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Busts making headway as popular room decoration choice

No matter where your gaze traveled at the recent High Point Furniture Market, it landed on a bust. Not the kind that comes in cup sizes, but the portraits sculpted since antiquity to memorialize the memorable or the wealthy.

From the 3,300-year-old Nefertiti to the more commonplace Winston Churchill, busts are bigger than ever as a design element. Showroom designers who do their best to highlight new collections of tables, chairs, chests and chaises were using them as accent pieces everywhere.

In room settings from contemporary to conflicted, the classic bust thrives.

“We were inspired by the idea of using classic accessories in a modern setting and vice versa,” said Ron Fiori, Bernhardt’s showroom designer. “In this particular case, we wanted to use the nobleman bust – a traditional design element – in a modern setting, playing on the idea of classic with a twist.

The bust Fiori used was a porcelain depiction of an Almoravid nobleman by Tozai Home that retails for $695.

The Almoravid were an 11th-century Moroccan dynasty.

Versatility is one reason for the revival of this decorative accent.

The classical bust strikes a dynamic contrast in a contemporary setting, while a less traditional version, such as the resin Augustus Caesar bust in neon green or yellow by the Phillips Collection, peps up a tired space.

“Caesar is a figure that has long adorned homes around the world for the austere and stately image he represents,” explained Jason Phillips, president of Jason Phillips Designs and creative director of the Phillips Collection. “Usually represented in a classical material like marble or stone, we have dressed him in bright, glossy colors as well as silver leaf. We think this appeals to a larger audience since it represents a traditional figure but with a modern twist.”

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