Words according to Thomas, Co-Founder, Jack of all Trades, and Creative and Visual Director of Raven Vanguard
When Ordinary Labels, Classifications, And Characterizations Don’t Apply
As Brooke, Dakota, and I are finally nearing completion of the redesign of our Music Room, we have been besieged by questions asking us to describe the underlying concept and design style of this multifaceted and sacred space.
Holy Mother! Where, and how, do I even begin to answer this question? Especially when we are dealing with something that, at its core, was always intended to be an inviolable, immutable, and eternal mystery, known only to us. Not only that, but I detest attempting to define something undefinable in a linguistic sense, or that which is thoroughly defying graspable explanation; so, for this reason, I mostly abstain from the very act of definition. From the exact moment of Raven Vanguard’s conception, I have made it clear to anyone willing to listen that we spurn categorization, are without common denominators, and will never resort to being derivative.
However, somewhat in jest, I glibly describe the style of our room as our obscure and darkened take on 19th Century Parisienne-bordello chic. And, my intended sarcasm aside, that description isn’t too far off of the mark, at least in part. I’ll return to this thought in a minute.
For us, every space is about creating sanctuary with an atmosphere, sacredness, mood, spirit, or vibe fused with magic, intemperance, passion, ritual, and theater. Generally speaking, our work does not precisely reference or pay homage to any particular style of design, decoration, or ornamentation. We believe our creative work is as uncommon as a fingerprint. Each one of our designed spaces is conceived to be utterly unique with the mysterious imprint of Raven Vanguard embodying each intentional design decision comprising the finished form.
In today’s chaotic world, the word intention is all too often misused or entirely misunderstood, but not by us – we embody what it means to be purposeful. Our single guiding principle will always be our Raven Vanguard sense of beauty, where every detail is considered and then obsessed over in perpetuity.
I often say that artistry is the ultimate act of creation; it's the visionary or interpretive achievement of making something out of nothing. However, from a pure creativity perspective, the individual creator can never truly be entirely divorced from the root or source of her or his inspirational influences or aesthetic antecedent touchstones.
When I stand back and objectively examine the current incarnation of our Music Room, and attempt to perceptibly parse and catalog the litany of design elements intertwined within, the visual benchmarks of my life undeniably unfold before me. I behold the beauty and opulence found inside Paris’ 19th Century luxurious red-lantern brothels; storied, hedonistic gathering places like Le Chabanais, La Fleur Blanche, The Abbey, and Raspoutine. There is also a hint of the fabled 19th Century tea rooms or tea houses operated by the divine Femme across Europe and the US. Then there is the otherworldliness and spirituality of churches built in centuries past, and the unbridled and explorative eroticism of the mythical Victorian-era opium dens that ironically proliferated throughout much of France, parts of Great Britain, and the United States in the decades that followed the first and second Opium Wars in the mid-1800s. And lest not forget the artistic, philosophical, and theological decadence, sensuality, and sinisterness of interwar-Berlin. Then, finally, but never least, there’s also the irrefutable aesthetic foreshadowing wrought by the unrestrained creativity of Josephine Bonaparte at Chateau de Malmaison. Each of these archetypes strangely, yet marvelously flashes before me, and I cannot deny their existence.
For me, the totality of our Music Room is unquestionably more magnificent than the confluence of its various influences (as untethered as they may be), so please forgive my inability to subscribe to a singular design style in attempting to articulate the genesis of its creation. Whether you’re a realist, a saint, a sinner, a fantasist, a temptress, a moralist, a classicist, a surrealist, a theorist, a sadist, a masochist, a villain, or an escapist, there’s something utterly mindblowing for every person to experience in this space.
As I contemplate the future uses of our Music Room, my imagination spirals out of control pondering the near-imaginary fine line separating that which is virtuous and righteous from that which is cataclysmically and undeniably wicked. This is conceived as a space where one can chill in absolute solitude or partake in the consumption of provocative art, absinthe, and aphrodisiacs, eventually succumbing to a multitude of sins, each and every one of them wholly original and orgasmically divine. For once inside this kaleidoscopically wondrous space, it will be nearly impossible for you to know what or which side of the void you are on. The unveiling of the Hallowed is about to begin.
And that’s just my take on our Music Room; only God Herself knows what Brooke and Dakota have conjured within their unbound, imaginative, and telepathic minds.