What is Baroque Design and How Does It Work? The style of décor utilized throughout the Baroque period of architecture, art, and design in the 17th and the first part of the 18th centuries is known as the Baroque interior. design.
What is Baroque-Style Architecture?
Baroque interior design is a type of decoration associated with the Baroque period of architecture, art, and design, which flourished in Italy and France throughout the 17th and first part of the 18th centuries. Interiors in this lavish style were rich, formal, and lavishly decorated, with bronze sculptures, exquisite tapestries, sculpted wood mirrors, moldings, and paneling, intricately painted ceilings, crystal chandeliers, and gilded everything.
Design in the Baroque Period
Around 1600, the Baroque movement began in Italy. It then spread to France, Europe, and the rest of the world. Baroque was “the first visual style to have a substantial worldwide impact,” according to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
Interior design in the Baroque era is part of a larger visual arts movement that included architecture, art, furniture design, artifacts, and more, with interior design, architecture, and art collaborating to make a unified visual statement.
The extremely beautiful churches and cathedrals that the Catholic Church in Italy built to increase its authority were built in the Baroque style as an aesthetic exercise and a sensory statement of power. As a form of power branding for the monarchy in France, Louis XIV adopted a variant of Baroque style combined with French Classicism.
The Château de Versailles, a monument to the Baroque architecture that was the most copied edifice of the 17th century and still shines today, was designed by Charles Le Brun in response to the Sun King’s fondness for all things gilded and desire to flaunt his vast authority.
While the Baroque style began in Italy, it reached its pinnacle in 18th-century Paris with the development of Rococo (also known as Late Baroque or rocaille style). Rococo’s elaborate, extravagant style was a protest to French Baroque architecture’s severe limitations and King Louis XIV’s rigorous notions about what constituted art.
The Baroque style fell out of favor in the mid-eighteenth century, but it was restored in the nineteenth century. During the twentieth century, renowned interior designer Dorothy Draper created a popular style known as Hollywood Regency, which was a strong take on the classics that included elements of glitter, bright colours, and an updated take on Rococo ornamentation.
Even if today only the most eccentric contemporary interiors would exhibit full-on Baroque style, contemporary Baroque micro revivals with nicknames like Modern Romantic continue to come and go in the twenty-first century.
Designing in the Baroque Style: Key Characteristics
With a penchant for the dramatic and an evident sense of grandeur, the Baroque style is opulent, sumptuous, highly ornamented, and theatrical. This artistic style was created to stimulate the senses and elicit a strong emotional response.
From flashing crystal chandeliers to beautifully carved mirrors, to massive furniture and décor pieces, to gilded finishes on everything from furniture to objects to walls, the entire aesthetic is defined by its unashamed use of bling. Although the French Baroque style appears to be a riot of features and decorative motifs, it is distinguished by an underlying emphasis on symmetry and refinement informed by French Classicism.
Porcelain, lacquer, and wood marquetry are examples of refined materials and processes. Baroque interiors are known for their stunning painted ceilings, which are supposed to give the illusion of being open to the sky. Use of carved moldings and ornamental features such as stylized natural motifs like foliage, flowers, cherubs, and human and animal figurines. Curved and spiraling shapes and forms, such as scrolls of greenery, are frequently used to create a sensation of movement.
Decorating Ideas for the Modern Baroque
Although the Baroque style may appear to be out of step with current décor, it continues to be a source of inspiration for contemporary interior designers and home decorators, who frequently take a minimalist approach to adopting the style.
A little goes a long way when it comes to combining Baroque-style features into a modern décor scheme. A gilded Baroque-style Italian or French mirror or bed frame can serve as a focal point in a room with neutral finishes and décor, or it can be used as part of a more diverse design plan.
Incorporate contemporary objects that are a humorous twist on Baroque style to bring some Baroque flare into a modern area. The best-selling Bourgie lamp, developed for Kartell in 1994 by Italian designer Ferruccio Laviani, is made of translucent polycarbonate and was inspired by an old lamp on the designer’s desk.
This ultra-modern reinterpretation of Baroque design spans time and space and is remarkably adaptable. Choose Rococo-style furniture, such as curving velvet upholstered armchairs, slipper chairs, and skirted couches, for a more traditional look. Choose Rococo-style furniture, such as curving velvet upholstered armchairs, slipper chairs, and skirted couches, for a more traditional look.
Achievements in Architecture
A number of Baroque ecclesiastical buildings in Rome featured plans based on the Italian paradigm of the basilica with a crossing dome and nave, but the architectural treatment was quite different from what had been done earlier. The church of Santa Susanna, constructed by Carlo Maderno, was one of the first Roman monuments to defy the Mannerist style’s previous rules. The structure’s intricacy is enhanced by the dynamic rhythm of columns and pilasters, center massing, and protrusion, and condensed focal ornamentation. The norms of classic design are starting to become more fun, yet they nevertheless maintain a level of rigidity.
