Lyre legs and a scalloped edges - our forever love of fluid forms

Nature has always inspired design. From Royère to McQueen and many other designers across fashion and interiors (all of them wildly different but equally impressive) it has been the single most important source of inspiration - an endless resource that incites awe for its simple yet immensely intelligent perfection. In particular, it is its elemental and universal forms - the simple curve and undulation of a wave, shell’s edge or lyrebird’s tail that becomes a reference point for other iterations of beauty, rendered in furniture and architecture.

Drawing fluid forms into focus, we look at the return of lyre legs and scalloped edges and the 3 reasons why we love the innovation and extraordinary new dimension seen in the current uptake of this timeless and enduring style. 


Left, custom joinery and right, scalloped ceiling detail via: flackstudio_

1. Breaking boundaries of time and era

In its earliest form, the Lyre shape (inspired by the lyrebird’s tail) was first expressed in the kinnor: an ancient israelite, yoke-like instrument whose modern interpretation might be considered the ‘lyre’ or harp. Since then, it has become prevalent through periods of design but particularly the American Federal and Victorian era, as an ornamentation of chair detail and table feet. Fanning gently into the top shape of a heart, the lyre motif often decorates but grounds solid furniture and has been reintroduced as a coveted addition to modern interiors - forging new territory in the balance and allure of an eclectic, contemporary aesthetic.

Does it work?
Without doubt. Beyond the superficial beauty of dark wood softening to a gentle flourish against hard lines, lyre legs offer something timeless and elemental - a deeper romance derived from an appreciation for age, history and artistry…a song line of origin, telling story through detail.

Via: A beautiful baroque lyre leg table in a Handelsmann and Khaw interior.

Another view of Handelsmann and Khaw’s Paddington residence where a lyre leg side table becomes a sculptural focus.


2. Playing to the symbolism of its emotional core

Whether we admit it or not, there’s an emotional connection to design that feeds into a higher order of thinking - a state of mind articulated externally and through the way we curate our living environment. In a heart-on-sleeve kind of way, it is a litmus test for the time, a gauge of our inner calm (or turbulence) that can be experienced universally. The prevalence of scalloped, ruffles and undulating edges shows a deep craving for more nurturing, feminine elements and as we ride through a period of ubiquitous uncertainty, we reach for powerful, reassuring symbolism.

Will it date?

Hardly. The appeal of such forms is inherently relevant and in their new iterations, simply become sophisticated, modern classics.

Modern classics: The Rachel Donath Wave Chair via @chalkwhitearrow and right, the undulating curve of a contemporary bed head via @fenton_and_fenton

Via: The prevalence of scalloped, ruffles and undulating edges shows a deep craving for more nurturing, feminine elements as we ride through a period of ubiquitous uncertainty and reach for powerful, reassuring symbolism. Left: via Osbourne House and right, custom storage boxes for a child’s room via @georgina_jeffries.


3. Embracing a sense of play

Both Lyre legs and a scalloped edge feel inherently playful. As they break away from the straight horizon of an unbroken line they rebel against the ordinary, the everyday, the dry. While remaining classic and refined, they inject levity and frivolity - simple joy expressed artfully in the detail of furniture, mirrors and door frames.

Would we do it?

Absolutely. Aside from the originality it offers, we adore elements that are unexpected, expressive and whimsical, believing that even the most sober, sophisticated interiors are elevated by the equilibrium of an undulating edge - as enduring and untamable as the natural world it references.

Left via and right, via @sarahshermansamuel


Via: Aside from the originality it offers, we adore elements that are unexpected, expressive and whimsical, believing that even the most sober, sophisticated interiors are elevated by the equilibrium of an undulating edge - as enduring and untamable as the natural world it references. Left, In the Paddington home of Tania Handelsmann, Right, via @lune1860.

Full of playful feminine detail, the dining room of Tania Handelsmann’s Padding home via Vogue Livingand right, whimsical detail via @sarahshermansamuel



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