Enter a Dream by Design

June 19, 2011

Design A Dream

“When I go into the glass houses and I see the strange plants of exotic lands, it seems to me that I enter into a dream,” said Henri Julien Félix Rousseau the (May 21, 1844 – September 2, 1910) the self-taught artist of jungle paintings who never saw a jungle.
Imagination once was more of an art. Today little is left to the imagination as the multi-media of all subjects is transported on demand and images can be gathered, reviewed, and distilled on a moment’s notice. The ease of accessing information is instantaneous.
To dream about things far away and to create environments that suggest those faraway places is still an art – like theatrical set designs or venues for evoking moods in the hospitality industry. It’s just that back in Rousseau’s day, the information gathered for such inspiration was not instantaneous and had to be gathered over time and from many sources, verbal descriptions, sketches, and perhaps early photographs.
The botanical gardens described in his quote were magical places where exotic things had been carefully brought from afar to thrive and blossom in artificial environments for the pleasures of the rich and fortunate few who had access.
By incredible contrast, today we buy palm trees, and other tropical plants at Home Depot and many other less exotic places. We can bring the jungle growth into our homes and offices for a sense of escape, verdant luxury, and merely what we now consider to be common decorative accessories.
Give a gift of a bromeliad – a remarkable plant that Rousseau would no doubt have cherished to have live in his studio. To design an interior or paint a painting that transports the participant into a lush tropical setting is to create a dream. So, what’s my point? I just had this stream of thoughts rush through my mind as I visited the MOMA and these magnificent paintings a few weeks ago. We take so much for granted and have so much information at our fingertips. The size, detail, exotic scenes and striking if not bizarre subjects of these magnificent paintings take the viewers into the dream and transport them into a magical world where large beasts are not threats and all seems to be one of trust and peace.
If you live in the tropics – about where do you dream?


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