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Our Design Intervention

 

Paris needs no introduction of course and we were very excited to be kicking off 2020 in this iconic city in mid-January, warmly wrapped to combat the winter chill.  Not that anyone needs an excuse to visit Paris in any season! For us however, a big drawcard was the opportunity to experience two of the most prestigious lifestyle and design events in the world: Maison et Objet and Paris Deco Off, an open house of the right and left bank designer showrooms.

Paris Deco Off was particularly appealing with trade talks and events hosted by the most stylish and innovative showrooms in the design world. Its festive environment led us on a wonderful design journey through the streets of Paris.

Check out some of our highlights

 

Tropical prints are certainly no passing trend and in 2020 we see them reinterpreted with a new level of sophistication. Murals printed on grass cloth and embroidered fabrics deliver drama, richness and luxury. Some of our favourites were seen at Casamance, Arte and DeGournay. Discover more about -> Tropical Prints.


 

DESIGN INTERVENTION ⇒ Design Trail 

 


 

1. Fabric Dome 2. The Iconic lampshades of Deco Off – over 150 illuminations are strung across Paris 3. Japanese inspired wallpaper @Arte 4. Sitting on one of the Giant Pieces of Furniture exhibited across Paris 6. Zuber splendour

 

Following the design trail set out for Paris Deco Off isn’t the only way to find design inspiration because in the words of Thomas Jefferson:

 

One such enchanted walk lead us to none other than the Plaza De Athenee and Alan Ducasse’s amazing restaurant. Deconstructed glittering chandeliers and elegant silver bells reflect the purity of the menu. While later on, a feminine inspired salon at the La Narcisse boutique hotel was the ultimate memorable venue for a night cap.

 

 

 

 

 With more than 5,000 exhibitors and an enormous exhibition hall, this is an endless source of inspiration for the world of interiors. A mecca of all things lifestyle, each year sees brands pushing the boundaries in design. These are some of our highlights from the design fair which never fails to surprise and delight.

Lights take on an art form –  illumination is purely their function.  Shapes, materials, designs and structures are dramatic and museum worthy.

Colour appears everywhere, in stools and rugs from Ferreira de Sa and objet from luxury lifestyle brand L’Objet.

Animal prints and designs are still centre stage but re-inspired with new designs and colours – the trend is perennial and will be forever chic in any interior. If you’re a big fan of animal print check out our blog post Animal Instincts.

 

My personal favourite – Lladro Porcelain masks

No one could ever find Paris dull, as design week or not, this city is a feast for the senses.  Its beauty, history, food and culture makes it one of our favourites and we just loved beginning this exciting year with a total cultural and design immersion in one of the most famous cities in the world.

Bring on 2020!

 

February 26, 2020 0 comment
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New year, new decade, new start, new hope…. 2020

We return to work after a fun packed holiday break, full of excitement and anticipation about what this new decade will bring for us. And as we begin to attack our latest projects, we can’t help but evaluate how our client’s expectations seem to be at a pivotal turning point as we enter this new decade.

Throughout most of the last decade, our client briefs would emphasize aesthetics and perhaps function. But more recently, expectations extend far beyond simply enhancing the look of the home. Overwhelmingly, we see our clients, thinking about their homes as personal sanctuaries. Individual style preferences may differ but the brief from our clients is surprisingly consistent.

They are asking for personalized homes that are restorative retreats where they can recharge and reset. They are searching for design choices that go beyond improving aesthetics: they are looking to design to promote wellbeing to nurture happiness and foster healthier lifestyles.

Experts predict that stress related illnesses will be the primary cause of sickness in 2020 and scientific studies have proven the disastrous effects of poor sleep on health and happiness. So it stands to reason that the pursuit of effective ways to lead healthier happier lives is going to be a key driver of lifestyle choices. Our environment affects us in real, physiological ways, impacting both physical and mental health.

Since we spend close to 90% of our lives indoors, we expect the single most, all-encompassing design theme will be to harness the transformative power of design to tailor our built environments to reduce stress and influence the way we feel, behave and perform. The pressure is on for our homes to soothe and restore. Home owners will expect their homes to have optimal air quality and clean-filtered water and good natural light.

