Esprit d'Escalier

Esprit d'Escalier


esprit Noun, masculine (a) mind; i~humain the human mind; avoid l'~large/ètroit/lent/clair to be broad~/narrow~/slow~ /clear~mindset; (b) wit; avoir de l'~to be witty.

1 escalier Noun, masculine (a) inside stairs, outside steps; un ~ a staircase, a flight of stairs; dans l' ~ on the stairs;

es-prit d'e-scal-ier (e-spre'de e-skal'yer) n. 1. French phrase literally meaning "the wit from the staircase', and usually referes to the perfect witty response one thinks of after the conversation has ended. 2. Means "staircase wit". It is credited to the French author and encyclopaedist Denis Dederot, in his Paradoxe sur le Comédien, written between 1773 and 1778 but not published until 1830. In the original, it refers to that infuriating situation in which you leave a drawing room and are halfway down the stairs before you suddenly think of that devastatingly witty comment you could have made. (Architectural note: eighteenth-century grand houses had their principal public rooms on an upper floor.) More generally, it's any sparkling remark you wish you had through of at the time but were too slow-witted to produce.


All furniture by Mission Evoluation is MADE IN THE USA by American hands.


Professional studio photographs have been taken by MICHAEL LATIL STUDIO.

Professional studio photographs have been taken by David Romero at Vibrant Image.


"Style is ever thus the response of the organism to the surroundings"
Louis Sullivan, American architect, 1856-1924


Spectacular wood grains come from TALARICO HARDWOODS.


A store full of woods like a library full of books is at HEARNE HARDWOODS.

Point Lobos

Point Lobos Park in Carmel CA, red moss on gray dead trees at the ocean cliff and in the background a dark approaching storm crossing the ocean from the west. I stopped my jog in shock at the eeriness of the red moss and how suddenly it stopped me. Waves were crashing below, off to my side. Breathing loud and hard, catching up with my heartbeat, I realize I am staring at a splatter of brilliant red color as I am facing in the direction of Japan. Maybe I am seeing the inspiration of red specs of contrasting color I've seen in narrow Japanese paintings. Inspiration from nature. Earlier in the day I had seen the designs that the Greene Brothers had built with respect for their natural landscape, close to this park. The intertwining carvings of forest rhododendron and poppies on the door to Charles Greene's house were artistically demonstrated as they grow in the local mountainsides. The ocean waves were making a steady pounding way below, my heart was pounding inside, and some raindrops mixed with sweat. Everything came together for me at this Point Lobos. Spirtuality, adventure, vision of the future, reflection of the past, kinship with nature, wisdom, inspiration, drama, desire to improve, freedom that let me be in the right place at the right time for an instant that I could have missed for many reasons including better knowledge or the readiness to follow the fleeing crowd. I came to realize what the Greene brothers had been saying in their work. It is meaningless art if it does not represent where you come from and where you are going. Show what surrounds you in your artwork. Tell who you are. But, I am from Suburban Maryland and getting wetter. They had natural contrasts and beauty always surrounding them years ago, and I have aluminum siding surrounding me. The storm was getting much darker, and was pushing me into the rain. Does one have to be from this type of park to produce art? How can my art from an eastern home tell who I am? And in this storm, visioning the constant aluminum siding of home I saw yellow, much yellow, all in an instant, in the many black-eyed Susans, my state's flower.


Maryland State Arts Council 2009 Individual Artist Award in Visual Arts: Crafts.


"The professional challenge, whether one is an architect in the rural American South or elsewhere in the world, is how to avoid being so stunned by the power of modern technology and economic affluence that one does not lose sight of the fact that people and place matter...

For me, these small (Rural Studio) projects have in them the architectural essence to enchant us, to inspire us, and ultimately, to elevate our profession. But more importantly, they remind us of what it means to have an American architecture without pretense. They remind us that we can be as awed by the simple as by the complex and that if we pay attention, this will offer us a glimpse into what is essential to the future of American Architecture: Its honesty. 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'

This is the most important thing because nothing else matters. In doing so, an architect will act on a foundation of decency which can be built upon. Go above and beyond the call of a 'smoothly functioning conscience'; help those who aren't likely to help you in return, and do so even if nobody is watching!'

Samuel "Sambo" Mockbee
The Rural Studio - Auburn University School of Architecture


Style 1900 Magazine for turn of the century Arts & Crafts related design information. 

Modernism Magazine for Deco, Midcentury, Pop, and Post Modern.