Cy Twombly, Interior Designer ?
Cy Twombly (1928 – 2011) lived in Italy for a large part of his life, where he met fame with his large-scale, highly coloured works which merge the personal and the mythological. His interiors were less well known but equally impressive. Joseph Holtzan, editor in chief of Nest magazine, described Cy Twombly as a “great interior decorator”, adding “the artist’s Roman quarters were the birth of a new style of interior decoration”.
Twombly’s interiors, like his art, look simultaneously to the past and to the future. Twombly’s passion for Greek and Roman history and mythology is very much present in his Roman rooms, with their large collection of classical busts and statues.
« For anyone accustomed to Roman palazzo interiors, the Twombly’s apartment comes as a shock. Instead of the usually heavily-curtained chiaroscuro, the red damask midday-midnight, the inherited accumulation of superb and indifferent works of art, here for a change are rows of all but empty rooms…the whole as beautiful as a tree in winter or a shell on the beach”. Roman Classic Holiday, Vogue 1966.
The Vogue article, which first revealed Twombly’s Rome apartment to the general public, was commissioned by Vogue’s editor-in-chief Diana Vreeland who – shifting the focus of the traditional interior design column – directed Lawford and Horst to subjects with the “taste and talent and originality to create a rare ambiance in their daily lives.”
“The paintings of Twombly are like large Mediterranean rooms, warm and bright … that the spirit wants to populate” Roland Barthès
1 | Install vibrant patterned flooring
Evoke classic Italian architecture with red and white, checkered or patterned tiles.
Cristina Celestino has designed a beautiful Italian-inspired collection for Fornace Brioni, and Clé Tiles have created a cement tile directly inspired by Cy Twombly’s apartment.
Clé Tile - Cy Twombly
2 | Mix ancient and modern
Here a bust of Nero is pictured in front of Gerhard Richter’s “Frau Marlow”.
TRIPTYCH WALL LIGHT by CTO Lighting
INSEPARABLE CIRCLE VASE by Léa Ginac
3 | Keep it simple
“Twombly’s canvases remain absolutely airy spaces … it’s like a subtle energy that allows you to breathe easier”. Roland Barthes.
In a similar way, the framework of the via del Monserrato apartment was pale and pared-back. Layers of old paint were stripped off the doors, revealing a long vanished coat of pale blue with silver moldings. The decoration “complements rather than crushes the human beings moving in its midst”. Roman Classic Holiday, Vogue 1966
4 | Opt for noble materials, marble or stone
PLUTO TABLE LAMP by CTO Lighting
XL MARBLE SPHERE by Kristina Dam
5 | Bring in an element of surprise
Add an element of surprise by bringing in a touch of the unexpected. Opt for leopard print, as here in Cy Twombly’s apartement, or any other pattern or motif that appeals. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes – as Diana Vreeland’s explained :
“A little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika. We all need a splash of bad taste . . . What’s called ‘good taste’ is a drug on the market. No taste is what I’m against.”
Rollo Lindell co
ROLLO CUSHION by Lindell & Co
LEOPARD TAPESTRY by Lindell & Co