“Culture – enlightenment and excellence of taste acquired by intellectual and aesthetic training; acquaintance with and taste in fine arts, humanities, and broad aspects of science as distinguished from vocational and technical skills” – Merriam Webster Dictionary.
Culture, by its’ very definition, is diversity, history, excellence, creativity…that when combined becomes a cultivation of ideals, theories, and practices that shape a generation or field of influence. In this case our field is Design, and culture is what elevates design from good (which is forgettable) to exceptional (which is memorable) by linking together these concepts. If you are wondering why I may be stressing the relevance of culture IN or adding elements from a culture TO a design, it’s because of how important it is to set your space apart, to change it from the predictable to the extraordinary. Sticking within the parameters of just one genre, for example, will look good because it will all “go together”, but it will also yield a final result that is…well…forgettable. Finding creative ways to interject elements from other genres, and executing that seamlessly, delivers a unique and interesting result (a.k.a. culture)!
I was inspired to write this post after watching a design show (on, you guessed it, Netflix!) where the couple was remodeling a red brick English cottage, turning it into a modern oasis. It was in the middle of the countryside, amidst the forest of sorts, where the property had a “Zen” like quality to it that the home did not match! With a flair for the modern, the new home in question was to be built with qualities of traditional Japanese minimalist practices, which got me very excited! This couple took what could have been a predictable, and potentially boring, modern home design “in the trees”, and turned it on its head by interjecting it with, you guessed it, Culture! (Don’t get me wrong here…I love modern design I just think too often it is just copied instead of re-envisioned!) And being that it was Japanese minimalist, one could argue they were implementing design ideals from the “original” modern design movement.
In the context of design, culture is the element that takes a design from “copying” to exclusive! To bring this conversation full circle, we could all use a bit of culture when it comes to design. It gives warmth and personality to a space which, in essence, is uniquely you! And that, my friends, is your culture!
Joseph D. Clark
Chic on the Cheap 1.866.663.6062