Design Inspiration from Billy Baldwin

Billy Baldwin was ‘the’ interior designer in New York in the 60’s and 70’s. He preferred casual, personal interiors, using pattern on pattern and maintaining the clients personality with some pieces of their own furniture. He designed rooms for Cole Porter, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, and Greta Garbo.

This is an image of a Billy Baldwin French riviera interior from the 70’s that shows his love for pattern. Beautiful, serene and playful.

Images courtesy of Design Sponge
Billy Baldwin is endlessly quotable (reminds me of his 21st century counterpart Jonathan Adler) and this is one of his sayings, made into a cute illustration. It reminds me of the expressive typography compositions that we’re slaving over in another class! This is really interesting advice, however, and something that I will keep in mind. Starting out a design in black and white lets the inferential meaning and emotion come through without being altered in any way by color. Color is so powerful that it makes a big difference in that way, so keeping it out of the decision-making process until the end when the form and composition are in place is a very smart idea. The designer can choose to make color the icing on the cake, or it can BE the cake.

In the image below, Diana Vreeland requested a garden in hell..
I think she got it!

“Stick to the things you really love. An honest room will always be up to date.” -Billy Baldwin

I just remembered that Josef Albers’ advice to his students was the opposite! He suggested that you work with colors you most dislike to understand them better, and maybe your opinion will change. I think he took his own advice too because in this interview he said that he couldn’t imagine working with reds, and then worked with reds for a number of years in his “Homage to the Square” series:

Josef Albers, Homage to the Square: Keller ID, silkscreen, 1970

Published by Elizabeth Pizzuti

Design, art, and cats mostly

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