faux bamboo furniture in hollywood regency design

faux bamboo has been included in a lot of design styles: rococo, art deco, …and now hollywood regency.  for a touch of asian exotic, go with faux bamboo. 

Oriental Chinese style (20th Cent) faux bamboo altar console table with carved teak floral filigree apron

Oriental Chinese style (20th Cent) faux bamboo altar console table with carved teak floral filigree apron @ newel.com

 

faux bamboo chair

faux bamboo chair @ artcollector-usa

faux bamboo is a thought provoking combination of nature and man made materials and geometry. bamboo’s uniform growth pattern lends itself to manmade replication.  the embellishment has a pleasing aspect, but i find myself arguing with the fakeness of the result.  

faux bamboo mirror at art collector usa

faux bamboo mirror @ artcollector-usa

real bamboo tapers gently.  i miss the natural uneven dimensions.  and for me it is always a common building supply.  

i grew up in hong kong where bamboo scaffolding was a part of the always persistent culture of construction.  small chinese men fearlessly whipped that stuff together as they climbed the towering grids that wrapped the tall buildings.  sometimes it blew down a bit in typhoons, but it was cheap and easy to replace.  for me, bamboo evokes confidence and strength, but a normal everyday kind.   

bamboo scaffolding in HK

bamboo scaffolding in Hong Kong

bamboo’s fast growth is amazing.  one botanical garden near my house walks you through a great variety of species, and the winding path through the unique dense forest is quite magical.  

bamboo at kanapaha botanical gardens, gainesville, florida

bamboo at kanapaha botanical gardens, gainesville, florida

bamboo

bamboo

i don’t have faux bamboo at my house.  i prefer cleaner simpler lines.  however, if you like the ornamented hollywood regency style, some bamboo look alike accents fit in wonderfully, with more polished symmetry than the original, and in all types of materials.  

Faux Bamboo (Italian 1940s) style gilt metal nest of 3 coffee tables with rectangular glass tops @ newel.com

Faux Bamboo (Italian 1940s) style gilt metal nest of 3 coffee tables with rectangular glass tops @ newel.com

in search of the perfect lounge chair – betty joel and art deco

do you have $37,500.00 handy?  if so, you may be interested in this chaise lounge chair attributed to betty joel.  it is available at newel, nyc.   i like betty joel’s style.  and she was a brit, born and raised in hong kong, like me.  so she gets extra points. 

Betty Joel)

English Art Deco maple recamier of sleigh form upholstered in white cotton with fringed edge (attr: Betty Joel), $37.000 at newel

joel was influenced by the chinese art she was surrounded by in hong kong, and though she lived through the first world war, she was not so shocked and disillusioned by war as were the europeans. her contemporary modernist designers at bauhaus were philosophically warped and became overly idealist.  millinary works, uk describes joel, on the other hand, as “a confident realist, not concerning herself with design theory, political ideology or an art movement.”   joel’s work just has a flair and fun about it that makes me smile.   

Betty Joel 1894 – 1985, british art deco designer

Betty Joel 1894 – 1985, british art deco designer

art deco chaise-longue, by betty joel, england 1930

art deco chaise-longue, by betty joel, england 1930

hong kong, which was a british crown colony, is a great place to grow up as a brit.  it builds you up and brings you down at the same time.  you are called, to your face, a “gwai lo”, (well, you can’t spell it in english) but it means ‘white devil.’  you are on the one hand not welcome, a foreigner, part of an overlord race that is unjustified, that should not be there  (hong kong was sort of stolen from the chinese).  but on the other hand you are also admired and respected.  hong kong provided a well governed haven for chinese escapees from mao’s communism (in the 1960s and 70s, when i was there). it was also an incredible opportunity for any hard working person to reap the benefits of living at a cultural crossroad and a great hub of world commerce. people were desperate, thankful and skeptical all at the same time.  

there is something about being born and raised in a multicultural place, and especially a non-country sort of place like hong kong, that causes you not to take any national culture or human ideology very seriously.  the best way to live is to realize that every national culture has its strengths and its stupidities.

when joel and her naval husband moved to england after the war, they wanted unique furniture for their modern home.  friends asked them for duplicates and this led to their successful art deco business.  you can almost see tasseled ladies leaping up from these chaise lounges to dance the charleston.