The Nouveau Designers | The Creative Potential of Home

Over the past century, the world of interior and exterior design has changed considerably. The way in which technology, engineering expertise and design have integrated and collaborated has transformed the daily living spaces in which we reside and take shelter.

The untapped potential for a home to express ourselves and our inner world is stronger now than ever before. It can serve as a haven and a sanctuary where we we are free to shape an outer terrain that expresses our inner landscape.

Once upon a time, this was a privilege reserved only for the wealthy. But not anymore. We now have a plethora of options for every budget. The explosion of design apps such as Redecor (among many others) is allowing us to test the boundaries of our creativity. We have found a way in which to simulate the process of interior design at a minuscule fraction of what it used to cost. Through these apps, we define and hone our stylistic capabilities as well as grow to understand the general trends of our milieu.

Design by Dipa Sanatani

By looking at the work of other nouveau designers, we tap into the resources that are available to our imagination. One trend I’ve seen and noted is the preference towards minimalism–a preference that I simply do not share. I come from a culture where colour is a celebration of life and seeing bare and sparsely-designed spaces, while elegant, has a sobriety and sombre quality that I don’t find appealing.

This preference towards utilitarianism in design is perhaps even dampening down our creative potential in lieu of actually celebrating it. Colours such as red and yellow, which were once considered a celebratory hue, are now viewed as garish, loud and unsightly. I believe this could have severe and damaging economic repercussions on traditional and indigenous art forms which I suppose will move into the margins or survive on as novelties.

For instance, the excess of ornamentalism–both inside and outside the home–has come under attack from many different sources. Excesses in decoration are seen as cluttering a space. We do not want our homes to resemble museums and heritage buildings. We would rather visit these places in our spare time instead of living in them.

In a world where everyone is moving into an apartment, I somehow still dream of a family home–as in, a house, a bungalow or even a casita. From furniture, to layout, to the efficient use of space–we now all have the potential to create our cosy nests. But fashion trends come and go and I’m not sure if this minimalism is a trend that is destined to last, for its focus is on the short-run.

Modernism and traditionalism in design are seen as incompatible–forcing us to discard architectural traditions that have defined and shaped the city landscape. We preserve these old buildings for they have stood the tests of time, war and even nation-building efforts.

But one thing has changed. The buildings may still be there, but they have been repurposed. Some of them are museums, some of them have been refurbished and converted into restaurants, and some of them continue to be owned and managed by the people who once resided in them.

In an urban environment with a growing population, city planners will also undoubtedly get involved–telling us what to build and not build depending on the needs of the population. As single-person households grow–which they already have done–we will begin designing and constructing smaller homes, which we also already have done.

Perhaps it is wiser to say that as our dreams change, so do our homes. And as work from home becomes the norm, or is allowed to become the norm, we will soon see a boom in architecture where more and more people discard the small spaces and make room for new dreams… as well as new homes.


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