The term Chinoiserie, derived from the French word Chinois or Chinese, is the European interpretation of Chinese or Asian culture into decorative arts. This can be architecture, landscape design, furniture, wallpaper, textiles, porcelains, etc. It is first related to the Rococo style which began in France during the reign of Louis XV and is highly ornamental with a theatrical style of decoration.
Chinoiserie became popular during the 18th century because Europeans had a fascination with the exotic Far East. Few Europeans had traveled to Eastern Asia which lead to the mystique although trade with China and East Asia was increasing. Imports of Chinese porcelain, lacquer, and textiles along with the perception of what typical life was like in Asia inspired artisans throughout Europe to created products with Chinoiserie motifs.
Like many styles, Chinoiserie popularity has and ebb and flow. It seems the classic style is in fashion as traditional blue and white porcelain was important at the furniture market this fall and was featured in almost every showroom. Chinoiserie works well in traditional décor as well as contemporary if use sparingly. At Showtime in December we will introduce a few Chinoiserie inspired patterns.