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Simple and elegant interiors preferred
Source : The Hindu Property Plus Published On : 2009-01-24 City : Chennai

              Minimalism has caught the collective fancy of those doing up their homes. It has as much to do with economics as aesthetics, writes Hema Vijay

It does seem incongruous that minimalism has clicked in India, a country that has generally veered towards the ornate. But today, barring a few exceptions, minimalism has caught the collective fancy of those doing up their homes now.

People seem to like the timeless look minimalism provides. And the fact that it involves less of clutter makes it practical for maintenance purposes. “For a minimalist look I would suggest a Zen Asian trend”, says interior designer Vidhya Sagar. Minimalism and simplicity are important in an Asian themed room, so clutter is avoided at all costs. “Using accessories like bamboo, paper lamps, etc. help create a peaceful room. Furniture can be simple with elegant neat lines. Dark wood furniture with warm colors would be neutral and transcend seasons. Subdued wall paper with a hint of color can be used to enhance the ambience”, she suggests.

“This kind of Asian look has caught on very well as people are very comfortable with Asian themes rather than Art Deco type of minimalism which could produce a very cold or industrial look”, Vidhya says. People want the chic look, but not the clutter. There is a flow of space, which has a calming effect. “Above all, the place needs to breathe”, says interior designer Suchitra Satish Kumar. The choices have a lot to do with economics too. “Minimalism can be cheap, because, all you have is straight lines. On the other hand, interiors had done in the classical style can cost a cool 50 per cent more”, explains architect and designer Ponni Concessao. Remember, ornamentation involves more labour and even more crucially, more space - all of which are at paucity now. . “You spend on the Italian marble, of course to get the clean expanse of space that it generates. But because the style is minimalist, it is less expensive”, Ponni points out. There is no inlay or border work on the floor, and no cornices on the ceiling, both of which are laborious and consequently expensive. “There is perhaps a little textural play on the walls and imaginative use of color and light”, Ponni adds. But there is a scarce presence of decorative and expensive add-ons.

Past perfect

There are those who love the retro look. “While the appeal of the clean minimalist sans clutter continues”, says Sujatha Shankar architect and designer, “what has come into play is the ‘60s and ‘70’s retro look, evoking memories of LP records and the Beatles”. People like to throw in as décor, objects evoking that feel. And it strictly need not be art décor as such. You might just plaster a portion of the wall with a movie poster from that era, and the retro effect comes into play. Nostalgia? “The Forties and fifties memorabilia are everywhere”, Vidhya says.

Large floral motifs are also being seen. “Such as the William Morris look and feel, in fabric or wall patterns”, Sujatha says. And in soft furnishings and wall color, totally neutral shades like beige and off-white, set off with patches of vibrant hues are happening too, alongside the broad splashes of vibrant color.

Concept décor

There is also a small niche of people who like to create little worlds or slices of time in their homes. Chettinad, Egyptian, South-east Asian, Classical American, and so on.

“But this is not really a trend, more of an individual preference”, Sujatha says. You begin with thinking about the way people lived in that particular place, particular time, and the ambience which suited that kind of a lifestyle.

“It involves a whole lot of stuff, starting from the basic architectural design to the final dressing up with artifacts“, Ponni points out. Now, wonder, it can be an expensive proposition.

Make-over culture


Then, there is this fancy for make-overs. The ‘new improved’ tag that helps sell fmcg products and services has apparently spread its net over homes too.

“Nowadays, many people come asking for a new look to their existing bedrooms, or kitchens, or living rooms”,

Suchitra shares.

And luckily, it doesn’t cost an astronomical sum to redo spaces, if architectural changes are not made. In fact, many people are doing this on own, without seeking professional help.

Some designers are also predicting ‘diverse’ and ‘eclectic’ as the watchwords for the design trends to be seen in 2009.

But ultimately, interior design is about the energy that pervades the space.

A happy energy resonates when the stuff around the house makes you feel comfortable, involved and happy. Needless to say then, each to his own scheme of things.



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