Rococo decorating style is very flamboyant and rich. But no matter all the intricate and ornate features Rococo is also quite elegant. Rococo style peaked during 1700 and 1780 in western Europe and was found in art and music. The name Rococo means “rocaille” in French, which is appropriate as the Rococo’s ornate asymmetry was inspired by natural curves of trees, shells, clouds and flowers.
Rococo is also known as Late Baroque but in contrast with the latter Rococo allows other motifs to come in. Thus Oriental motifs were romanticized to fit the Rococo style. Square shapes gave way to sinuous lines and forms. But the love for complexity has lingered in the Rococo style since Baroque.
Gold plasterwork is one of the key features of Rococo decorating style. Lavishly decorated walls and ceilings mostly featured the contrast of pastels and gold. The motifs used in Rococo decorating style included Chinese, Palladian (Italian) and Gothik tastes. As the names suggest these motifs came from different cultures that allowed to create a certain atmosphere in home décor. Oriental motifs were quiet common in accessories while Gothik Taste borrowed elements from Gothic architecture.
Rococo furniture was made of mahogany wood or was gilded and upholstered in leather, brocade or velour. It also had carved and sinuous silhouettes that compliment the wall and ceiling finishing, which strengthened the ornate picture.
French Rococo was known for such colors as yellow, pink, ivory and gold, azure blue and cream. The combination of pastels and gold is a signature mark, so to speak, to this style.
Since Rococo style went with the free asymmetry square forms gave way to oval and natural forms. Even rooms were designed in oval shape or arranged to avoid square form. The wide use of mirrors was also Rococo’s main feature. They featured intricately-shaped frames that were often gilded.
Lets look at some typical features of Rococo style in detail:
1. Asymmetry – this is one of the main differences from Baroque style. If you look at Rococo ornaments, one half of the design never matches the other half. Through the use of asymmetry designers sought to achieve lightness and airiness of the decoration, creating a playful and carefree mood. Numerous swirls, scrolls and floral designs whimsically curve, twist and interlace.
2. 2. Rocaille – a very often used motif for decoration in Rococo, which also gave the name to this style. Rocaille is an image of shell usually carved on stone which was initially used for decorating entrance of grottoes. Later the word Rocaille was applied for every shell-like, rock-like or elaborate scroll ornament. This motif was used as decorative pattern for furniture, wall carvings and accessories.
3. 3. S and C scrolls were inherited from Baroque style. However in Rococo these ornaments are usually placed asymmetrically. S an C scrolls are also used in furniture design. For example, legs of chairs and tables of that period resemble letter S.
4. 4. Elaborate carvings are usually made from wood and covered with gold or painted in white. They decorate walls, ceilings, pieces of furniture and accessories. In comparison to Baroque, carvings in Rococo style have more sophisticated and filigree forms.
5. 5. Pastoral plots. Battle scenes, trophies images and formal portraits of Baroque period were replaced with frivolous pastoral plots, intimate and mythological scenes. Often they depicted leisure outings of aristocrats, hunting scenes, erotic images of mythological characters, shepherds and shepherdesses.
6. 6. New types of furniture appeared, such as canapé, secreataire, bergere chair and tables for different purposes: playing cards, dressing tables, etc. Furniture becomes lighter and more elegant. Huge attention is paid to accessories and art objects. During that period Europe started to produce porcelain, appeared aquariums.
Since the emergence of Rococo, interest towards it was sometimes growing, sometimes fading. Today Rococo inspires many interior and furniture designers. Sometimes they use rococo elements in design but apply modern finishes.