Updated: Jul 16, 2022
One of my favourite styles both architecturally and through interior design is Pompeian.
Maison Pompéienne is a great example of this, completed in 1860, it was built in Paris for Prince Jérôme Napoléon, inspired directly by the Villa of Diomedes in Pompeii.
Remember, Pompeii had only been recently "discovered" with excavation in 1738.
Pompeii provided such a source of inspiration for artists and architects in the 18th century. Well preserved frescoes, new motifs, bright colours with polychromy and incredible mosaics shedding new light on ancient art and gave new source material to draw from.
Prince Napoleon, was determined to relive the greatness of Napoleon the First's ancient discoveries. So he built Maison Pompéienne. Busts of the Bonaparte family surrounded the atrium, with a white marble statue of Napoleon I presiding in the guise of a deified Caesar.
This palace and the paintings of it by Gustave Boulanger may be seen as the apotheosis of the Néo-Grec aesthetic. A distinctly French, Greek-Revival arts movement. Gustave had himself been to Pompeii, as did many other great artists, writers and architects from Europe.
The Maison Pompéienne located at 16-18 Avenue Montaigne was demolished in 1891 and no longer exists. It serves to remind us of the wider stylistic influences we can draw upon from ancient history. "Classical" architecture and design should not be restricted to temple designs.
With knowledge of Pompeii, how might we better decorate spaces today? We are familiar with wallpaper, but could we incorporate more frescoes and painted walls?
Seen here on The Pompeian Room at the Bourbon Apartments inside the Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain.
Could we build more atriums?
Villa Getty provides some inspiration, whilst not Pompeian, derives from the Roman style none the less.
Take the Pompeiianum, built in the 1840s in the Bavarian town of Aschaffenburg, built for Pompeian art lovers in Germany by King Ludwig I.
What about modern needs? Everyone imagines a great modern 'luxury house' having a pool right? We could look at incorporating the Roman/Pompeian 'impluvium'. There are many possible ways to experiment on Pompeian art and architecture.
I hope the miracle of Pompeii and it's preserved art will serve as further inspiration for future builds, and that we can build beautifully with the incredible designs and features of European historical works.
Here's to bold Pompeian interiors once more!
Article written by Radomir Kobryn-Coletti