Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Magic and Fantasy

On my recent vacation to Turkey, I read Perdido Street Station. Reading it, I realized that one of the things I'm missing is a sense of the fantastic or magical in steampunk. It's there, I know, in books and comics and movies. But how do you make it part of your home?

I think there are two ways to do this.

Looking around me on my trip, I realized that Turkish -- as well Indian and the broader Arabic -- style was "fantastic" to Victorian England. One of the more exotic trips you could take was the Orient Express steam train. Where did it drop you off? In the middle of Istanbul. (In a lovely old train station that is still used today.) These countries were the "other", the exotic. As such, their style represented the unknown and can be used to conjour up a feeling of magic in today's steampunk homes. Here are some examples:
  • Datamancer's Arabic arch bookcase
  • A Turkish lamp, like this one that I purchased in the Grand Bazaar (too bad it was broken in transit...)
  • Armillaries, like this one, have a magical feel to it, likely because they were developed by Muslim astronomers in the 17th century.
  • Wunderly has wonderful stuff from Morocco and Yurdan has many things from Turkey.
A second way to conjour this magical or fantasic feeling in your home is to introduce fantastic objects:

Some would argue that the fantastic would push your home over the edge into cheesy, but I say it's the personal touch -- the something different -- that makes your house your home. Go ahead -- add some swirls, some arabesques, some magic!

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