The last decade saw a meteoric rise in the growth of the wellness industry to exceed a staggering annual turnover in excess of USD $4Trillion dollars. Yoga holidays and exotic spa-breaks have become commonplace. The next decade will see wellness literally coming home with people looking to make a real and daily difference to their lives.

This new way of looking at the design of our homes will lead to an emphasis on the “private zones” of the home as homeowners are looking to include home gyms, bathrooms that serve as personal spas and bedrooms designed to promote better sleep.

SO HOW WILL THIS EFFECT PREVALENT DESIGN TRENDS?

 Home owners will be less concerned with creating show homes, but will focus more on comforting, nurturing authentic environments, designed to soothe and inspire themselves rather than impress others.

We see this translate into 7 key trends:

1. COLOUR

Colour can affect our moods in real and measurable ways, and as homeowners look to create backdrops that soothe, inspire or energize- expect to see more colour in our homes. Pastels are being accepted as neutrals.

Bold, inspiring tones are no longer confined to mere accents.

Perhaps the most notable change is the trend towards colourful kitchens. Once all white kitchen reigned supreme- we are increasingly seeing clients asking for kitchens that are personalized as much as the other areas of their homes.

2. LIGHTING

Technological advancements have impacted lighting – more than any other element in the home. A good lighting designer can alter our perception of space, proportion and affect our mood and even our behaviour. Home owners are no longer content with ceilings peppered with a multitude of harsh spotlights everywhere. We want lighting that does more than facilitate function, we expect lighting that creates atmosphere and mood.

Layered lighting, varying colour temperatures (how white a light is) and brightness to create different mood settings will be de rigour in the years to come.

3. BIOPHYLIIC ELEMENTS

Biophilia is still a new term but it is fast becoming one of the most important considerations in design. Biophilia stems from Greek words for Life (Bios) and Love (Philia) and literally means a love of life or love of nature.

Biophilic design is more than just bringing the outside in. It’s about making and strengthening a connection with nature that has a visceral effect, soothing us at our core. It’s about natural light, views on nature, plants, natural materials, textures and patterns. Incorporating direct or indirect elements of nature into the built environment have been proven to reduce stress, blood pressure levels and heart rates, whilst increasing productivity, creativity.

4. BATHROOMS AS SANCTUARIES

The design of bathrooms has moved beyond simply functional areas of the home. Our clients are looking to us to create an experience, they expect nurturing spaces with an emphasis on authenticity.

 

5. TEXTURE

We are tactile beings.Touch makes us feel good -releasing the feel good hormone oxytocin. Pet owners live longer because stroking our pets calms us, relieving stress. Tactile stimulation lowers cortisol, reducing anxiety.

Close up of bed and pillows. Scandi style bedroom decor

With so much of our time spent touching shiny smooth screens and devices, our sense of touch has been deprived for too long. As such, expect to see a demand for natural textural elements in the home. ( Click Here  to find out more about TEXTURE ).

6. CURVACEOUS SHAPES

Life can be hard enough, your sofa doesn’t have to be! Low back, rectilinear furniture shapes are out. Comfort is in. Soft, curvaceous forms that cradle and comfort us will dominate in the decade to come.

 

7. LOCALIZATION AND PERSONALIZATION

The internet, online shopping and social media have made great design accessible for everyone but it has also led to homogenous homes across the globe. The new decade will see a drive for an individual stamp to design- so that our homes reflect our heritage and give a sense of who we are.

Artisanal elements and family heirlooms, trinkets, souvenirs and photos that spark happy memories will be intermixed with new pieces to create personalized interiors that reflect who we are, what we love and where we are from, where we can truly feel at home.

 

 

 

January 14, 2020 0 comment
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ACCESSORIES – THEY ARE THE FINAL 10% IN ANY SPACE.

If you look closely at interiors that appear luxurious and appealing, you may notice that they share one thing in common: each detail has been carefully considered. The first impression you receive on entering a room should be that seamless blending of architecture and decoration to create a lasting visual impression.

FILLING A ROOM WITH FURNITURE DOESN’T COMPLETE THE ROOM.

It needs that little bit more to transform it. So at DI, we ensure a client’s rooms are elevated from the mundane to the sublime.

