Fashion lovers will recall that Coco Chanel claims to have “nearly fainted with joy” the first time she saw a Coromandel screen in an antique shop. The renowned designer is rumored to have collected nearly three dozen of the Chinese lacquered panels in her lifetime, reigniting an interest in pieces once in vogue in late 17th-century Europe. But lest it sound like an ornamental oddity, two heavy-hitting interior designers—Billy Baldwin in the mid-20th century and Mario Buatta, known as the Prince of Chintz, in the ’70s and ’80s—incorporated such screens into many standout projects.
Today, designers are using age-old techniques to elicit luxe looks in lacquer without the fussiness of its forebearers. Mark De La Vega’s Olas screen, for instance, features mosaic waves made from eggshells mixed with lacquer and resin. If Art Deco is more your speed, Porus Studio’s Seattral is sleeker, though just as glamorous. For more relaxed settings, Poliform’s Hima room divider provides separation with softness.
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