“Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire”
– Gustav Mahler
A look at the changes in styles and fashions over the last 100 years shows an increasing trend in architecture and interiors towards severity, functionality and lack of emotion. Today’s modern living spaces often appear as cool LED rooms with white walls, boldly coloured large-format images, skeletonized tubular steel chairs and glass tables, and voluminous plain-coloured upholstery, surrounded by a variety of technical devices. This stereotypical interior with its impersonal chill and technical functionality now permeates all spheres of life – from homes to offices and hotels. It seems to stand as proof of a modern, successful, future-oriented life.
But could something be missing?
In this context it is worth taking a look at the lives of some of the great potentates of the past. The notion that they lived happily and contentedly in the cool splendour of their state rooms is far from the truth. They usually had a comfortable private realm where they could withdraw from the affairs of state and separate family life from official duties. Tsar Nicholas I of Russia and his consort Alexandra Feodorovna used a so-called ‘cottage’ as their home at Peterhof. It was designed in the style of an English country house and tastefully furnished with neo-classicist furniture.
It would be rewarding to introduce some charm and historic flavour into a contemporary interior.
The charm and value of historic objects stands and falls with their surface. Once the traces of time are erased, the object becomes an insult to the aesthetic sensibility of the connoisseur and collector. Such objects are worthless to him. The decline in value of many pieces of German furniture is often attributable to their catastrophic surface condition. Far too often these beautiful objects have been brutally sanded down and thus stripped of their charm.
Otto von Mitzlaff