Global Design: Barcelona to Lakewood
Plain and simple, with the evolution of the internet, we have become a global economy. This opens so many doors for all of us. It compels us to examine the way other cultures inhabit their corner of the world.
Global design is of course, directly connected to this evolution. The term eclectic--a mix of various ideas--has been the name given to describe this style in the past. Although the word eclectic still applies in the decorating world, it’s losing its presence, and for good reason. Think “lived in” or hodge podge. Global design moves us to understand why people around the world function differently and how it can work for us.
A good example of this is the popular Asian style, Feng Shui. Literally translated “wind and water”, it is the art and science of proper placement of furniture and accessories. It is the theory that energy or “chi” flows through all things in life. For a long time most Americans believed it was just a myth. Of course I call that kharma and what could be more purposeful than that?
I have the opportunity to travel extensively to different parts of the world as well as within this country, to buy for my design showroom. I recently visited Barcelona, one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities (not to worry, Lakewood holds a candle). We have much to learn from their design and fashion sense. Most of the Mediterranean has space constraints. They’ve been around a lot longer than us and they’ve used up much of their square footage. Therefore, they make use of space based on necessity. They often multifunction furniture and accessories and they don’t follow all the rules of design.
Having said that, a recent trip to Chicago took me to Merchandise Mart and and the Lawrence Street Antique Market, a place where modern American design is flourishing and adding to the global design world with new rules that defy the traditional standards. Of course let's not discount our own backyard. Lakewood and the surrounding area is a hotbed for innovative design. The resale stores have some of the finest example of global design I’ve seen throughout the world!
Here’s what to look for and how to create global design in your space:
- Don’t be afraid of elements outside of your comfort zone. No matter your personal style, adding something mid-century, modern or just plain funky will add interest to your home.
- Don’t feel that because you are a traditionalist you can’t add global design to your space. There is plenty of traditional and modest décor from around the world.
- Bright colors and modern design are all the rage in the Mediterranean region, which includes Morrocco and parts of Africa, but Japan and many of the eastern countries make great use of peace and harmony and calming neutral colors. It’s a style that is alive and well and flourishing universally.
An important part of all design is not just coordinating color, but shapes and forms. For example, if there is a repeating octagonal pattern on a pillow, add another design piece such as a lamp, vase or chair with the same shape. Using these forms can add interest beyond color.
Most importantly, no matter what culture you are emulating, always live by one of my favorite quotes from our own Regina Brett--Get rid of anything that isn’t beautiful, useful or joyful.
Robby Zettler is an Interior Designer, owner of Metopolitan Home Design and Metro On Madison, a showroom featuring antique and new furniture and accessories from around the globe located at 15220 Madison Avenue in Lakewood.
Robby Zettler is an Interior Designer with Metro On Madison.
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