Sunday, 17 January 2010

Intelligent Design: Concept or Theme?

It's my belief that good design is only possible if it is inspired by an excellent concept. A concept is quite different from a theme. l have witnessed many projects inspired by a theme: Greek pillars, Egyptian mummies, the proverbial blue and terracotta of Morocco and so on. But for me these spaces usually have none of the criteria by which l would define professional interior design.

So what do l mean when l talk about concept? Examples are probably the best way to elaborate. A colleague of mine recently completed a very smart Japanese restaurant. Her concept was an ear of rice and water. Rice is the staple diet of Japan and cannot grow without plenty of water. When ready for harvest the ears of rice shine gold so she used gold for the main colour and added contrast by using dark oak and black and white. The flow of water has inspired the fringes which circle the lighting and hang down from the ceiling in the dining area and also the beautifully curved shape of the plates. True to the concept the ears of rice provided inspiration for the logo of the restaurant. The result is a beautiful sophisticated space and a true example of everything that any self-respecting interior designer aims to achieve.

Similarly a couple of years ago when l had been asked to transform a TudorBethan themed space into a Thai restaurant l was inspired on a visit to an exhibition by a photograph taken by Andy Small of a beautiful orchid which to me epitomized all that is Thai. Ultimately the entire interior of the restaurant and the logo related to that photograph. http://www.andysmall.co.uk/

IN: Design inspired by a concept.

OUT: Interiors inspired by a Theme.