by Sarah Parker
Interior designers, aiming to balance function and quality of space attach a great deal of importance to climate and colour. Generally, people living in warmer countries like strong vivid colours while those from colder countries prefer milder colours; but interior design is also very strongly related to culture.
Japanese homes are a good example of this. Steeped in tradition, they reflect simplicity, order and calm. In keeping with the philosophy of ying and yang to balance opposites, the Japanese will often choose opposite but contrasting décor such as a heavy mat on a beautifully polished floor. They will complement this with pure colours and simple designs that evoke a feeling of relaxation yet are organic and disciplined – rather like their tea ceremony. Chief amongst Japanese designers is Toshiyuki Kito, internationally known for his classical furniture.
Morocco with its hot North African desert climate is quite the opposite. A typical Moroccan home will have bright exotic colour, comfortable rugs strewn on the floor and knee high round brass dining tables for eating: Morocco has a more relaxed informal lifestyle and their designers are renowned for their love of colour and sensuality.
The Italians on the other hand are noted for their chic – think elegant glass and marble dining tables. Some of the greatest furniture designers hail from Italy; Gio Ponti – the man who made art deco famous in Italy-was a designer noted especially for his style, sophistication and elegance. Today Mario Lipparini’s office and home furniture is recognized worldwide.
One European talent who left his mark is the late Dutch designer Jean Henri Jansen. This designer launched one of the first international interior designer companies. Jansen was known for creating exceptionally beautiful traditional furniture drawing on European design. Today, at Maison Jensen (House of Jensen), inspired designers combine new trends with the traditional ones at 8 Jansen outlets worldwide.
Last but not least are the lively Latin Americans, lucky to have mostly warm climate and lush surroundings. Here you find hacienda style architecture and wooden furniture with a feeling of space. These Latin designers love hot vibrant colour very similar to Mexico in art, architecture and design.
From the minimalist traditional approach of the Japanese, to the more exotic Moroccan style, good interior design around the world must be functional and attractive reflecting climate and culture; it is both a science and an art.