Brass, with its deeper, more honeyed golden hues, confers a sense of glamour and prestige, and both chrome and stainless steel are acknowledged as being ‘cool’ or ‘modern’. But gold, well that’s shorthand for bling and designer ostentation, isn’t it? Except, gold is everywhere at the moment! Most particularly on walls, as a new crop of prints and papers are re-coloured for autumn in glorious golden metallics, and for lighting – at recent design fairs it was absolutely the finish of choice.
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So, can it really be that gold has finally come in from the cold?
On one level, I believe that gold’s renaissance is to do with a quest for optimism. Gold is a material that sings, shines and looks overtly happy. With neither the stealth-wealth subtlety of platinum, nor the comparative cheap and cheerful jollity of silver, gold connotes a bright, blatant lack of complication. One of the so-called noble metals, in its pure form it is inert and incorruptible, thus for centuries it has been symbolic of wisdom and a certain divinity – think gold medals, golden ages and Aristotle’s ‘golden mean’. The perfect aesthetic antidote then to our strident times?
On the other hand, the rise and return of gold is, very simply, a measure of the persistently cyclical nature of trends. In recent
I believe that gold’s renaissance in the home is to do with a quest for optimism. This noble metal is a material that sings, shines and looks overtly happy
seasons, copper has been the fashionable metal of choice, alongside brushed and matt brass, with the latter absolutely proving itself to be something of a long-term favourite in the interior designers’ decorative palette. As such, the resurgence of gold will inevitably beget the demise of copper – action and reaction and all that – hand in hand, no doubt, with the emergence of rose gold (a mixture of gold and copper) as a sort of baby-steps-towards-gold compromise.
However, the pairing of brass and gold is really rather wonderful.
It’s important to note that we’re talking about the colour of the finish here, not the crafting of products from actual gold. In the case of lighting, this means using brass that has been polished to a very high shine with a gold-like lustre. The mixing of these two metals, therefore, is all about the pleasing combination of matt and gloss. It’s a similar story with wallpapers. The use of gold lends them a sun-kissed glow; it warms and produces a wow-factor, giving papers a whole new dimension. Thus, traditional patterns are lifted into modernity (see the new William Morris ‘Archive IV’ collection, right) and textured papers come alive (Arte, champions of luxe wallpaper, are making magic with gold-toned sisal no less). Who knows, at this rate we may even have to reconsider gold taps!
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