Dessert Modern blooms in High Point
A style movement that has been steadily developing over the last two to three seasons, thanks to Ralph Lauren now has a name: Desert Modern.
As seen at the High Point Market, it is rustic, quite substantial in scale, expressed in rough hewn woods with lots of grain action and boxy modern in shape. Textiles draw on textures and leathers for emphasis, and accessorization is spare.
The collection is gathering attention here where it is on exhibit at E.J. Victor, a Ralph Lauren licensee.
I called it Chalet Style a year ago in one of my blogs when evidence of the direction first surfaced at the European trade shows. It was clear there that the furniture, textiles and accessories were largely influenced by Europe's luxury ski resorts: Gstaad, Kitzbuehel and Cortina d'Ampezzo.
However, here in America, the new direction instead seems to have taken its cues from the sprawling ranch residences typical of our native West - Montana, Nevada, California or Arizona - all at least partially in desert territories where the skies are big and the land seems endless. Yet the furniture marks quite a departure from the former "lodge" look or Southwestern style.
The style also incorporates Arts and Crafts elements suggested by the hand-hewn quality of many of the pieces and the basic simplicity of the forms. Stickley, of course, has been the specialist in this area, but its collections tend to be archival while the newly emerging pieces are decidedly modern.
Traces can be found in other collections, in Modern Craft chairs here or large trunks used as cocktail tables and large seating pieces there, all covered in steer hide - another take on the movement frequently found in a variety of showrooms.
Although largely expressive of an American design movement, Tommy Bahama for Lexington followed a similar train of thought with the introduction of Road To Canberra, exploring the indigenous style of Australia's wide open spaces. The collection showcases a dynamic blending of natural elements including quartered Ash and Mindo veneers, travertine tops, woven leather, aged metal, woven lampakanai and petrified wood., One of the distinctive design elements are woven veneer panels used on case fronts that add texture, dimension and visual interest.