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  • The State, South Carolina’s Homepage: Atmospherics bring a sense of quiet

    The State, South Carolina’s Homepage: Atmospherics bring a sense of quiet

    “Atmospheric” decor is characterized by soft textures, transparency, iridescence, opacity — or even all of those at once. It can create a mood of quietude and retreat.

    And it is, some designers say, popular now as an antidote to an increasingly jarring and sped-up world.

    “We’re seeking balance and understanding, and we want to unclutter our minds,” says design consultant Laura Guido-Clark of Berkeley, Calif. Despite atmospheric decor’s quiet, it has “an inherent energy,” she says.

    Many of these elements were on the runways of Monique Lhuillier and Chanel this spring, and in furnishings, they offer a counterpoint to the season’s alter ego, an exuberant jumble trunk of hot hues and wild colors.

    The colors in atmospherics tend to be lightweight and sheer — as Guido-Clark notes, “veiled like mist or air.” Yet there can be elements of strength and purity. We see a lot of dreamy hues — soft whites, blush, silver — but also hefty colors — graphite, charcoal.

    Textures include voile, moire silk, slubbed wool, crystal, hammered metals, blown glass, ceramic, even translucent concrete.

    Mud Australia, a top ceramics studio, creates beautifully curvy vessels and plates in soft, chalky hues with names like “ocean,” “milk,” “powder,” “dust.”

    Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka creates conceptual furniture out of interesting materials. He’s designed a line of thick, clear polycarbonate furniture for Kartell called The Invisibles. And Paper Cloud, created for Moroso, is a white, fluffy sectional sofa.

    Describing his interest in light and wind, Yoshioka says, “I’m fascinated by elements that stir and stimulate the imagination.”

    Italian designer Diego Grandi, who along with Manola Bossi created the voluptuously elegant gold-glazed Oppiacei Table, says, “I call myself a `slow addict.’ I listen to silence with pleasure.”

    Trove’s dreamlike wallpapers include Ciel, with a cloud motif; an oceanic Sargasso; and Nekkar and Askella, both featuring a cascade of feathery petals.

    At Design Within Reach, find One & Co.’s 47 Table, a chunk of timber given a shimmery coat of silver. Or gravitate toward the Toto Cube Lamp, created by a French wine tank manufacturer during its quiet season; the lamp is large enough to use as a seat or table, and is lit from inside with a warm glow.

    Pier 1 has the Swirl Lamp, a sinuous twist of antiqued silver, and ruched, voile throw pillows in foggy, smoky hues. Ruffles in lightweight fabrics work nicely in this theme; check out Urban Outfitters and Pottery Barn for frothy, watercolored shower curtains and bedding.

    Z Gallerie has a spherical lamp made of hundreds of oyster shell tiles; its iridescence is both organic and jewel-like. Find here also the Cloud vase, a milky swirl of cirrus glass.

    Roubini Rugs has Tony Duquette’s Malachite rug, an eddy of emerald and ink like a sliver of the mineral itself. And Campion Platt’s Mariner rug collection, inspired by travels through the Turks & Caicos, uses the soothing natural patterns of waves and the landscape.

    Art Addiction offers several large format prints that would create instant atmosphere, and provide a launch point for other furnishings. A series of dandelions, about to catch the wind. A collection of X-rayed sea urchins and shells, elemental and artistic. And a dramatic group of horse images in which the animals have been photographed, all sinewy muscles and whipping manes, on a blustery, misty day. There’s something of the dream world about them.

    - Kim Cook, for The Associated Press