Young design firms are breaking stereotypes by mixing interior styles, building techniques and materials in interior design. Bold patterns, colors and inventive material palettes are being used to achieve more futuristic interiors which make a statement. The usual material combinations of brick and plaster, cement and wood, glass and steel are being challenged. Be it stylistic or sustainable interiors, lately we have witnessed usage of different, almost contrasting materials together in single frames. The following article features innovative interior design projects from around the world, which go beyond the mould.
1. Say No Mo, Kyiv City
The distinctive concept of Say No Mo, a salon and cocktail party lounge is well resonated in its interior design. This 200 sq. m beauty salon in Kyiv, Ukraine features the use of poured concrete arches in combination with polished stainless steel wall cladding. This titanium nitride coated gold paneling covers the unevenness of the wall behind while also acting as shelves and niches to display products and store party paraphernalia.
The interiors are functional yet have a certain pizzazz, owing to the brave use of varied materials like in-situ concrete arches, bare brick walls, gold finishes and paneling and the bespoke reception table (also in-situ poured concrete). The tiny details like gold poured in the cracks of the tiles behind the pedicure zone, curved wall geometry, signage, mirrors and fixtures, complimenting white and grey upholstered furniture and golden brown indoor plants could take anyone’s breath away. The main concept of the design was to break the conventions in the beauty industry, say no to gender discrimination and ‘say no more’ to the stereotypes in the regular salon designs. The architects at Balbek Bureau have succeeded in creating a completely new atmosphere by mixing materials in this interior design with absolute panache!
2. Zhuyeqing Green tea Flagship Store, Chengdu City
One of the leading brands of green tea in China, Zhuyeqing’s flagship store is designed by X+Living as a depiction of where their product originates from. The design depicts mountains and clouds, using organic forms created with steel framing and wooden finishing which flows gently throughout the store. These ‘mountains’ rise from the floor sometimes or are hung from the ceiling with the reflective surfaces of the stainless steel cladding representing them also as floating clouds.
The green tea store thus becomes an all sensory experience for the user. The inventive display, seating islands, aroma of the tea, the visual aesthetic of the ‘mist’ the mountains seem to be in and the touch of two contrasting or in this case, complimenting materials take the user by surprise. The unlikely combination of wooden display systems surrounded by stainless steel paneling and cement flooring is inspiring to say the least.
3. Four Seasons, Kuwait City
The Four Seasons hotel in Kuwait city by Yabu Pushelberg stretches the guest’s imagination to the next level. Every space is envisioned as a different world – grandeur and sophistication in the interior design is conveyed intelligently through form and material. The highlight is the futuristic staircase, nicknamed ‘the orange peel’ staircase, one that rises spirally upward in the center of the 30 feet high lobby. The material palette draws from the structural need of the staircase, the climate context of Kuwait in the form of limestone walls and the typical motifs of the middle eastern world depicted in gold finished metal partitions which go from floor to ceiling.
Other elements in the design are the 2 tonne carved onyx reception table which beautifully balances the mass of the staircase at the other end of the lobby. The entire space is complimented with classy and subtle furniture with gold touches. The other spaces also express in metaphors the middle eastern building typology with modern approaches. The line of white arches by the pool which is lit up by lanterns or the guest rooms with little details of gold screens with Arabic motifs goes to show how designers can juxtapose different materials in interior design with ease and elegance.
4. Can Picafort, Palma City
Can Picafort was redesigned by Ted’A arquitectes to accommodate guest rooms for tourists who wanted a taste of life by the sea in Spain. This adaptive re-use project was transformed in interior design with the use of soft earthy materials and light almost bohemian soft furnishing. Highlighting the (im)perfection of handmade objects and to add a personal touch to the space, the designers have used clay as an important material, pairing it with white walls and bare untreated cement columns. The ‘Termoarcilla’ or the lightweight cellular clay blocks add color and character to the guest rooms. Complimenting this beige-brown undertone is the wooden furniture and clay tile flooring.
The different shades in the clay blocks, the joints in these tiles and the polish done in wet spaces to avoid damage gives the whole space a unique patina. This gradient makes the space feel more homely, compliments the simple, minimal and old exterior of Can Picafort and reminds the user of the beach vibe. The combination of concrete, glass and clay blocks makes the space more human and perfect in its imperfection.