Sunday, October 30, 2011

Laid Back in Time

LAID BACK IN TIME:  The Ancient Egyptians called it a bed.  The French called it a chaise longue.  We call it fabulous.  It's basically two parts: a frame and a woven seat.  But together they are a stylish way to recline, such as the dramatic Desdemona Chaise from J. Robert Scott shown here.  Since its introduction in Egypt (two of King Tutankhamun beds are pictured above) the chaise evolved in the Western world into a symbol of luxury and extravagance. Rococo-style chaise lounges -- ornate in design, tasseled and cushioned -- sat regally and indulgent in parlors of mansions in the 1800s.  In the 1930s, chaise lounge furniture came to be associated with Hollywood glamour. Stars of the golden age of cinema such as Jean Harlow, Gloria Swanson and Greta Garbo draped themselves across chaise lounges for photo shoots.  In a strange twist of fate, chaise lounge furniture became a staple of Freudian psychoanalysis, as doctors around the world adopted Freud's method of having patients recline as their dreams were interpreted.  Freud understood the power of relaxation.  The great architect Le Corbusier saw chaise lounges as the ultimate piece of furniture for in any room and easy to mass produce.  "This is the real machine for rest," he commented.  FINAL  NOTE:  Unlike Freud, there's no need to analyze why a chaise is a great addition to your interiors.  Just grab a cushion, your favorite cashmere throw and a good book (like the ones I recommended above, perhaps?) and just enjoy this favorite millenia-old way of kicking back your heels.