Monday, October 5, 2009
This past weekend found me hosting three out-of-town guests and no big plans other than a birthday dinner on Saturday night. And so we decided to spend Saturday afternoon at the Greek Festival, one of the largest of its kind in the country. We spent the day gorging ourselves on spanakopita, gyros, and baklava and even sampled some Greek wine and coffee (very sweet!). And, while there was little to do at the Greek festival aside from, well, eating Greek food, we still had a wonderful time. In honor of that, I thought I'd bring together a round up of my favorite items featuring perhaps the most iconic of design motifs: Greek key.
A popular explanation of the Greek key motif is that it's meant to recall the Greek myth of the labyrinth that imprisoned the minotaur on the island of Crete. While the idea is loving (and indeed fitting), the origins of the interlocking right angles and vertical lines (also known as Meander), the origins of the pattern are unknown and are probably not exclusively Greek. In fact, the Greeks (or rather the Minoans, the early inhabitants of Crete) probably borrowed the design from the ancient Egyptians, with whom they frequently traded. In truth though, there are probably multiple, independent origins of the design as it was used all over the ancient world -- for example, the motif has been found on Aztec sculpture, Peruvian crafts and Chinese architecture. But, since the Greeks (and the Romans after them) used the design liberally in their architecture, pottery and sculpture, the term "Greek key" has stuck.
And, while it's debatable whether or not the repeating pattern is a universally-recognized symbol of eternal life, it's certainly one of the oldest and most enduring patterns in human history. If you're in the market for home decor that can stand the test of time (and who isn't in this economy?), then just about anything with Greek key is a safe bet.
Source list (clockwise from top left): 1. Greek Key accent table ($330) from Global Views. 2. Greek key personalized coasters ($80/set of 100) and stationery ($60/set of 100) each by Dabney Lee Stationery and available at Saks Fifth Avenue. 3. greek key pillows ($375 each) from Jayson Home and Garden. 4. "Frank" white lacquer dining table ($2,750) from Revival Home and Garden. 5. abbott single arm sconce ($210) from Circa Lighting. 6. Greek key settee by Eric Cohler for Lee Jofa. 7. Greek Key frame ($78) from Jonathan Adler.
Source list (clockwise, from top left): 8. Byzantine barware ($175) from Pieces. 9. Greek key letterpress mini cards/enclosures ($6/set of 8) by Missive. 10. Greek-Key scroll jacquard bedding ($79-$399) from Williams-Sonoma Home. 11. Clay Very Stoned Carpet ($75-$1400) from Madeline Weinrib. 12. greek key border tile from Ann Sacks. 13. Suzani upholstered ebony toned greek key chair ($245) from Material Recovery. 14. Cypress cocktail table from Hickory Chair. 15. Radcliffe etagere ($2,500) from Jonathan Adler.