Experience more sounds like a simple directive but how many of us take the time to savor what is happening in the moment? I consider it a blessing that, as a writer, I live my life with a heightened perception and I feel quite lucky to have the opportunity to create sponsored content for a company that exhibits a similar creative awareness.
Currey & Company: Experience More
I’m speaking of Currey & Company, a busy brand lately given the sponsorships of events like Adam Japko’s Design Bloggers Conference earlier this month; the new product releases coming next month; and an expansion of its High Point showroom that’s simultaneous taking place with the creation of a new space in Las Vegas. The High Point project will be completed by the next market, which takes place from April 15th through the 20th. I’ll highlight the #DBC16 sponsorship first because it is an undertaking that segues seamlessly with the “experience more” theme of this post.
Currey & Company provided the handsome midcentury modern furniture and luxurious orchids gracing the stage, which served as a backdrop for a lineup of remarkable speakers. Among my personal favorites were Cynthia Rowley, whom I interviewed during High Point Market last fall, and India Hicks, who spoke about her life and her evolving brand India Hicks Style. I also had the great fortune to present two pre-conference workshops, a humbling but rewarding experience as I discussed tips on how to make writing sing.
As to the new product releases, I’m happy to be the first to introduce to you these beautiful new products that will appear during Spring Market. Once I delve into the literary slant of this post, you’ll see how these introductions have soulful similarities to the architectural attributes of the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi (shown above) that one of my literary idols covered as a travel writer.
Notice how the first product above—Shannon Koszyk’s Temple mirror, echoes the storied Italian Gothic architectural details dotting the stately façade of the Basilica, particularly the shapes of the openings that frame windows, doors and recesses.
These other new debuts have equally striking likenesses:
The intricate patterning of the Sava rug in Stone reflects the same elemental hues of the sunbaked exterior of the Basilica and the motifs blanketing the interiors of the lower chapel.
The large Nador Mirror has a wood trim stained in a dark mahogany finish, the shape of which could have sprung directly from the motifs that frame such picturesque frescoes within the Basilica.
The seemingly random geometrics of the back of the sexy Vinton chair epitomize as artful a composition as the bricks enveloping the Basilica and its adjacent convent—even the passage of centuries not able to compromise the beauty of these building blocks.
The beautiful patterning that makes the Nador folding screen so lovely to observe is as dexterous in its movement as the scrollwork climbing along the vaulted ceilings of the Basilica.
The Charisma Lantern made of wrought iron with a French Black finish could be just as at home in the nave as it would be in the favorite room of your home.
The Nador console table with its glass top and its dark mahogany finish crosses between past and future—as great design does, melding the time-honored and the contemporary seamlessly.
Henry James’ Mantra Was Experience More
And now to the literary adventure I’m pairing with these products, which features Henry James. I’m not presenting him today as you likely know him—the writer of the great novel from which blockbuster films are made, such as The Wings of the Dove. I’m going to dip into his legacy as a travel writer instead, which I’ve known about since I came across two volumes titled Collected Travel Writings a few years ago. Published by the Library of America, one volume covers The Continent and the other features his essays about travels in Great Britain and America.
The writing in them requires a bit of patience because it springs from an earlier time—the essays crafted between 1861 and 1900—but the observations recorded by this man illustrate he was certainly a being who embraced the declaration “experience more” with gusto.
These slipcovered volumes include illustrations by Joseph Pennell, who created original works of art for many of these collected essays first published in magazines such as The Century. The Continent holds three sections titled“A Little Tour of France,” “Italian Hours,” and “Other Travels.” I came across his descriptions of the Basilica in the “Italian Hours” section in an essay titled “A Chain of Cities.”
The author looks back to a trip from Rome to Florence that didn’t leave him enough time to visit Narni, Spoleto, Assisi, Perugia, Cortona and Arezzo as he begins the chapter. “I turned away with the impatient vow and the fond vision of how I would take the journey again and pause to my heart’s content,” he wrote. We find him doing just this as he begins his tour of the sprawling church, so historically significant that Pope Gregory IX was present for the laying of its first stone on July 17, 1228—the day after St. Francis was canonized.
He checks into the same hotel where the esteemed Karl Baedeker, who produced his famous travel guides at the time, had stayed when it was newly opened and describes the setting beyond the window: “This view embraces the whole wide reach of Umbria, which becomes as twilight deepens a purple counterfeit of the misty sea.”
He’s enamored with the sensations the architecture evokes, noting, “This twofold temple of St. Francis is one of the very sacred places of Italy, and it would be hard to breathe anywhere an air more heavy with holiness”—a point that is made in the video above. He explains this is the case particularly if you happen to arrive after a visit to Rome where “everything ecclesiastical is, in aspect, so very much of this world—so florid, so elegant…”
He particularly celebrates the site of the cathedral and congratulates its long-deceased makers: “they were brave builders who laid the foundation-stones. The thing rises straight from a steep mountain-side and plunges forward on its great substructure of arches.”
He calls the lower church a gorgeous cavern with a penetrating chill enhanced by the splendidly somber and subterranean atmosphere. “The tone of the place is a triumph of mystery, the richest harmony of lurking shadows and dusky corners, all relieved by scattered images and scintillations.”
The images he references are frescoes by Giotto and his artistic contemporaries during medieval times. In closing, James singles out four that are painted on the ceiling above the altar of the lower chapel to illustrate how completely the artist was “in proportion to his means, a genius supremely expressive.”
I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief Jamesian jaunt to one of Italy’s architectural gems, a World Heritage site since 2000.
Currey & Company Expands Its High Point Showroom
If you are attending High Point market next month, you’ll be able to see the new products I highlighted above in person. They’ll be artistically displayed within the newly expanded showroom, the setting designed by Currey & Company’s talented creative team. Those of you who have made it a favorite destination in the past need make no adjustments to your party compass: the manufacturer will be in the same location as they have been. You can look for a repeat of the fabulous programming and fare you have found there in the past but with a tad more elbowroom.
How much more? The former showroom will grow by 4,400 square feet to a roomy 16,000-square-foot space when the construction is done. Talk about experiencing more!
“All of us at Currey & Company are thrilled to be able to offer our customers a new experience at the upcoming High Point market,” remarks CEO Brownlee Currey. “While we don’t think everything needs to change, we are delighted to have the space to allow our customers and our product a little more breathing room. The added space and renovations should allow us to let the product speak for itself, while making our customers comfortable.”
I’ll be there to see how Cecil Adams and his team have designed the space so that it makes us want to own every treasure in it, so I hope you will say hello if our paths cross as we all experience more.
Saxon Henry also blogs as The Modern Salonnière.