The Perfect Black

Elizabeth Bolognino exploring design & environment.


February 2012

A Moment Between – Saturday AM Greats

I’m catching up on all things internet this Saturday AM, and would like to share a few of my favorite blogs & things that make my morning great.

Recommended Stationary Provider:

Recommended Skin Regimen:

Recommended Coffee: (and where to find it)

Recommended Laugh out Loud Funny:

Happy Weekend xoEB

Breakfast (Lunch & Dinner) working on Tiffany’s

While in grad school at Pratt (seems like another lifetime), Yabu Pushelberg hired me fulltime as a Junior Designer.  YP changed the way I approach, the way I interact, and the way I perceive design.   They also train designers to become proficient in all aspects of the design process, including hand renderings, concepting, design development and construction detailing.  Below is the first project I worked on with YP, Tiffany & Co. on Wall Street.

Initial Concept Sketch

We collaborated with lighting genius Ingo Maurer on the crystal water droplet light fixtures.

The building is a landmarked bank vault on Wall Street.


2012 Color Trends – Green is NOT it (for me).

According to House Beautiful &, Green is the “it” color for 2012.  I know, it coincides with Spring (fertility, blossoming, new beginnings etc.) and has a fresh feeling from Winter’s palette.

Color Alert “Green” 2012-2013

Why try to force a hamster into the wheel?  I’m not buying it.  There’s something a bit Dorothy Draper that doesn’t fit my aesthetic, however I applaud designers who dare to use Green.  It’s a risk, and sometimes it works brilliantly.  Steven Gambrel did a nice job in this traditional hallway, as well as James Aman for his use of Benjamin Moore’s Tasty Apple/black combination.

I’m dedicating this blog post to my current color of the moment – Blue – Luscious, Cobalty, Clarity, Breeze on your Back – Blue.  Lately, I can’t get enough of these pigmented, saturated hues which stride the lines between Primary, Indigo & Teal.

Each shade of blue tells a story…

Loving Le Creuset’s Marseille Blue Bakeware

The Sicilian nod gained extra props with my Sicilian-born mother-in-law:

French artist Yves Klein patented “International Blue” in 1960.  My prior bosses, George Yabu & Glenn Pushelberg, own a Klein Table which encapsulates this perfect Blue pigment.

I’m inspired by the crisp white light juxtaposed with rich blues.

The aqua water is perfectly cupped against the blue sky.

My friend Ladyshark of took this photo yesterday in Venice. What a difference a little color makes!

Finally, the thick blue glass below are a perfect compliment to an indoor/outdoor setting…


The Next Big Thing

I am so tired of the design world’s homage to reclaimed, twenties-era environments.

Don’t get me wrong – it was a grand idea at first. When Williamsburg’s Moto ( was the only place in town that had dimly lit prohibition era decor, it was something to behold. The food was excellent (anyone up for mussels and date cake? Or shall we get Oznot’s Dish for takeout?), and the music perfectly suited the environment.  Freeman’s followed suit in 2004 which opened a huge can of worms for the rest of the country.

So what is the next trend in restaurant design?

I would take inspiration from the late Bauhausian artist Eva Zeisel who passed on December 30th, 2011.  She was 105. Her pottery exhibits grace & fluidity, a stark contrast from today’s rustic trends.

In the late 1880’s, Art Pottery gained momentum. Potters combined animal & floral motifs of the Art Nouveau movement with linear shapes.  This transitioned pottery styles in the US to the Arts & Crafts period during the early 1900’s.  Artists recognized during this time are Bauer & McCoy, know for their matte white pottery (Early Californian style).  I love the combination of Art Nouveau florals mixed with early deco lines in the McCoy piece below.

McCoy & Bauer also dedicated their craft to animal sculptures.

While searching for images, I found the ELPA piece on Ebay below. The purity of the lines are a perfect addition to any collected decor. 

How does all this pottery translate to Interior Design?  For starters, I love the look & feel of Gesso which can be heavily applied to an interior surface.

Creative Surfaces company Ambitec out of New Zealand has created a “Bone China” finish, seen below:

Interiors by Archimedia in Auckland NZ

Will this become the Next Big Thing in Restaurant design?  I have no idea.  However, it would be a nice backlash to the rustic, heavy feel of today’s Prohibition Design.  xoEB

Take a Lemon, Make a Porsche.

I’m putting the finishing touches on a fantastic project in Chelsea.  The apartment is modern, sophisticated and fun.  My clients had a pair of chairs that were very special to them, but in not-so-great shape…

To accentuate the linearity of the chair,  I ran the stripe horizontally on the side (atypical by upholstery standards).  We chose Maharam’s Paul Smith Bespoke Stripe in Black.

It’s important to drape the chair before upholstering to make sure the stripes are in their perfect place (Thanks to Paul @ United for his impeccable work).

The end result turned out to be nothing less than stellar…

I’ll be posting professional shots of the entire project in March.  xoEB

Concept to Completion : Chelsea Breakfront Cabinet

In late 2011, I was contacted to design a pink dining piece for a creative Chelsea family. I decided the best way to achieve optimal function/form was to do a play on a traditional breakfront cabinet. My design inspiration drew from Chippendale & Federal style breakfronts. Slightly raised off the floor, I paired a traditional crown with cabriole legs. I then added stainless silver detail, slightly antiqued mirror and high gloss lacquer.

The first sketch:

Highlighter indicates Pink Lacquer

The Second Sketch, refining the idea & dimensions in CAD:

The third sketch, provided by my millworker for approval:

The End Result:

The pink highlights the living room chair fabrics shown in reflection above.


A Moment Between: Brilliant & Hilarious

Off topic, but had to post.  xoEB

Organic Texture, Modern Presentation

At first glance, a mixture of content keeps an interior alive.  Don’t get me wrong, the act of repetition can be beautiful as long as it’s in vignetted and accents a space.  I ran across these shadow-box artpieces today… love the linearity of presentation juxtaposed with the organic shape of each natural element.

I love the green/gray sea urchins with their Perfect Black holes.

Pair these in a room with some black/white photography and a line drawing or two – you’ve got a curated, textured artwall.

Or, you can just make your wall an art statement as wallcovering genius Tracy Kendall has done with “Buttons” shown below.

Make the Wall Your Art Project

A bit off topic, but to me – this is design in it’s purest form.  Thanks to my friend Joe for his photo of Romanesco at the Park Slope Food Coop.  xoEB

Past, Present, Future

Every design concept has a past, present & future.  I was reminded of this today shopping with a favorite client of mine.  The project is a 3BR apartment on East 77th Street, home to an active family of 4.   We finalized the window treatments, the final layer needed to complete the room.  Below are early concept boards that helped evolve our design to what it’s become.

Did either of the concepts stick?  The answer is Partially.  The boards work in tandem with plans & sketches to help evolve the design process.  Here is a snapshot of the approved materials palette.

Once the draperies are installed, I’ll post the completed room! xoEB

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