Trend Alert: Fluted Plaster

Words by Kerry Pieri.

Columns serve a utilitarian architectural purpose, of course, offering stability and strength. But the linear nature of their fluted plaster or stone also provides visual order and balance. Life can often feel chaotic and beyond our control but inviting pieces inspired by elements of the old world into our homes might just create a sense of ease while ushering in beauty. Those soothing, repeating lines can mollify your senses after days of remote or in-person work and school drop-offs, set to the sounds of news and podcasts streaming through our earbuds and emails dinging endlessly in our handbags.

When going for timeless, it hardly gets more on point than referencing classical Greek architecture. While plaster and moldings are feelings de rigueur at the moment, their origin story dates back to at least the 6th Century BC with the birth of the Classical Order and with it, the rise of the column. The five recognized orders come from Ancient Greece and later Rome and include Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, and Composite.

Trend Alert: Fluted Plaster

According to The Met Museum, the best-preserved example of Archaic Doric architecture is the temple of Apollo at Corinth, built in the second quarter of the sixth century B.C. It’s now the defining piece de resistance on Neoclassical Architecture, and most of Washington D.C. While Corinthian and Composite columns are more ornate—getting into scrolls and egg and dart motifs—it’s the straightforward beauty of Doric and Ionic columns that are informing so much of design now—arguably giving the best reference to what we’re seeing in modern plaster fluting.

Trend Alert: Fluted Plaster

Life can often feel chaotic and beyond our control. Inviting pieces inspired by elements of the old world into our homes might just create a sense of ease while inviting in beauty.

For her recent collaboration with Crate and Barrel Athena embraced the idea throughout the collection: in the A Coste glassware, the Pompeii pedestal, the Cannelée vase series, mugs, and linen lamp shades. It all started in the fluted portal entry of her Brooklyn bathroom, a space in her home that offered little utility—or as most designers might see it, an opportunity to make an area as impactful as possible. “On my master floor, architecture informed the space,” Athena explains in her book Live Beautiful. “Grand double doors led to the master bathroom, boasting an old-world style bathtub, plaster walls, and a marble fireplace, but the hallway in between served no purpose,” she continues.

The solution lies in classical architecture. “Obsessed with collecting plinths and pillars for the home, I was attracted to ancient Greek marble columns, but it wasn’t until I saw a wood-paneled room at the University of Padua designed by Gio Ponti that I found what I was after. I wrapped fluted plaster up the walls and over the ceiling…,” she says. Athena brought in Kamp Studios to bring her vision to life and the look has soared in popularity ever since (not to mention cemented their status as the leader in the old-world plaster technique).

Trend Alert: Fluted Plaster

“Since our install for Athena there has been a significant surge in the design community for our fluted texture,” Amy Morgenstern, owner/creative director; Kamp Studios tells Eyeswoon. “It’s such an amazing feature to add to any aesthetic as it’s so versatile. This architectural relief brings so many various points of visual interest. Whether you have natural light or ambient lighting the shadow play that’s created sets such a mood.”

Even if you aren’t going to plaster an entire room in your home (though we do recommend it!), time travel with plaster-fluted decorative items and art inspired by the technique. It can’t promise to cure all the chaos happening outside, but it might just offer the visual balm for your senses.

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