The Greek key, a symbol of all that is classical, has conquered the home-furnishings industry yet again.
HIGH POINT, N.C. — Greece’s economy may be struggling, but one of its iconic motifs is unlocking a treasure trove of design possibilities.
The Greek key, a symbol of all that is classical, has conquered the home-furnishings industry yet again. At the Fall International Home Furnishings Market, the interlocking pattern found its way onto all manner of accessories and furniture. But it wasn’t the first time; the look is as old as Mount Olympus and as enduring.
“The Greek-key motif has always been a popular symbol of status and sophistication. Though the popularity of the key motif has never really gone away, the look of modern, updated geometric forms is showing up in a new way that is truly fresh and fun,” said Britt Albright, creative director for HFI Brands, which manufactures and markets the Lilly Pulitzer Home collection.
Lilly Pulitzer, known for bright citrus colors, added some simple classical lines with the “Key to My Heart” cocktail and side tables.
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“The Greek key has always been such a solid complement to Lilly’s bright prints and patterns, and the line has embraced such classical elements as coins, ribbons, chain bracelets and medallions,” said Albright.
Arcanum Studio displayed several hand-wrought iron tables with glass tops and its version of the Greek-key base in 12 different finishes. The colored ones are powder-coated, while the natural iron base is hand-waxed. Dining and side tables were available. The Savannah, Ga.-based company builds the tables in Virginia.
Designer Jonathan Adler has always liked the geometric mid-century appeal of the classical pattern. In October, he showed it on a needlepoint footstool, while Century Furniture’s Monarch Line included it on several items. Upholstered ottomans and an iron cocktail table, with an antique-mirrored top embellished with a gold-painted Greek-key border, were standouts.
“We like the timeless aspect of the design and the way its clean, classical lines sit well with both contemporary and traditional lifestyles,” said Comer Wear, Century’s marketing director.
Hickory Chair introduced the Taylor Chest from the Thomas O’Brien Collection finished in optional white paint with antique-silver knobs. The Greek-key design that runs vertically down the front was hand-painted by Hickory Chair artisans in a silver tone. The hand-painted furniture is part of the “Artist’s Studio” program.
“Customers can literally provide the design, colors and a sketch and we paint it to order,” said Laura Holland of Hickory Chair.
Also in the showroom was the Tobi Fairley hanging lantern in bright yellow. She calls the pattern “Athens.” Companies using the design in their table lamps included Port 68’s and Worlds Away’s Clayton lamp with metal Greek-key base in gold leaf or nickel. Worlds Away also showed it on the front of the Werstler four-drawer dresser in limed oak, chocolate oak or white lacquer with an inset beveled mirror top.
Two other casegoods manufacturers showed off their love of the key. Bennett Galleries debuted a glass-front cabinet defined by an outline of the motif in relief.
Port Eliot’s solid hand-planed oak demilune console featured the pattern around the deep apron. It was inspired by an 1885 Collins and Lock design now in the Victoria and Albert Museum. Once you start noticing this timeless design, you begin to see it everywhere. Look for more in retail stores this spring.
Patricia Sheridan: firstname.lastname@example.org