This project below showcases the perfect example of just that, check out one the deconstructed image to show you the power of the last 10%.

Conceptually, its a bit like getting ready for work each morning: selecting the outfit, shoes, bag and accessories —But the look only really comes together after that last flourish of lipstick —- It may account for just 10 per cent, but how vital and transformative that is!

https://www.banuba.com/facearsdk

We view this daily process as the forerunner of what our day brings: helping clients with fabrics, furnishings, colours and window treatments accounts for the major percentage of the many decisions they make, but waving our magic wand over the remaining 10 percent to ensure they achieve their dream interior is what we do best and the difference it makes to an interior is extraordinary.

FEELING INCOMPLETE?

Viewing a great room yet feeling that something’s missing is akin to not getting your ensemble quite right – until someone tweaks it for you and just like that, it’s “finished” and you are ecstatic!  The same holds true with design.  A room needs to be pulled together with objects that have meaning as well as pieces that bring the colour story to life such as cushions and throws, framed photos, ceramics and books.

Design Intervention Image and Pinterest

LAYER, LAYER, LAYER!

If it doesn’t feel like home, it’s not complete.  So, adding layers to a room with accessories can turn it into an exceptional space.  Fill each room with things you love as they will bring you enjoyment every time you enter a room.

I am a self-confessed maximalist and I get it that not everyone is a fan, (for who after all loves dusting), but you can surely add a little something to a bare surface.  A wonderful vase, a sculpture… or perhaps some animal print?

Fill a pretty tray with coveted glassware or use it to creatively tidy up all those bits and pieces that can often clutter up your coffee table.

Pinterest

Your sofa, bed or chaise will welcome a couple of decorative cushions or a throw….Pastel coloured interior with light blue lounge chair and tie-dyed curtains

OUR MIRROR LOVE AFFAIR!

There’s a lot to love about mirrors because they add glamour, they sparkle and bounce light around a room.  Use one as an opportunity to do something amazing in your room while injecting dimension and depth.

Design Intervention Image

HAVE YOU CONSIDERED AN OTTOMAN?

It could be just the thing your living room needs as its versatility is legendary – a coffee table, extra seating, storage and it can be whisked away when it’s not needed.

Pinterest and Design Intervention Image

GOLD, SILVER AND LAMPS

Just like jewellery, go for gold but please don’t underestimate the impact of silver or a mix of both. Using a mix of metals can elevate a space and add pizzazz.  For an easy implementation of this think table lamps for that golden or silver accent…

And lamps lead me to the importance of great lighting.  From table lamps to floor lamps, statement making chandeliers and pendants, they are mood infusing and incomparable.

THAT STATEMENT PIECE!

The crowning glory could be that statement piece: a special and prized art work… a treasured rug, an inherited item of furniture or even a knife collection, check out our client’s images below! No matter what it is, it might be the very item that helps to anchor your room and provide that missing 10 percent.

Design Intervention Image

BOTANICALS

Lastly but definitely not least, greenery and fresh flowers – my all-year-round favourite room lifters, because I doubt there is a room anywhere that wouldn’t benefit from the addition of their wonderful fragrance and organic appeal.

Pinterest

White Lilies remain my personally favoured floral accent. Its like heaven in a flower and just smells so good!

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/317292736243548244/

 

 

September 11, 2019 0 comment
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I have always counted myself unbelievably fortunate to have been able to forge a career from doing what I love. Design for me is not work, it is a joy but as much as I love my job, from time to time, we all need a break and last week, I escaped for 4 days to beautiful Chiang Mai. 4 glorious days of Thai massages, great, clean , organic food, days lazing by the pool with my kindle (no design magazine in sight)- a total and complete unwind- utter bliss.

After an early morning flight, I reached the resort by 1pm and the very next morning, as I sat enjoying my breakfast amidst the lush jungle foliage, I realised that I was already in a state of total relaxation. Incredibly, in less than 24 hours, the cares of city life had all but vanished and I found myself in a calm, blissful state.

Design Intervention

How could that be possible? As I sat there, contemplating the verdant beauty that surrounded me, listening to the hum of the jungle and the sound of birds and taking in the heady fragrance of the frangipanis, I recalled similar trips to Ubud in Bali and remembered how those too induced similar feelings of serenity. What was it about these jungle escapes, that had such a powerful calming effect?

