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Looks We Love: The Matte Effect

and by Moooi

Looks We Love:
Dark & Moody

In the spirit of the season, we’re feeling right at home on the dark side,
with designs that are moody, mysterious and ever-so noir.

Written by

The most terrifying time of year is upon us (well, aside from Black Friday) and you might have noticed porches draped in fake spiderwebs and front lawns being taken over by foam cemeteries. But aside from the seasonal decorations that spend most of the year boxed up in the attic, how do you add a little intrigue into your modern design scheme?

For those of us who dally on the dark side, every day is Halloween. This doesn’t necessarily mean our homes are decked out in fake blood and skeletons. Rather, there’s an elegance and timelessness that accompany a slightly spooky vibe, weaving a web of mystery and sophistication throughout your home. And accomplishing a look this bold doesn’t have to be haunting. Here, find some of our favorite tricks (and treats) for a modern design scheme so beautiful, it’s scary.

Literal Lighting

A creepy chandelier is an obvious choice for giving your home a macabre makeover. The Wright Stuff collection from Varaluz has a web-like caged center around which a modern electric candelabra flickers. For an accent lamp straight out of a castle, try Currey and Company’s Daystar Table Lamp, whose pointy adornment resembles a medieval mace in stunning black and gold.

Illusory Interpretations

For a more impressionistic approach, use decorative lighting that hints at something sinister. Terzani has mastered the play of light and shadow in their sumptuous fixtures, and the Core Half-Sphere LED Pendant is no exception. Its otherworldly frame is wide open to interpretation, from exploding planet to neurological pathways to a many-legged creature guarding its treasures. And Resident has given us the ghost in the Torchon LED Pendant; its melty free-form blown glass diffuser brings to mind a misty apparition (you can tell the neighbor kids it’s just swamp gas).

Furniture with Fright

Aside from dramatic chandeliers and pendants, your furniture can add eerie elegance when viewed in the right light. While heavy carved-wood pieces with foreboding upholstery tacks are common in Gothic styling, they’re too heavy for everyday modern living. Enter Carl Hansen’s LM92 Metropolitan Chair, whose curious silhouette adds an element of mystery to the mid-century Scandinavian tradition. And the Bowl tables by Mater have spindly, spidery legs that look just a little bit dangerous (metaphorically speaking, of course).

Photo via Moooi

There certainly can be something unsettling about the one-off piece in the room, the thing that just doesn’t quite fit. But in this case, the Moooi Smoke Dining Chair does its dark duty in grounding an almost-too-white bath, leaving the viewer to speculate about the fascinating creature who prepares her toilette at such a dramatic vanity. Adding just one showstopping piece to an otherwise straightforward modern space focuses the eye on the dramatic effect.

Funky Furnishings

For an edgy rock’n’roll style, take a page from Tim Burton’s book and incorporate wild patterns and a pop of bright color. Think Beetlejuice meets Alice in Wonderland. The confusion of form in the Time Maze Clock by Alessi somehow works with the wild weave of Gan Rugs’ Etnia Rug and would make a strong statement as the only busy elements in an otherwise dark, sedate space.

Abnormal Accessories

If you aren’t ready for a full-on mausoleum remodel (or your cohabitants aren’t feeling particularly dead inside), search for smaller accent pieces to haunt your home. Paired with an edgy, exposed-hardware table and the slightly skeletal Alessi vase cover, putting an Eames House Bird on it is less hipster, more Hitchcock. And Alessi helps you literally turn over a new leaf (albeit a black metal one) with A Lotus Leaf Centrepiece, which can be used facing up or down as spooky servingware.

Finally, feel free to let your freak flag fly. Adding a bit of levity helps to keep your goth look cool and edgy, not depressing: Think Morticia Addams meets Marcel Wanders. This slightly creepy clown candy dish from Wanders’ Circus collection for Alessi might make your guests question your sanity, but they’ll never doubt your good taste.