Design Vocabulary: Shagreen

With its interesting texture and subtle sheen, shagreen has always been “in”. The material has an interesting past. It was originally made from the untanned skin of various animals (like horses, sharks, and rays), and used for swords or bookbinding in the 17th and 18th centuries. Later, it became popular in the 1920s and 1930s as the pale-green tone went well with the chrome finishes of the Art Deco style; and then again in the 1970s with accent furniture. Today, shagreen is often found in faux forms (replicated in synthetic fabrics), but you can still find authentic pieces in vintage or modern forms. Here are just a few of our favorite shagreen pieces at Viyet:

Shagreen Bar Collage

Add glamour to your décor with the Vintage Shagreen Bar Cabinet. With silver cabriole legs, white gold leaf accents, and a mirrored interior, it is stunning. Place the Salgado Saucier Inc. Cooper Wall Sconces (sold separately) on either side. Their body is made from stingray shagreen and nickel, and would beautifully complement the bar cabinet.

Shagreen Cabinet Collage

If you’re looking for a buffet for your contemporary room, the Cliff Young LTD Modern Faux Shagreen Buffet would work perfectly. In faux shagreen, it has a lacquer finish and silver trim and legs. Inside there are three drawers and one cabinet. Pair it with the Henredon Faux Shagreen Mirror, which has a shagreen inlay and silver details that pick up those in the buffet.

Shagreen Chest Collage

An absolutely striking storage piece is the Julian Chichester Ivory Ptolemy Chest. It has a faux ivory shagreen finish and a graceful curved silhouette accented with ivory legs. This pretty B. Mori & Co. Silver Shagreen Tea Canister would look lovely on top of this chest. Though it is intended as a tea canister, its shape and color make it perfect as a display piece.

Shagreen Bench

The Modern Elegant Shagreen Bench is ideal for placing at the foot of your bed. It has a richly textured stingray upholstery and brass nailheads. If space allows, this would look lovely in a foyer.

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