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Paint It Black

Over the last few years, matte black finishes have been popping up up on cars, faucets, and sinks. But when I saw this finish on an occasional table at last month's Architectural Digest Home Design Show, I knew it had legs (no pun intended).

In contrast to a reflective finish which bounces light, a matte finish absorbs light and tends to soften surfaces that bear this finish. It's a surprise element in a space because we are so accustomed to seeing hard objects with shiny, glossy, satin or metallic finishes. Adding a matte black finish to furnishings captures our attention and creates focus in a space. Like linear elements or rhythmic patterns, matte black objects scattered throughout a space help direct our eyes around a room.

I've seen this finish most in kitchen and bath spaces. Fashion Designer Jason Wu cast his collection of faucets and bath accessories for Brizo in matte black.

          

Brizo has recently expanded the faucets available in black finishes, including its popular Venuto pull-down faucet for the kitchen.

                                    

                                                                                 Photos courtesy of Brizo.

Rohl introduced matte black to its fireclay line of sinks.

   

                                                      Allia Matte Black Sinks. Photos courtesy of Rohl.

European furniture makers are ahead in rolling out furnishings in matte black finishes. English design studio Pinch offers its Derome table lamp in black-stained tulipwood with a black linen shade.

                                              

                                                                      Photo courtesy of Pinch.

Artek, the Finnish furniture company founded by modernist Alvar Aalto in 1935 and still at the forefront of modern design, last year reintroduced archival chairs designed by Ilmari Tapiovaara in a matte black painted finish.

                                          

                                                                      Photo courtesy of Artek.

Czech designers Jan Plechac and Henry Wielgus have fabricated a coffee table of glass and fluted metal in their Ondule collection. In matte black, the table is derivative of classical orders yet strikingly modern.

                                     

                                                         Photo courtesy of 3rings Designer Pages.

Matte black is now rolling out on this side of the Atlantic as well. In its showroom at this month's spring market in High Point, Palacek featured wicker chairs in its flat black finish to showcase its new Basalt accessories collection.

        

                                                                     Photo courtesy of Palacek.

At the Architectural Digest Home Design Show in March, Frederick P. Victoria and Son--a third generation antiques dealer and furniture company specializing in bespoke antique reproductions--showed this three-tier circular etagere in a matte black finish. Lest we think that matte black is a finish reserved for contemporary pieces, this table is an 18th century design.

                               

Trend watchers take note: matte is the new black.