What's new in art, architecture and design



Beautiful, bold, and beneficial are the catchwords this season in the worlds of art, architecture, and design. We’re decorating our bodies, building healthy environments, and brightening our rooms with rainbows of color. Here’s what’s happening.


Jewelry designers are creating abstract adornments that double as wearable works of art. One such maker is Solange Azagury-Partridge of Britain. Her pieces, which she calls “sculpture for the body,” are dazzling and dynamic and sell for thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of pounds.

Scribbles, one of the newer collections of gemstone rings and mix-and-match-make-your-own earrings under her Solange brand, is inspired by her doodles.

Solange Azagury-Partridge’s Scribbles collection is wearable art.
Solange Azagury-Partridge’s Scribbles collection is wearable art.

“There’s always something behind each piece; it’s not just what you see,” she says. “The random shapes of scribbles are fascinating and reflect the stones’ internal inclusions. Your eye is attracted by the shapes and color combinations.”

Azagury-Partridge developed a love for jewelry while working at a gallery specializing in 20th-century decorative arts and vintage jewelry. In 1987, she designed her first piece, an uncut diamond in a gold bombe setting, as her own engagement ring.

Tilda Swinton and Lady Gaga are among the celebrities who wear her art, which is in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.

Her Hotlips collection of rings shaped like bee-stung lips is reminiscent of Salvador Dali’s sexy Mae West Lips Sofa, and her Supernature collection was inspired by the five ancient elements—fire, air, water, earth, and ether. “I make things you don’t know you want until you see them,” she says.


A healthy house means healthy inhabitants. That’s the credo of the emerging wellness-architecture movement.

“As an architect, I have the power to shift your cognitive function and your mood through the use of materials, colors, textures, and layouts,” says architect Veronica Schreibeis Smith, who helped coin the term in 2015 when she founded the Wellness Architecture Initiative. “I and other architects are using these skills to enhance human and planetary well-being by reimagining every room of the house.”

A prototype kitchen by Vera Iconica Architecture includes a hydroponic garden, which looks like a pink refrigerator, and climate-controlled cabinets.
A prototype kitchen by Vera Iconica Architecture includes a hydroponic garden, which looks like a pink refrigerator, and climate-controlled cabinets.

Wellness spaces in homes around the world incorporate eco-friendly, natural materials and innovative, multifunctional designs that encourage a healthy lifestyle.

For instance, a kitchen prototype created by Schreibeis Smith’s firm, Vera Iconica Architecture in Jackson, Wyo., is designed to make cooking a nutritious and fun family ritual.People pick produce from a hydroponic garden that grows on a wall and store foods in transparent, programmable climate-controlled cabinets made of natural oak.

For a private client with a young child, her firm designed a flexible tea room/game room/meditation room/yoga room/playroom that encourages family time and healthy activities. The real beauty of the movement, Schreibeis Smith says, is that it shows “you can change everything when you change the environment.”


Interior designers are no longer taking a neutral stance on color.They are replacing beiges and grays with bold hues in exciting combinations. “The trend comes after years of preferred neutral colors introduced by the International School of Architecture, then repeated ad nauseam, particularly in the corporate business world and hotels,” says London-based interior designer John Stefanidis, whose name is synonymous with the original use of vibrant color.

He says interiors around the world finally are finding their true colors. “There are fantastic explosions of color in India and China and everywhere in Africa,” he says.

John Stefanidis used layers of pink shades to liven up a drawing room in Belgravia, London.
John Stefanidis used layers of pink shades to liven up a drawing room in Belgravia, London.

The colors are cropping up not only in furnishings but also on walls. “I use splashed paint, layer upon layer, to give depth,” he says. “Or stenciling. I’m very proud of the lace-painted walls I created for a bedroom in a Florida house.”

Stefanidis, who has a cosmopolitan clientele, says his color sense is influenced, in part, by his travels: “Exposure to design, color, and architecture as well as the internet and apps like Instagram—it’s all very inspiring.”

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