Design Intervention

As designers, we know the power our environment can have in shaping our mood and influencing how we feel. Good design should be more than just a visual creation. We experience our environment through all our senses so by working with fragrances, textures and sounds, as well as  visual stimuli, we can  create a total sensory experience to genuinely influence how we feel. And for me, this lush resort, in the midst of the Chiang Mai jungle had certainly succeeded in creating the perfect place for relaxing.

Design Intervention

So now that I am back in the office, conscious of deadlines and thinking about of my mounting to do list I am asking myself, is it possible to create a similarly calming ambience right here at home?

 

The science of serenity

In 1984, a doctor in a hospital in Pennsylvania noticed a curious pattern among patients who were recovering from surgery. Those who had rooms with a tree view were being discharged almost a day earlier, than those in otherwise identical rooms whose windows faced a wall. This observation  led to a flurry of recent research which has since proven emphatically that looking at trees has significant measurable healing effect on our bodies and mind-  Yes, scientists have proven that the simple tree can ease blood pressure , slow pulse rate, calm breathing and loosen muscles -in other words plants helps us relax. Indeed, clinical  studies have proven that people living in green areas have lower rates of cardio vascular, respiratory disease and stroke.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/50947039508394672/

The Japanese have longed practiced Shirin-yoku, taking in the forest atmosphere or “forest bathing,” to alleviate stress,  fatigue, and feelings of depression or aggression. Experiments conducted in Japan found that either walking in the woods or even stationary viewing of  trees reduces levels of the stress hormone ,cortisol. Cortisol reduction and calming our metabolic rates can actually bolster the immune system. The science of forest medicine encourages breathing in the woodsy air because plants emit phytoncides, gasses that ward off rot and attack from bacteria, fungi, and insects. More than 5,000 of these compounds are recognized and such compounds have been used in traditional medicine for centuries to boost the immune system and now science is proving the herbalists right.

But it is not just about these chemicals, natural images have a particular structure : they are “scale invariant,” meaning that no matter how much you enlarge them they contain the same amount of detail. Such images are easy for our brains to process. In contrast, unnatural images are scale variant, and the greater the variance, the more uncomfortable we find an image.

http://www.allfinweb.com/gallery/traffic-crowd-people.html

Unnatural images, are measurably more uncomfortable to look at than natural ones and require larger oxygen intake in the brain and requires more brain energy. In other words, constantly looking at unnatural images is physically draining.

 

Creating calm environments at home.

The good news is that we can employ some of these scientific findings in our designs to create environments that promote relaxation. If we are lucky enough to live in a home with a garden , then positioning a seating arrangement to optimise a verdant view would be an easy design tactic.

Design Intervention

But for many city dwellers, that is not an accessible luxury. Luckily, research shows that simply incorporating house plants into our rooms or even pictures of trees into our designs can help lower our metabolism and alleviate stress.

Design Intervention

That’s why in many public buildings like hospitals, designers incorporate murals of natural images into the interior design.

Design Intervention

These inexpensive design elements, not only look great but can genuinely improve our health at the same time.

Design Intervention

And ultimately that is the true purpose of design- the creation of built environments that make us feel good and improve our wellbeing.

 

 

May 6, 2019 0 comment
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https://www.pinterest.com/pin/155303887163036450/

We use the word “trend” a great deal these days and guaranteed to draw our attention is the catch phrase “trending now”.   However, I find it odd to apply this to a creative process that is almost as old as time which has crept back into the world of design and is still “trending”.   And….. as you may have guessed, I refer to the watercolour trend!

Design Intervention

So why does this trend work so well and why has it endured?  It’s probably because its brush strokes are familiar – it feels nostalgic and pleasant since it depicts nature and familiar surroundings.  The timelessness of watercolours brings gorgeous accents into our interiors with watercolour prints to suit both vintage décor and modern interiors. Colour is an integral part of our everyday lives and our interiors at Design Intervention attest to that.

Design Intervention https://www.pinterest.com/pin/411797959661899588/

The watercolour trend really began some years ago with the ombre style of watercolour which works perfectly on window treatments, where it is shown to best effect and on bed linen and napery.  It can really open up a room and being such a flattering colour scheme in any space, it’s application is endless.

