French Surrealism
Photo by NO ERA Design, LLC

The Frenchmen Hotel, which was originally built in 1860, has been reimagined and redesigned by Denver-based FAM Design and hospitality entrepreneur Robert Thompson (who purchased the hotel in 2021). The hotel features 23 guest rooms, two loft suites and two, two-bedroom suites; a patio area with outdoor pool and hot tub; a lobby lounge with a curated retail area; a mezzanine bar with views of Frenchmen Street; and Midnight Revival, the first-floor cocktail bar specializing in tropical-inspired drinks. The design is inspired by Leonor Fini (a major figure in the French surrealist movement) known for her independence and eccentric, flamboyant style. Fini’s artwork depicts independent women often posing with cats or metamorphosing into them. The Frenchmen Hotel now features three of Fini’s artworks in the hotel lobby, plus a mural by local artist Rachel Loyacono depicting plants and flowers native to New Orleans (plus a few poisonous varieties as a nod to Fini’s rebellious ways). Guest rooms feature artistic touches like handcrafted, paper-clay pendant lights by ceramist Paola Paronetto and prints by artist Strange Dirt (Marsha Robinson), who takes inspiration from Parisian Art Nouveau style. Meanwhile, the upper corridor features large-scale works by Sofia Bonati, an Argentinian artist, who creates whimsical and melancholic female portraits. Another surprising touch is the lobby stair and corridor wall covering of interconnected female forms by artist Laura Berger. thefrenchmenhotel.com

Art as Design

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The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities recently opened The Helis Foundation John Scott Center, led by Center Director Asante Salaam. With 51 works on view by New Orleans artist, educator and humanist John T. Scott, the 6,000-square-foot center presents expansive representations of heritage and symbolism interpreted through the lens of Scott’s life, art and legacy. The artfully designed space also acts as a community hub of interactive exhibitions, programs and experiences fashioned to nurture connections, enhance human potential and drive social change. leh.org

Master the Art of Furniture Painting 

Oxford, England-based paint and color expert, and creator of Chalk Paint, Annie Sloan, recently visited New Orleans for The Big Paint Weekend. During the two-day event, Sloan hosted paint demos with some of the biggest names in the furniture painting world, including Kaćha Furniture, Brushed By Brandy, Jonathon Marc Mendes and All Shabbed Out at the New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute. The workshops were designed to teach popular decorative painting techniques such as marbling, ombre and traditional distressing. For those who couldn’t make it to the event, Sloan shares these top furniture painting tips: Instead of buying new, paint an existing bookcase, lamp base or photo frames to bring them back to life; paint the inside of drawers, cupboards and door edges for a quick pop of color; and pick a hue that sparks joy for you, and then go for it. Also be sure to check out Sloan’s new line of products, which includes the long-awaited wall paint collection of 17 new colors, and satin paint in 14 colors for interior woodwork and metal. Available at Bella Gifts to Geaux, bellagiftstogeaux.com

Children’s Cottage

Hales Cottage, Uptown’s oldest existing residential building, recently underwent a historic renovation and was dedicated in honor of Children’s Hospital New Orleans’ longstanding board member Dr. Stephen Hales, and his wife, Nancy. The cottage now serves as a coffee shop and place of rest for Children’s Hospital patients, families, staff and the community at large. Additionally, the Preservation Resource Center partnered with Children’s Hospital to produce a new book penned by renowned Tulane University geographer Richard Campanella, entitled “The Cottage on Tchoupitoulas: A Historical Geography of Uptown New Orleans.” Available at Octavia Books, octaviabooks.com

 

French Surrealism

No-Limits Design 

Founded by artist and musician Carly Sioux, NO ERA is a New Orleans-based art and design house specializing in vintage interiors. Sioux therefore focuses on sustainability by sourcing vintage and antique furnishings — all while transcending stylistic periods. Her background in the arts influences Sioux’s creative style at her studio. At NO ERA, you’ll find photographs of Sioux’s art and design work alongside the works of cultural icons such as Maria Callas, Balenciaga, Iggy Pop, Salvador Dalí, Carlo Scarpa, Antoni Gaudí, Mario Bellini and Schiaparelli. Sioux is now expanding her design services by developing relationships with even more retailers, collectors, dealers, clients and vintage enthusiasts. noera.design

 

French Surrealism
Photo by Laura Steffan

Cozy Comforts

We Might be on Fire, a New Orleans company founded by Shaun Watson in 2019, offers high-end, artful rugs designed to evoke the beauty of the region’s surroundings. Each rug is designed in New Orleans and handmade in India. In September, We Might be on Fire released a new collection of rugs (five that are hand-tufted designs and one that is a flat-woven design), made from 100 percent hand-dyed wool in a variety of sizes. The new collection also features a selection of five blankets, made from 100 percent cotton in the United States. A portion of proceeds benefits Gulf Coast restoration efforts. wemightbeonfire.net