Saturday, September 4, 2010

oval office — why is this news?

The design world is abuzz this week with the news that Pres­i­dent Obama's decorator-in-chief, Michael Smith, redid the Oval Office while the first fam­ily was on vaca­tion. After read­ing the New York Times post and this arti­cle, I had to ask "why is this news?" A new rug, wall­pa­per, drap­ery and a few other updates — frankly, noth­ing very earth-shaking here. Any cor­po­rate office in Amer­ica could look the same — and maybe that's why it's news.

from New York Times

from the New York Times

The sheer bland­ness of the choices — what's the mes­sage behind that? Is it really a reflec­tion of his per­son­al­ity, as Mar­garet Rus­sell, new edi­tor of Archi­tec­tural Digest, seems to think? Truly, if the client is happy, the designer is happy. But how much could the clients have allowed them­selves to express, know­ing the judg­men­tal eyes of the entire coun­try would be search­ing for hid­den mean­ing (and men­tally tal­ly­ing the cost)?

The most inter­est­ing item in the revamped room is the cof­fee table. In wal­nut and mica, it's a lit­tle step away from the tra­di­tional styles of for­mer pres­i­dents. The blue Spitzmiller lamps are lovely, but feel a lit­tle lost in a sea of neu­tral. For­lorn really. And the pil­lows are just plain sad. What a chal­lenge to cre­ate a room that tries not to offend anyone!

The Bush Oval Office rug is far more visu­ally inter­est­ing, don't you think?

from the New York Times

The President's new digs are hope­fully just what he wanted, even if the rest of us are under­whelmed. What do you think — sub­tle and warm? Or bland and boring?

Leave a comment

  1. A dash of colour wouldn't hurt :)