Design Intervention

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/68722797905/
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/105905028724273220/

As a painted finish, the ombre technique is fabulous on walls where it uniquely reflects an individual’s personality and taste. The end result can dramatically influence a room and is relatively inexpensive to achieve. Additionally, as you will be fading the paintwork out, you can opt for rich, daringly dark colour tones when you use this style, so you can afford to live dangerously!

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/36028865754115490/

Painting a wall or a room in the watercolour style is a great way to include it in your home.  There are endless colour schemes which will work wonderfully, plus there is something in the fluidity and lightness of the colours bleeding together that create dimension and depth.

Design Intervention

I love the artistic feel of dark moody blues and blotchy inky tones, especially those that look like a blot of paint spread over the page!  Aside from blue, deep greens, greys and black work superbly and the watercolour effect helps to soften the colour scheme.   While this tonal palette might suggest a masculine vibe, it wouldn’t require much tweaking to achieve a unisex feel.  The shading and combination of colour tones can be amazing and result in a piece of contemporary art with an ethereal vibe.

http://elledecoration.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/wc19.jpg

Of course, if murky hued colours are not your thing, you can unleash the artist in you and plunge into something colourful and abstract instead! A client of ours did this in her home, where a watercolour was transposed onto a customised kitchen backsplash and we all loved the end result.

Design Intervention

Design Intervention

I am sure we have at some time visited art galleries and viewed art works so vivid and realistic which drew us into the scene.  When space is not at a premium, a mural is an enviable option which can deliver the same effect, injecting a shot of atmosphere that transports you to another place or another time. Especially in bedrooms where soft waves of colour similar to the hues of sand and sea create a calming and reflective mood.

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It is impossible to discuss watercolours without mentioning flowers, as their depiction in this traditional medium gives them a sense of movement and freedom as no other.  Flowers are currently famously on trend in both interior design and fashion and bloom happily as well on china and linens.   The soft and subtle floral watercolours on wallpapers and fabrics evoke Monet’s beautiful art works and their soft, harmonious colours which echo nature.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/563090759656710152/ https://www.pinterest.com/pin/742812532269479335/

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/690106342878151268/

As with all design trends, if you can’t bring yourself to leap in, save yourself the angst and add an accent in the form of a painting or fabric on the back of a dining chair – even a small hint can make a difference and requires very little effort! Embrace your inner artist!

Design Intervention

 

April 12, 2019 1 comment
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The new year’s crop of design magazines and blogs are full of articles declaring a new age of opulence, a resurgence of colour, or a re-discovery of Maximalism, and this self-confessed maximalist aesthete could not be happier!

At Design Intervention, we have been championing this Modern Maximalist Style for a few years now. But 2019, is seeing the Maximalist look becoming mainstream. Even Ikea (yes the purveyors of stream lined Scandinavian lines) has launched a new collection with distinct Maximalist leanings. And quite frankly, after well over two decades of clean lines and neutral palettes, a change is long overdue.

Design Intervention – Modern Maximalism

So what exactly is this New Maximalism?

This design style mixes eras, patterns, textures and materials, incorporates elaborate detailing and showcases treasured artefacts. These interiors are multi-layered, delivering a dynamic and multifaceted environment that is uplifting, revitalising, empowering and always utterly unique.

Design Intervention - Modern Maximalism

Design Intervention – Modern Maximalism

The Minimalist interior has dominated the design landscape since the mid 1990s, and the New Maximalism could not be more different.

Design Intervention – Modern Maximalism

Minimalist interiors imbue serenity, Maximalist ones radiate energy.

Minimalist interiors embrace simplicity, Maximalist delight in unexpected elements. Minimalist rooms are understated, Maximalist ones are luxurious. Minimalist interiors include only what is functional, Maximalist ones are filled with details and embellishment.

Where Minimalists celebrate the uncomplicated, Maximalists celebrate life with all its nuances and idiosyncrasies. Minimalists follow the less is more mantra, while Maximalists espouse if it makes you smile, it can’t be wrong.

