Are you watching The Borgias series on Showtime? The show merges the sexiness of Renaissance-era opulence with the scandal of a crime family saga, telling the story of the infamous Borgia family, whose corrupt patriarch, Rodrigo Borgia, gained political power in 15th century Italy. To kick off the premiere of the second season, Showtime selected designers in 10 cities to create gorgeous Borgias-themed displays in exclusive storefront windows, with each window representing a single word that resonates with the series.
San Francisco-based designer Nicole Hollis tackled the theme of power by creating a stunning display at Zinc Details. We caught up with Nicole to get her styling secrets for pulling off old-world style in a modern storefront. Keep reading to find out which Renaissance trends are still hot today, her go-to design resources, and tricks for creating high-impact style in any home.
CasaSugar: What was your primary source of inspiration for bringing a slice of 15th century Rome to life?
Nicole Hollis: Renaissance still-life paintings with their heavy symbolism and moody feel are completely amazing. We wanted to re-create this in three dimensions.
CS: It's interesting to see an old-world aesthetic meld so seamlessly with a store that celebrates modernism. What are some design characteristics from that period that still feel relevant today?
NH: Good design is timeless. Form and functionality and high-quality materials are relevant to any era. We featured leather-bound books, rich fabrics, lots of black, and natural elements such as fruit, flowers, and a skull — all items used in design today.
CS: The theme of power calls for a high-impact design statement. What was the strategy for pulling that off in such a small space? How can that be translated for the home?
NH: We assembled potent objects and arranged them in a classic composition, but the element that brought everything together was light. This is equally true in the home. Good lighting is essential to creating the right look and feel in a storefront window or in a house. Lighting makes all the difference and should never be underestimated in the design process.
CS: The ornate frame fits the window so perfectly! Can you tell us where you sourced some of the decorative items for the window display?
NH: The frame was custom made here in San Francisco by Back to the Picture. Other items came from Antiquario, V & M, and Bell'Occhio. Discount Fabrics is a great resource for inexpensive fabric and of course the world-class San Francisco Flower Mart.
Visit Showtime's The Borgias Unveiled contest and vote on your favorite window display by May 31st. You'll automatically be entered to win a fabulous Italian getaway, a gift certificate to V&M, and more!