4 Jun 2015

Design Interlude - Candy Pink Palaces

This post is a personal design indulgence of mine and a little vanity project in progress, amongst my many areas of interest. I have a thing for good design and more than a casual appreciation for 'olde worlde' interiors, exteriors, homestyles, graphics and the likes. The last time I did a 'Design Interlude' was over 5 years ago, where I featured sublime Cheshire residential façades from my then neck of the woods (Hale, Bowdon and Altrincham). I had taken snapshots of candy-coloured façades, that looked like they had escaped the confines of a 3-tiered tea-time cake stand, and eloped in their delicious robes of custard cream, buttercream fancy, chiffon cake and marshmallow, taking me down a cottage industry journey of delicate mint cake, lemon truffle, deep caramel, old-fashioned violet and rose creams, candied ginger, strawberry truffle, butterscotch, coconut macaroon and vanilla fudge… Are we under the spell of a sugar high or are we not?

(pict source)

When Wes Anderson's critically-acclaimed film The Grand Budapest Hotel came out and its majestic façade rose upon our screens and graced the glossies in its wedding cake strawberry meringue colourings and piped lettering, I knew straight away that I was faced with an art that I loved. Anderson's quirky formula is sublime in my eye: the nostalgia-ladden cartoonesque naïve art visuals in candy pastel graphics and the surrealist art direction which both celebrate vintage to an artform are a great fit to my all-encompassing design passions. I had to extol this proud and loud in my blog, no matter how long it would take me to get round to it, which ended up being more than 12 months after the movie release (eeek how responsive is that?).

Finally the moment has come to be enjoyed, as I am looking at the façade and imagining the stories and dramas and quid pro quos that lie underneath the apparent sober tranquillity and contained gracefulness of the place. Meanwhile I invite you to go backstage and find out about Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel graphic designer, Annie Atkins, via an insightful article by Camille Styles, or how she met the visual feat challenges raised by such a high-profile project brief for a sought-after dream job!

(pict source)

Talking of candy pink palaces, how could I possibly resist other gems, especially if they are no fiction, but rather a sweet and welcome part of our reality? Hawa Mahal, otherwise known as Palace of Winds (Jaipur, India, completed 1799) springs to my mind, as immortalised herein by Studio Yuki in all its intricate beauty and timeless charm:

Hawa Mahal (pict source)

Some candy pink palaces out there in India are crumbly around the edges, like this one in Benarés. We may nonetheless appreciate its fading glory. The top storey certainly looks well kept and - since we are in a sweet-focused mood - I would say that its ornate décor reminds me of some girlie birthday cake decoration piping. If sweetness is bringing you sickness, we'll steer the façade analogy clear of sugar and steer it towards bejewelling instead.

Benarés, India (pict source)

Anyway if nostalgia tastes like a cream cake from childhood baked with tender loving care, I wonder what a whiff of nostalgia would smell like? I shall dispense with a spray of pure musk from L'Air de Panache, found lingering on a bedside cabinet at The Grand Budapest Hotel. Maybe I'll go for a drop of Guerlain instead.

L'Air de Panache (pict source)

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