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Heads up: The bust is back for home decor

By Patricia Sheridan
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

No matter where your gaze traveled at the recent High Point Furniture Market, it landed on a bust. Not the kind that comes in cup sizes, but the portraits sculpted since antiquity to memorialize the memorable or the wealthy.

From the 3,300-year-old Nefertiti to the more commonplace Winston Churchill, busts are bigger than ever as a design element. Showroom designers who do their best to highlight new collections of tables, chairs, chests and chaises were using them as accent pieces everywhere.

Wesley Hall had one in front of a fireplace while Century, Hickory Chair and Bernhardt had busts on top of chests or tables. But it was Stanley Furniture’s new showroom that really went to town with this classic accessory. Los Angeles designers Ron Woodson and Jaime Rummerfield were called in to do the Stanley showroom. They had busts grouped on top of breakfronts, placed on a desk or in front of mirrors. Busts of the known and unknown populated the space, adding gravitas.

“We were inspired by the idea of using classic accessories in a modern setting and vice versa,” said Ron Fiori, Bernhardt’s showroom designer.

Versatility is one reason for the revival of this decorative accent. The classical bust strikes a dynamic contrast in a contemporary setting, while a less traditional version, such as the resin Augustus Caesar bust in neon green or yellow by the Phillips Collection, peps up a tired space.

“Caesar is a figure that has long adorned homes around the world for the austere and stately image he represents,” said Jason Phillips, president of Jason Phillips Designs and creative director of the Phillips Collection. “This appeals to a larger audience since it represents a traditional figure but with a modern twist.”

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