Baroque style is underscored by the views of Humanism at the time where man is separate from nature and that man is superior. The Baroque view advocated control of nature, which was considered dark and primitive. Women were considered part of nature and were to be controlled. The elaborate gardens were evidence of their supposed control of nature by potting plants and making boundaries to contain the growth and expansion of nature. The bushes are tortured and contorted into spiral or animal shapes. Their aim with the gardens was to show they “have” nature but that they dominated it. Their buildings were very rigid with ordered proportions using classical proportions and classical icons from the past. The Baroque use of dado to protect the painted walls and artwork with swirling scenes that have a quality of movement that makes them seem ready to move at any second. They still contained the movement of the paintings within the rectangular frames. There are so many features of the Baroque era including the
evolution of the french parquet flooring, the large-scale unblemished mirrors and the use of strong, bold, dark colors for the color palettes of the rooms of the time. These elements are still used today in parquet flooring, boiserie, a french wood paneling and the classical french style which still is a standard of design today.
Rococo style is known for it’s frivolous attitude influenced by the ideas of fantasy, love, happiness and pleasure. Rococo style is identified by it’s use of seashell motifs, and the use of rocks, dripping water and Eastern exoticism showing pagodas and Eastern figures. Trade with the East has made the influences visible in French design at the time. Colonialism is at it’s peak and France controlled fashion the world over. This is the pinnacle of French influence as the guild system has allowed products produced in France to be influential and in demand. Lace, brocade and pastel colors painted the landscape of fashion and decor of the cities and a more relaxed, comfort driven design demand was replacing the rigid formality of the Baroque period. England is at war, Italy’s influence has faded and France is center stage. The demand for exquisite pieces of small, movable furniture for personal use was a new phenomenon and created works that are still in use today such as the side tables, sewing tables and bureaus. The work of Jean-Francois Oeben is incredible. He specialized in crafting small, elaborately fitted, multi-purpose pieces of furniture with mechanical parts. The new seating arrangements and options for how to socially engage with the arrangement of furniture placement and mobility opens a new era of social hierarchy rules which were loosened and more comfortable. This has been an enormous influence on modern furniture design and homes designed for living and entertaining. <a