It’s no secret that the best creative designers don’t just break new ground with imaginative visions – they also draw inspiration from the past. One particularly evocative design style that fuses the two is modern Baroque, a contemporary take on the flamboyant style that defined Louis XIV’s decadent Palace of Versailles. The Baroque era originated in 16th century Italy, after the Catholic Church commissioned art designed to inspire devotion in its congregation. The resulting aesthetic has some clear hallmarks, including luxurious textile motifs, ornate carving and floral garlands.
Baroque in its purest form can be a little ostentatious in newly built homes, with the opulence and intricacy of its designs really best suited to properties with equally innate grandeur. However, modern Baroque serves as a popular alternative, fusing the hallmarks of the aesthetic with contemporary minimalism to create a design style that brings this old world glamour firmly into the 21st century.
The key to modern Baroque is to be discerning in selecting your conventional Baroque pieces. Each room only needs one or two pieces of statement furniture, with accessories ensuring that the design remains cohesive. The living room of this elegant apartment in Barcelona is a perfect example: The decorative touches are minimalist and in keeping with the neutral colour scheme, while two Baroque armchairs in a rich plum shade and metallic coffee tables provide a hint of opulence without overwhelming the room.
Another example of this approach is the living room of this London apartment, where the Baroque sofa’s muted brown upholstery coordinates with the simplicity of the wooden floors and white walls. Baroque should invoke a sense of luxury, so soft furnishings should be in sumptuous materials such as velvet, brocade and silk, but in this example, the colour palette helps to keep things modern, opting for a neutral earth tone rather than a rich red or gold.
This apartment in St Petersburg utilises a similar balance in a more dramatic way, with plush regal armchairs upholstered in deep purple velvet. The curtains echo the same shade with their intricately patterned fabric, but the polished hardwood of the floor, contrasting with glittering mosaic panels, serves to give a modern edge to the room.
Alternatively, you may wish to introduce the Baroque associations with well-chosen lighting fixtures. This city residence in Düsseldorf shows just how much impact this method can have: The antique-style crystal chandeliers and ornate side lights transform otherwise minimalist rooms into elegant, opulent spaces, and elevate more lavishly decorated rooms to artistic installations worthy of a historic palace.
Part of the appeal of modern Baroque is that you can hand-select your favourite elements from both contributing influences and incorporate them in a way that matches the architectural layout of your home. This rural property in Westerland contrasts golden ornaments and soft purple rugs with white-painted rafters and geometric prints on cushions and armchairs. In the dining room, sheepskin chair coverings bridge the gap between the pure Baroque crystal chandelier and the distinctly modern metal bases of the chairs.
To view more properties that brilliantly fuse modern and Baroque aesthetics, simply visit the Engel & Völkers website. With high-end properties in five continents, we can ensure you find an ideal new home that meets your every requirement.
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