Contemporary designers appear to take the expression ‘less is more’ seriously; controlled design marks the beginning of 21st century second decade. What is more this ‘controlledness’ transcends across all design categories form interiors, to architecture. A designer is impelled to start with a bold abstract movement that is subsequently recovered into its controlled and orderly pattern. Emphasis is allocated on sharp, crisp finishes and visually appealing pieces. The outcome is one of orderly fragmentation.
To provide you with an example I will use UK’s grand master of design, Thomas Heatherwick. Although his pieces appear abstract and somewhat extraterrestrial at first, if you observe closely they follow simple and designated patterns. This is not unnatural; our brain is evolving towards associative pattern making- we capture a visual image from one field, say nature, and we immediately feel the urge to apply it onto another field, say engineering. Here we are simply not at fault, globalization’s forces especially represented through travel and technology expose us to a wide range of diverse inspirations both cultural and social.
If religion was design’s incubation spot during the 15th and 16th century technology is the one of today. The way we think, react and create is shaped by technology- which in turn encourages efficient, organized and categorized way of thinking. This is the backdrop against which contemporary interior design is shaped. At London Festival’s Tent interior design fair in Brick Lane each piece communicates functionality, controlled abstractness and ‘multi-culturality’. Japanese minimalism is no longer Japan’s national design trademark but a commonly accepted international approach upon which country specific details are added.
Furthermore focus shifts to choice of media and more attention is paid to both quality and cost-effectiveness. More and more we witness the laborious process of sourcing the perfect material, adding character to the piece, rather than just the design itself. Today’s pieces are designed to interact with social environments, to initiate conversations and to fit with our ever-so increasing needs for orderliness and categorization- hence multi functional pieces of furniture or furniture integrating technology. Finally colors are either neutral, an increasingly popular theme expressing our need to blend urbanization with nature, or, bold colors expressing our nostalgia for pop and 70’s inspired retro design.