Last year I visited a friend of a friend’s apartment who had a large diagram of the human skeleton hanging above the couch. At first I thought this was an odd choice for wall art, but soon I recognized that I was more captivated by this screen than the usual painting or print. It may have been because the diagram was both educational and interactive (I really started thinking about the skeletal, neuro, and muscular structure), but also because the large skeleton held the same sort of characteristics that maps do- which also come on these large pulldown screens. Since that evening, I have been on the look out for a similar screen.
For the July Brimfield Antiques Show Jack and I discovered a vendor who specialized in selling large hanging, pulldown charts/screens (whatever they’re called). At his booth the majority of the diagrams were based on scientific and biographic subject matter. They were all in German, seemingly to have come from one school. We both loved the idea of purchasing one as an inexpensive yet graphically interesting piece of artwork for our new apartment. Unfortunately we could not agree on a favorite, (although I still remember mine) so we decided to pass on these until the next time.
Fast forward 1 month later and I am passing by the recently renovated, downtown J. Crew store on 5th Ave. What do I see but a window display with a large hanging diagram! At first glance I thought it was a vintage screen of the Periodic Table of Elements, but upon closer examination I realized that it is actually a replica formatted to fit their visual story. The title is “Elements of Style” with a graphic that reads like a table with the initials of each element as well as the boxes laid out in the same fashion. In some of the boxes however, there is text that defines some of their classic skus. I must say that I think this interpretation is a chic and simplistic concept that really works.
Aside from the J. Crew windows, I have also began to see this screens pop up at antique stores and within interiors. Last weekend when we were upstate for a friends wedding I saw a real antique screen in the window of the antique/curio shop Kabinett and Kramer. This shop also sold several styles of diagrams, mostly related to biology and chemistry.
Lastly, while perusing the sneak peaks section of Design Sponge the other day, I noticed that one of their featured home owners (Jesse James & Kostas Anagnopoulos) hang multiples of these screens throughout their home. I think these screens look very
Would you ever use one of these screens in your home? Do you think that they are they soon to be the next overused and overpriced item in the design world? Especially since a mass-market brand like J. Crew has tapped into the mini-trend? I’d love to hear your thoughts.