Mixing Old & New for Contemporary Charm

  • No longer restricted to the homes of elderly relatives or stuffy hotels, antique furniture and art has been quietly making its way through many a home profiled on est. In fact you might not have even noticed – because the leading designers working with antique pieces take a very different approach to the chintzy aesthetic perhaps unfairly associated with the word antique. Instead, these designers marry the old with the new, the raw with the ornate and the well-loved with the untouched, creating spaces that draw on the character and heritage of antique features to add depth and texture to an interior.

    In partnership with the Australian Antique and Art Dealers Association (AA&ADA) we look at four designers nailing the balance between antique and contemporary pieces to inspire mixing and matching with confidence.

    With no shortage of classic local design to draw on, Italians are masters of mixing the old and new, as demonstrated impeccably in this restored Oil Mill by local firm PalombaSerafini. The building’s historic proportions make the perfect backdrop for both antique features such as wardrobes, chests and ceramics with contemporary sofas and lighting. We particularly like the inclusion of a printed rug to introduce a pattern than doesn’t overshadow the rest of the space. Those seeking to add a similar element underfoot could look to a traditional Moroccan Tuareg Carpet for a subtle hue and pattern.

    Further north, Swedish designer Louise Liljencrantz effortlessly unites antique furniture and objects with statement contemporary features in her own Stockholm apartment. Playing off the apartment’s classic white walls and parquet floors, Liljencrantz introduces antique cabinets and tables to add personality in the home. Cleverly, Liljencrantz uses simple form and rich materials in her choice of furniture to create consistency between the older and newer features. Made from Satinwood, this Sheraton Revival table is an equal match for contemporary pieces, carefully crafted yet deceptively simple to look at.

    “As buyers continue to hunt out one-of-a-kind pieces, antique art and design is becoming a way to celebrate the craftsmanship of an object and add unique detail to any space. These days, the design-savvy are finding their signature pieces through antiques, with a conscious approach to consumption rather than buying cheap and disposable objects.”

    – Dawn Davis, President, Australian Antique & Art Dealers Association

    Belgian Designer Olivier Dwek creates spaces that feel as much like galleries as they are homes, and this 19th century Brussels townhouse is no exception. The building’s soft forms contrast dramatically with the predominantly antique furniture, including Le Corbusier’s iconic desk chair. A fiercely coveted design, it’s one of dozens of pieces vying for your adoration in this seemingly effortless blend of old and new.

    Polish design firm Loft Kolasinski are something of antique aficionados, often seeking out historic furniture or artwork to add an original element to their eclectic interiors. In this coastal home they work with a simple brick and timber backdrop to introduce antique lighting and furniture alongside their own custom-made creations. And while a 19th century French oak bookcase might not seem the obvious choice to include here, we can see the warm timber and classic form sitting pretty in the light-filed home.

    Uncover antique furniture, art and design objects to suit all spaces when the AA&ADA Antique Fair unfurls in Melbourne from 3-6 May. Find more information or buy tickets through the website here.

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