Design Intervention – Modern Maximalism

But there is one important  similarity and it may astound you…

Everyone knows that Minimalists are all about removing clutter. It may surprise you to learn that decluttering is essential for a chic maximalist interior too.

Maximalism is not chaos, it is a result of deliberately curated choices.

Design Intervention – Modern Maximalism

The great Artist Joan Miro once said:

 The works must be conceived with fire in the soul but executed with clinical coolness

– and there could not be more perfect a guideline for the would be maximalist. With Minimalism there is a distinct aesthetic and clear, easy to follow rules. Maximalism embraces everything, all eras, all colours, patterns and textures- and that can be a little daunting.

Design Intervention – Modern Maximalist

1. COLOUR

One of the easiest ways to bring energy to a room is with colour. The Minimalist look was about neutrals. Maximalism, is about all colours, in any combination. There is no right or wrong. Just pick a colour or colours you love. If your choice is a mix of bold colours, make sure you incorporate some neutral elements to add balance.

2. PATTERN

Either through rugs, upholstery or wallpaper or a combination of all three! Experiment with layering patterns of different scales… Ensure, sufficient negative space, so your eye has a place to rest.

Design Intervention – Modern Maximalism

Design Intervention – Modern Maximalism

3. TEXTURE

Combining different texture can take Maximalism to the next level. Metallic elements, sumptuous velvets, feather trims and tassels can all be combined to bring a visual and tactile diversity.

Design Intervention – Modern Maximalism

4. SYMMETRY

With so much visual stimuli, symmetry will keep the room looking balanced and allow you to add multiple layers and yet still retain a harmonious feel…

Design Intervention – Modern Maximalism

5. A COHESIVE ELEMENT

It is important to retain a link, or visual thread that runs throughout the scheme so the interiors  feel connected even with a mix of colours, patterns and textures. This could be a colour, or a motif.

Design Intervention – Modern Maximalism

And finally, and perhaps most importantly

6. RESTRAINT

At Design Intervention our mantra is “just because we can, doesn’t mean we should”.

Successful Maximalist Style is a meticulous balancing act. These rooms can be bright, bold and mismatched yet each element is carefully curated to achieve a style that inspires and revitalizes rather than overpowers.

Design Intervention – Modern Maximalism

 

March 11, 2019 0 comment
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Valentine’s Day is almost here; hearts abound on greeting cards and even on the occasional piece of furniture, which got me thinking of all the things and people we LOVE!

Bouquets of red roses, tempting boxes of chocolate, cakes and heart shaped Verner Parton chairs are visual markers so we remember to acknowledge that special someone – as blotting our copy book would have serious repercussions!

This most romantic day of the year centres around LOVE, but if you lack a significant other to fete, that should not preclude you “loving” many other things instead!

Take colour for example.  Nikki and I LOVE colour and our project portfolio online showcases this in abundance. This year we have been drenched by the colour coral, but, having just celebrated Chinese New Year and with Valentine’s Day just days away, red is all around us.

Design Intervention

I personally lean towards darker, richer and moodier tones.  The tempting hues of rich reds, plum, mulberry, purples and burgundy are punchier, deep and sexy and decidedly more appealing.

https://www.behance.net/gallery/3666893/MaxAlto-Collaboration-with-Lukas-Machnik

Design Intervention

Those who know me well are aware of my penchant for black and white, not forgetting my passion and love for all things zebra……  no home of mine is ever complete without a touch of this added to the interior. This gorgeous bar is the perfect setting to make that special pre-dinner cocktail for my special someone! Love potion coming right up!

Design Intervention

Happily, black never goes out of fashion, so expect it to feature strongly in design this year.  However, by way of a difference, think HIGH GLOSS black instead – making a statement in homewares and interiors in a myriad uses – lighting, kitchens, decorative objects and furniture. Paired with other colours it grounds the spaces and makes colours pop!

Valentine’s Day may deliver a gift of serious bling and who amongst us would say no to a touch of glitz and glamour?  We are seeing glitz in interiors too this year, as gold is back in a big way. Check out this romantic gilded sleigh bed, I’m sure many of us would welcome our macdreamy into this space!

Maximalist Modern, Design Intervention

And… this his and hers bathroom is sure to ensure marital bliss because there is NO fighting over the toothpaste tube in this space!

