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Avoid a visually dense design (i.e., horror vacui).
Create a design that balances boldness, strength, and sinuousness with traditional colors and contours of stylized botanical subjects.
Create botanical motifs from local flora instead of merely using traditional design elements.
Achieve a mood and style reminiscent of the Norwegian artistic tradition, while drawing upon the best in various traditions of decorative painting, without being colloquial to the point of esotericism.
Create a palette consistent with the conference center color scheme, as well as weddings (and the variety of color schemes associated with them) for which the facility is also frequently used.
The prospectus also proposed possible approaches in fulfilling these requirements, and even included sample rosemalling styles, inviting the client to select a desired approach.
The prospectus proposed three stylistic possibilities for executing the rosemalling. As always, good design is well informed by research, experience, skill, and the creative juxtaposition of possibilities.
Upon resolution of fundamental design considerations, the next step focused on ensuring that the rosemalling consisted with such characteristics of the space as lighting, color scheme, textures, etc. Provided with samples of materials to be used in the conference room décor, Elspeth prepared the following design swatch to further clarify the client's desires concerning the rosemalling.
Decision-making tools like this are crucial in helping everyone on a project team visualize outcomes.
The prospectus stated:
Due to the very long, vertical format of each pilaster, we suggest that the pilasters be visually broken up by background panels such as are often seen in Scandinavian decorative painting traditions. This should detract from what could otherwise be a very visually busy, monotonous design. These background panels can be in a range of desired colors or color schemes, depending on the final design; however, we suggest that color(s) selected for this purpose be a neutral tone that does not call too much attention to itself. Such panels will offset the painted motifs and provide a pleasing effect when the pilasters are viewed as a whole.
To this purpose, research began on the design of an architectural motif (essentially rectilinear) to appear as a supporting layer to the curvilinear rosemalling. The following samples from design sketches for the project illustrate the approach to such tasks.
Whether the medium is a chunky piece of pastel or a sodden watercolor mop, the idea at this stage is to capture motion or mood. The medium must flow or respond not only to the fluidity of motion, but the speed and fluidity of thought, so that the feeling associated with the poetry of line can be readily recorded. Elspeth's design sketch for this feature achieved that objective.
This drawing by Ashton, though refined from Elspeth's sketch, is still fluid enough to admit ideas and possibilities.
Once stylistic, color scheme, and other decisions were made, Elspeth completed her research into native plant material to be used as a basis for floral motifs. She formulated not only the design of each species represented, but the configuration of the whole.