Thursday, February 17, 2011

Winter Carnival... Design On Ice

Winter Carnival, St. Paul, Minnesota; google images

One of the elements important to seasonal design is being true to where you are at the time… both figuratively & literally. Inhabitants in areas that experience serious winters know what to expect after the frost first appears, and actually adopt nature’s chilly characteristics into their lives. They have learned to embrace the iciness!

Many cities in the northern United States and Canada celebrate the season with festive carnivals. Having grown up in Michigan, I have personal experience with two such events, albeit fairly humble ones. My parents and I had a cottage located near Houghton Lake, which is the largest inland lake in Michigan. Each year the town holds a festival on the frozen lake called “Tip Up Town,” in reference to the device that indicates above the ice that you indeed have a catch below ice. We were never into fishing, but we did enjoy being able to drive, walk and even dine (if dining includes a steaming bowl of chili and piping hot chocolate!) on a huge expanse of ice!

Tip Up Town, Houghton Lake, Michigan; google images

When I first went away to college, I really went AWAY to college… 550 miles from my home in the suburbs of Detroit… to Michigan Tech in Houghton, on the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Suffice it to say that Houghton gets a lot of snow, and MTU’s mascot is a Husky for a reason! The major event of the year at Tech is Winter Carnival, which includes such revelry as the crowning of a Carnival Queen. But the big deal is the creation of bigger-than-life ice sculptures… as you can imagine, working with hoses gushing with water when it is zero degrees outside is not for the un-hearty souls! Each year the Carnival has a theme which inspires the student groups to design unique and hopefully winning sculptures in the competition.

Michigan Technological University Winter Carnival, Houghton, Michigan

Delta Sigma Phi won 2nd Place this year with "Harry the Wizard Fights in a Blizzard"

So, what does all this have to do with interior design? Well, design often imitates environment, and the crystalline ambiance of an icy Winter Carnival translates beautifully into a stunning interior space.

Winter Carnival, St. Paul, Minnesota; google images

Here are some ideas for bringing frosty features into your home...

Lit Mercury Glass Globes; Pottery Barn

Crystal Puck Light; Lamps Plus

Rippled Glass Bud Vases; Pottery Barn

Zelda Vase; Crate & Barrel

Twilight Candlesticks in Middle Blue; Objects of Envy

Crystal Paperweight; Lamps Plus

I am certainly not implying that you would change out your chandelier each season! However, if you live in the north country, or simply love a wintry aesthetic, a chandelier can truly exemplify iciness...

Acqua Chandelier;; (This also has a wonderfully watery, under-the-sea look!)


The look of a million icicles dangle from this breathtaking Seguso Chandelier;

Although I like the idea of bringing subtle nuances of the chilly north into my interiors, I am not sure what I think about staying in one on vacation...

Ice Hotel, Norway; google images

Ice Hotel, Sweden; google images

Royal Deluxe Suite at the Ice Hotel, Sweden;

Although the rooms are stunning, I don't know if I could ever get truly comfortable at an "Ice Hotel." What about you?