Design Intervention

Should you be feeling a little risqué, then this Burlesque-inspired dressing room will be sure to elevate your mood!

The Bachelorette Pad, Design Intervention

Love is a wonderful thing and don’t we have a lot to love!  We are spoilt for choice as we have a mind boggling menu from which to choose and our collective appetite shows no signs of diminishing.  Running parallel to our enviable list of ‘must haves’ is an ever growing list of ‘lust haves’ which keep us yearning for more….

With that in mind, I am taking this opportunity to toast you in advance, so – Happy Valentine’s and may it be memorable in every way!

February 14, 2019 0 comment
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Its been a frantic weekend! Saturday involved repeated trips to the nursery in search of pussy willow, pink orchids and orange trees and Sunday was spent, decorating the house for Chinese New Year. I finally have some time to relax with some coffee and some yummy pineapple tarts and reflect on my hard work.  And I realize, just how much traditional Chinese motifs have influenced our work over the years.

Andrea and I just love, love, love Chinoiserie and a quick look back at our past projects reveal just how often we have incorporated this design style into our projects.

The Chinoiserie Chair by Design Intervention

Design Intervention

So what is CHINOISERIE style?

The word Chinoiserie is French and means “in the Chinese taste”.
It describes a decorating trend that has been used for centuries to infuse drama, and a sense of fantasy into some of the world’s most glamorous interiors. Many popular Chinoiserie motifs will be instantly recognizable to us in Asia and people often, mistakenly, assume that the style originated in China. But it is, in fact, a trend that began in Europe in the 17th Century.

This was a time when European merchants were establishing trade routes across Asia, bringing home whimsical products and incredible stories of distant, mysterious lands. The Europeans didn’t distinguish between these Eastern cultures and everything from China, Japan, India and Persia were termed “Oriental”. Owning a piece of, “Japanned” furniture, as some pieces were called, became the height of fashion amongst Europe’s elite. They were fascinated with all things Asian and throughout the continent, aristocrats, began decorating their castles and palaces with Chinoiserie elements. As authentic products were rare, European manufacturers produced imitations, often adapting traditional Asian designs and symbols, altering scale and proportion to better suit European taste.

In essence, Chinoiserie is the original East Meets West design style.

Design Intervention

Typical Chinoiserie Designs

European craftsman decorated everything from wallpapers, pottery, porcelain, and painted furniture with scenes from the orient. Typical Chinoiserie motifs included the Dragon image which the Europeans regarded as the symbol of the mystical Eastern lands.

Dragon Sofa by Design Intervention

Dragon Sofa by Design Intervention

The Dragon Rug by Design Intervention

Another common feature of Chinoiserie decoration are figures wearing Chinese clothing. Some artists chose to copy figures from genuine imports but, in many cases, the images they drew were products of the designer’s imagination.

Design Intervention

Birds, flowers and fanciful landscapes were also popular, as were pagodas. So different from English architecture, the pagoda was incorporated into the design of many Chinoiserie objects.

Design Intervention

Chinoiserie Today
In a reaction to the minimalism that has dominated the design scene for much of the past decade, designers are embracing luxury and pattern. There is a return to glamorous and colourful interiors and Chinoiserie is at the forefront of this trend. Four Hundred years after it originated, some of the worlds best known designers are reinventing the Chinoiserie style, reinterpreting it in fresh colourways, proportions or materials to make it as relevant today as it was centuries ago. 21st century Chinoiserie is still glamorous but it is a glamor mixed with humor invoking a sense of luxury without formality. Chinoiserie rooms don’t have to be busy: the look is more streamlined and crisp than it was centuries ago.

Sometimes, we use it to spice up interiors with little architectural interest or to add another dimension to contemporary rooms. And, because Chinoiserie reflects so much of the culture and colour of life in Singapore, we often incorporate Chinoiserie accents to give our projects a sense of place.

But perhaps, the reason that Chinoiserie is such a particular favourite of mine, is that it brings a light-hearted, playful feeling. The stylized oriental figures, patterns and colours make me smile. And there can be few better reasons to decorate your home, than to create an environment that lifts your mood and makes you feel good. And, for me, Chinoiserie does just that.

 

January 28, 2019 0 comment
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