a building and allowing the individual strata of time to shine through is part of a philosophy established by one of the great English romantics, John Ruskin. In The Seven Lamps of Architecture (1848), Ruskin cautions against falsely restoring history. He writes that restoration “means the most total destruction which a building can suffer: a destruction out of which no remnants can be gathered; a destruction accompanied with false description of the thing destroyed.”

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With this understanding, the architects have carefully integrated new function as yet another layer; a continuation of history. The richly textured walls are simply varnished to protect the old. 

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In the floor of the chapel area an embedded metal plague can be raised and folded as a movable backdrop. It functions as a versatile public reception area.

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Other plagues are integrated into walls for both display and equipment storage. The design is based on ‘patches’ of integration. 

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In its twilight years, the building is now more beautiful than ever and serves as a truly unique place to gather, support and train creatives. The great narrative continues. 

 

A Perfect Imperfection

I am convinced that a good building must be capable of absorbing the traces of human life and taking on a specific richness… I think of the patina of age on materials, of innumerable small scratches on surfaces, of varnish that has grown dull and brittle, and of edges polished by use.

- Peter Zumthor

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There is an inherent beauty in time worn walls; a perfect imperfection. The layer upon layer of colourful peeling paint on chalky plaster and the subtle vestiges of frescoes and bas-relief friezes express a wise and idiosyncratic mastery of life. The architecture has paid its dues and the soul is undeniable.

Perhaps it’s the romantic essence of an old building that entrances us.  It speaks of another time; of old craft, historical art, music and literature. 

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Edgar Degas

Is it the tenacity of layered patinas that linger on ornate details that resonates with us? The muted glimmer of a once glorious gilding can bring forth wistful associations of historical glamour. Or perhaps it`s the cloudy haze of an antique mirror with its softened and imperfect reflection that keeps us spellbound. 

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Ah, the wisdom of an old building and the intricate stories it holds in the material layers of its interior. Just as the word ‘mature’ would suggest, there is a definable resiliency, savvy and complexity to an old structure. It intrigues and fascinates. It inspires new creation. 

 




Summoning Spring

” Oh, Spring! I Want To Go Out And Feel You And Get Inspiration. My Old Things Seem Dead. I Want Fresh Contacts, More Vital Searching” - Emily Carr 

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Image via Dior 

Now that the Winter Olympics are over it’s time to focus on the next great event…. Spring!  It is on its way, right? 

I recently posted ‘Design it and it will come” on twitter, in reference to the lovely spring and summer colour forecasts on the horizon for the warmer part of this year.

Even though I tend to take a slight veer from the annual trends in my designs, I am certainly welcoming these predictions with open arms.  A kaleidoscope of colour cannot be denied. Serene ocean-blues, sensual earthy hues and romantic opaque pastels with diaphanous sheens are all part of a highly creative mix. They seem to have been plucked directly from an artist’s well-used palette.

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image via Pantone

Pantone is prescribing a ‘colourful equilibrium’ wherein soft, romantic pastels dance freely amid vivid hues. Sounds like the confident and well-traveled side of femininity wouldn’t you agree?

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Modern and opaque pastel tones with a dash of spicy heat take shape in transparent diaphanous layers as showcased on New York’s Spring/Summer Fashion Week. Bibhu Mohapatra’s abstracted and painterly marks and warped photographic florals are confidence in fluid motion. 

The top ten Pantone colours for spring 2014 are based around three adaptable pastels; Placid Blue, Violet Tulip and Hemlock. In nature, they are seen in harmony with all colours of the spectrum and therefore they are, intrinsically, beautiful background colours.

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When paired with the high-pitched and tropical side of the palette which includes Cayenne, Dazzling Blue, Freesia, Celosia Orange and of course, the star, Radiant Orchid, it’s pure alchemy.

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Image via Behance

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Versace expresses the creative mix of pastels and vibrant hues within patterns of large scale abstract blooms and blurred geometry on sheer and light reflecting materials. With this composition comes an undeniable sense of individualism and free spirit.

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Elle Decor features ‘Placid Blue’. It’s a reassuring and tranquil pastel which pairs naturally with the full spectrum of colour just as it does in nature. 

Two quintessential neutrals which may be paired or can stand alone with confidence ground the spring palette; a lightly toasted hue called ‘Sand’ and the sophisticated dove grey ‘Paloma’.  

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Painted floral and hand-rendered studies are part of Red Valentino’s line-up.The toasty sand hue is amicable and warm and is great for combining.  

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The Milan Spring/Summer Fashion week showcases Botanical engravings and illustrative landscapes which are poised and sophisticated in the classic ‘Paloma’ grey. 

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Elle Decor’s featured Manhattan apartment by Rafael de Cardenas brings the palette to full circle with ‘Radiant Orchid’, a vivacious counterpart to ‘Violet Tulip’. This vibrant Colour of the Year strikes the full realization of balance and equilibrium; a perfect companion to pastels and a confident addition to other bold colours. 

Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Colour Institute expresses it this way, “ This season, consumers are looking for a state of thoughtful, emotional and artistic equilibrium. While this need for stability is reflected in the composition of the palette, the inherent versatility of the individual colours allows for experimentation with new looks and colour combinations.” 

A free spirit seems to be revelling in fashion and design. This is what intrigues me and inspires my next designs! Finally, a trend that is flexible and adaptable. Within this there lies certain balance and timelessness.