Monday, June 17, 2013

What's your Design Style

Do you know what brings peace to your surroundings; what truly connects you to your inner self and what really inspires you to greater things?

I ask this because our hectic schedule and the race to excel in life don’t leave us with enough time to contemplate these things. In a world driven by marketing and social media, sometimes it is tough to distinguish between our own desires and the need to follow trends and people whom we admire and therefore wish to emulate.

Home needs to be the sanctuary where one can express one’s individuality, find balance and seek inspiration and deeper meanings in life.

But it seems we often tend to imitate thereby bringing someone else’s idea of a sanctuary into our lives and hope that it brings deeper meaning to us as well. It usually doesn’t, then boredom ensues and we begin to seek change to the next new trend. In this pursuit, the significance of our surroundings and the things that constitute it gets utterly lost to us.

Of course, it doesn’t help that often times the people looked up to as style icons themselves, try to mold the taste of their ‘followers’ to create a sort of snowball effect in trends they’re pushing.

Do you know your own sphere of influence, what and who you impact?
Do you also know who and what sway your own decisions?
We all impact each other’s decisions by way of subliminal messages, choices and actions we make. But how much of the impact is ‘natural’ and where does it become ‘manufactured’ ergo for a commercial purpose.

Is a thing of beauty, really a joy forever?

If the object is beautiful but you didn’t associate with it, thought it beautiful till your favorite designer stylist pointed it out to you then it’s not serving the purpose. It is not beautiful because someone that you look up to or admire said so… It might be for them but not for you.

The problem is we don’t stop to think, to arrive at that realization. There are magazines to tell us what color should be our home this season, what we should wear, which animal sculpture we should find cute or add to our collection. And we just follow along – blissfully unaware of our own likes.

Objects do serve a purpose toward enhancing our lives, but that truly happens only when we feel invested in them, to some degree, by way of our conscious, thoughtful preferences and selections.

In my day job as a designer and engineer, the perpetual debate – ‘form vs function’ rages on. Good designs are to be found at various cross-sections of the wide spectrum between extremes. I personally seek a balance but others’ quests might be more emotional or spiritual. The design should be functional and yet a utilitarian object needn’t be ugly. But again one’s definition of ugly is subjective.

That beautiful 18th century brass plate hanging in a living room, untouched and unused, was originally created not merely to be displayed, but was part of everyday life or maybe for special celebrations. We now admire its beauty and have therefore put it out of commission and out of everyday reach. Such an object’s beauty doesn’t bring joy to me, as its functional value has been rejected.

While it’s important to strike a balance between form and function while making choices, the paramount act is that of making the choice, and doing so of your own accord.

I’ll continue another time about the larger impacts of our décor decisions – how it often involves things we’re not even aware of.

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