Sunday, August 22, 2004

The Stairwell, Midland Grand St. Pancras Hotel, London

As a decorative painter, this place gave me the vapors. Every surface that could be painted, was painted. What wasn't painted was marble or some sort of ornate surface. I happen to love Gothic architecture, whether revival or the original, and it lends itself well to stenciling and rich heraldic colors. I was just in heaven looking at the styles and techniques that were used 130 years ago. It was Stencil Nirvana. It made me want to get my hands on my paints and brushes, grab those stencils and start decorating yet again.

The walls had been painted over in really horrible colors during the hotel's life as offices. Restorationists are now removing those sordid industrial layers of paint and revealing the original patterns and colors. 90% of them are stencilled patterns, hand painted, and a good amount of it remains, hidden under 3-4 layers of paint. It was hugely inspiring to me to see the different levels of paint, and in some cases there were 2-3 layers of patterned designs under the flat greys and greens. The first was high Victorian, then the second, done only a few years later in an "update" for the hotel, a William Morris craftsman style and the third was art nouveau! Layer upon layer of design, technique and history. The debate now is which to preserve and which would be lost forever.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Karla! Very cool pictures. I too love Gothic architecture. If you get a chance, go to Strasbourg, France. They have an incredible cathedral there. You'll wet yourself (I did!)! LOL


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