In the world of interiors, composition is as significant as colour or texture. A good composition can capture the imagination, creating a sense of harmony. Balance is a key ingredient to a successful composition, as the eye unconsciously seeks out symmetry.
In the conservatory at Haymarket Hotel, we have used perfect symmetry to create a calming effect in a scheme where a lot is going on. A contrast sofa is centered to a hanging art piece by Jack Milroy. The sofa is flanked by a pair of our Min tub chairs, covered in my Ozone fabric for Christopher Farr Cloth and side tables with matching tall antique table lamps on each side.
In the drawing room at Covent Garden Hotel, a long console topped with an impressive antique ‘cartoon’ – a canvas that is prepared before embroidering – is balanced by heavily embroidered antique chairs on either side and a pair of ornately carved mahogany table lamps.
Strict symmetry rules however can sometimes feel too predictable. We often add a touch of playfulness and intrigue by breaking up the rhythm around a focal point.
Above this intricately carved oak fireplace, artworks by Joe Tilson and Katherine Cuthbert symmetrically hung, create a decorative focal point. The artifacts on the mantelpiece break up this symmetry with a variation in volume and height, telling another story.
A juxtaposition of very similar but differing furniture or objects to frame a focal point can create a dynamic balance in a space. In The Whitby Suite at The Whitby Hotel in New York, a chest of drawers and a console table on either side of the fireplace, as well as the off-centred vases on the mantelpiece add a layer of unpredictability.
In the Meadow Suite at Crosby Street Hotel, to the right of the fireplace, a tall and intricate lamp on a side table with a frame hung high above it counterbalances a chest of drawers with two pieces of art, hung one on top of the other, on the left side. The imperfect symmetry is reflected in the two differing armchairs, which mirror each other in a beautiful off balance.
While we embrace perfect symmetry to create a sense of harmony, we think breaking rules can sometimes be the most fun! Take risks and you will end up with your own compositional masterpiece!