The only boundary to design is acceptance. As designers, we are always trying to push boundaries looking for the next “IT” thing, but sometimes our customers may not be as progressive as we would like to be. That’s when we look towards old world charm in a new world setting. Asia is full of them. Singapore, Malacca, Penang, and Philippines, are just the few nearby places you can hop over the weekend for inspiration.
The juxtaposition of glassy skyscrapers amidst colonial stonewalled shop-houses is an art that is best understood through physical immersion instead of textbook. A good designer is one who has a firm grasp of the fundamentals of design but builds up the rest of his artistic senses through experience.
When I travel, I would sit at coffee shops and look at the landscape as a whole. It’s shape; it’s texture, the curves and nuances. Remember: Design is the sum of all parts.
Why is this important? That’s because most of our customers in Singapore straddle both eras and their houses must reflect that sense of familiarity to give them the comfort that is often hard to articulate in words. Like, how do we explain that
To get a sense of such design phenomenon, you first need to develop an understanding of how culture evolve over time, a keen sense of proportion and of space.
From an anthropological point of view cultural evolution is a narrative of key events that happened in the past that contributes in part to the present. This is why a space capsule chair can go well with a Victorian themed room.
The other principal behind combining multiple disparate design harmoniously in one home is to have an object in each room that connects with the other or by the use of colour.
Image Credit: Victorian Room
Nothing says wanderlust like having a collection of knick-knacks acquired from your travels. They form almost a story on their own and a great time capsule for your memories. Besides the decorative features that will most certainly adorn your shelves and walls, we want you to have a practical home design that is an extension of who you are.
You would post pictures of your travels and leave thought-provoking notes on your Facebook wall, why not have that for real on your living room wall? Paint a giant world map and overlay that with photos from the countries you have visited. It’s the perfect conversation starter when you have guests over.
Go for Eclectic Design
Flea markets around the world are the best place to get a cheap, unique purchase that looks absolutely stunning on its own, but then you wonder where it is going to fit in your modern Scandinavian home. The trick is: go eclectic. It’s an organic design that can’t be replicated. Just like your traveling experiences.
Juxtaposition of Colours
If anyone can pull off utter disregard of conventional colour palates, it would the wide-eyed traveler. Bold colours interspersed with earthly tones create a sense of wild abandonment and adventure.
From the rustic calmness of a Balinese resort to the hustle and bustle of New York City, a traveler has been there; done that. How about giving each room a thematic makeover and bring a piece of the world into your home?
Open Display Cabinets and Wall Mount Shelves
This last tip should be obvious but it bears mentioning. Treasures turn to junk when they are packed away in boxes. If space is a constraint, consider breaking down walls and use open display cabinets as partition modules. Wall mount selves are also a great way to save space too and it doubles up as design feature.
Next we look at the Personality Based Design: Workaholic
(This article is written in collaboration with Eugene Tay, founder of The Alpha Mind)
What better way to obtain design inspiration than to travel and explore? That’s exactly what the M3 Bloggers did! We went to Bali – not to surf, not enjoy the sun, sand and the sea (although that was awesome too!). No, we went there to study the Bali culture and why are they so famous for their rustic designs and art work. So we hopped on the nearest flight and off we were, to Bali – the island of the Gods. M3 brings you through our journey of exploration.
Bali is an island of the east of Java and it has been well known as a holiday destination for many of us who likes the beaches, surfing and all water sports. However what many people are unaware of is that Bali has a vast array of wood furniture and decorations including arts and paintings. Some of these are very traditionally done with the painter even just sitting on the floor at the back of the gallery, carrying on his work while customers walk in and out.
We visited places around Seminyak and we came across a vast number of shops selling very unique decor items that would be really difficult to obtain right here in Singapore. They came in all ranges of shapes, sizes and forms – table lamps to wall hangers to coffee tables to sofas and dining sets too. We were pleasantly surprised at our finds. We then decided to go one step further and explore the outskirts of the main town. Armed with only a motorbike and a phone camera, we searched high and low for traditional art galleries and antique shops.
And we were duly rewarded after hours of long journey. It was extremely satisfying to finally find art pieces that were simply stunning and all set up simply side by side in the gallery. We even met the painter responsible for all these works as he was just sitting down working on another of his masterpiece. We also managed to find a real gem – an old antique warehouse where they were taking and sprucing up old pieces for resale! What a find!!
Overall, we were extremely glad we managed to visit Bali and learn about their culture as well as appreciate their views on design. It was a great eye-opener for us and we shall strive to travel to more countries to gain more international and design experiences for us to grow and evolve as designers. Of course, visiting Bali would not be complete without taking a few snap shots of the landscape and it’s beauty!!
An exploration article by M3 Bloggers.