Modern Design in an Ancient City

by Kevin Twitty in ,


About a year ago my husband Brad and I took a trip to Asia. While there we spent a week traveling through China. From the first moment we landed in Bejing, our first stop, I was in awe of how modern everything felt. Even our hotel, which was was located in the Dongchen district right next to the Forbidden City,  one of the older parts of the city, was very modern. This district of China contains buildings that are thousands of years old. I noticed that even the architectural details on these building are what we now consider "modern" details and designs.  

This centuries year old stone design on this building is seen in many modern designs from fabrics to wallpaper. Here it is shown in decorative tile in a modern master bath. 

On the top of many temples you would see a row of dragons and animals to show the importance of the buildings. They reminded me a lot of Jonathan Adler modern animal statues. 

The underside of this bell tower has such beautiful color. I see a lot of inspiration in the modern bohemian style. This rug is the perfect example of that. 

When you think of China, bamboo lattice comes to mind. Here is an example of modern bamboo inspired dining chairs.

Geometric designs are seen all around China. This was a motif on a 2000 year old bridge. I love how it relates so well with some of these modern wallpapers. 

This motif is known as the "Greek Key". You can see how global the world was millennia ago. I love this design element used as the leading edge to these drapes. 

Our second stop was Xi'an which contains one of the worlds greatest treasures, the Terracotta Army. The warrior's armor reminded me so much of a modern concrete motif you see in the exterior of contemporary architecture. 

Foo dogs are another great traditional Chinese sculpture you now see in modern day decor.

The huge tacks on these door into the forbidden city remind me so much of the nail head craze that many designers love today. 

I hope you have enjoyed this little trip half way around the world and you too can take modern inspiration from these ancient cities.