Pietro de Cortona was born in the town of Cortona in the province of
Pietro da Cortona’s architectural work shows the same preoccupation with plasticity, massing, dramatic effects, shadow, and light, as evidenced by his design of Santi Luca e Martina (which began building in 1635) with what was arguably the first curved Baroque church façade in Rome. In his revision of Santa Maria della Pace (1656–8), these issues are much more apparent. The building’s façade, with its chiaroscuro half-domed portico and concave side wings, resembles a theatrical set and extends forward, filling the narrow trapezoidal plaza completely.
Bernini, Gian Lorenzo
Other Baroque and late Baroque Roman ensembles are similarly infused with theatricality and, as urban theatres, serve focal places within the surrounding metropolis. Saint Peter’s Square, which has been acclaimed as a masterstroke of Baroque drama, is probably the most well-known example of such an approach. The piazza is mostly made up of two colonnades of free-standing columns centered on an Egyptian obelisk, which was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
Bernini’s oval church of Sant’Andrea al Quirinale, with polychrome marbles and an extravagant gold dome, was his personal favorite. The Palazzo Barberini (based on Maderno’s designs) and the Palazzo Chigi-Odescalchi (1664), both in Rome, are examples of his secular architecture.
Bernini’s adversary, the architect Francesco Borromini, created designs that departed considerably from the classical and Renaissance themes. His architectural forms were uncommon and imaginative, and he used multi-layered symbolism in his designs. His building plans were based on complicated geometric figures, and his architectural forms were unusual and inventive. San Carlo Alle Quattro Fontane, his iconic masterpiece, is marked by a convoluted plan arrangement that is partially round and partly cross, giving it unusual convex-concave wall rhythms.
Carlo Fontana emerged as the most important architect working in Rome during the Baroque period after Bernini’s death in 1680. The somewhat concave façade of San Marcello al Corso is an example of his early style. Despite missing the brilliant originality of his Roman predecessors, Fontana’s academic approach had a significant impact on Baroque architecture, both through his copious writings and the number of architects he educated to spread the Baroque idioms throughout 18th-century Europe.
In Spain, the Baroque grew in popularity.
Spanish Baroque is a style of Baroque architecture that emerged in the late 17th century in Spain, its provinces, and its colonies, most notably Spanish America and Belgium. As Italian Baroque influences extended throughout the Pyrenees Mountains, the restrained classical approach of Juan de Herrera, which had been popular from the late 16th century, began to fade in popularity.
The façade of Granada Cathedral (by Alonso Cano) and Jaén Cathedral (by Eufrasio López de Rojas), for example, illustrate the artists’ competence in interpreting classical elements of Spanish cathedral architecture in the Baroque aesthetic idiom by 1667.
In Madrid, the Plaza Mayor and the Royal Palace of El Buen Retiro, which were both demolished by Napoleon’s army during the French invasion, developed a vernacular Baroque with origins in Herrerian and conventional brick construction. The park’s gardens are still known as El Retiro. The 17th century’s austere brick Baroque is still well represented in the capital’s streets, palaces, and squares.
Northern European comparisons
In contrast to Northern European art of the time, Spanish art of the period appealed to emotions rather than intellect. The Churriguera family, who specialized in creating altars and retables, rebelled against Herrerian classicism’s sobriety and advocated the Churrigueresque, an ornate, exaggerated, even whimsical form of surface decoration. Salamanca was converted into a model Churrigueresque city in less than a half-century.
Between 1680 and 1720, the Churriguera popularised Guarini’s “supreme order,” a combination of Solomonic columns and composite order. The Churrigueresque column, or estipite, in the shape of an inverted cone or obelisk, became a key element of ornamental design between 1720 and 1760.
Examples to Consider
The dynamic façades of the University of Valladolid (Diego Tome and Fray Pedro de la Visitación, 1719) and the western façade (or Fachada del Obradoiro) of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela are two examples of Spanish Baroque masterpieces (Fernando de Casas y Novoa, 1750). The Churrigueresque design in these instances, like in many others, incorporates a play of tectonic and decorative elements with little relation to structure and purpose.
A richly sculpted surround to the main gateway is the focal point of the florid embellishment. The building’s form would not be changed in the least if the elaborate maze of broken pediments, undulating cornices, stucco shells, inverted tapers, and garlands were removed from the rather simple wall it is situated against.
Consider the following examples:
Two examples of Spanish Baroque masterpieces are the dynamic façades of the University of Valladolid (Diego Tome and Fray Pedro de la Visitación, 1719) and the western façade (or Fachada d