The home, the mirror of our inner selves | by Pierluigi Masini

The home is increasingly a manifestation of lifestyle. It communicates our sense of being and feeling, a kind of declared self-realisation and a mirror onto our inner selves. It is a conscious, stated choice: I am what I love and I love these furnishings, these spaces, these combinations. I can build a narrative of my creed, construct an imaginary travel literature, a hyperbole that goes beyond myself, or celebrate contentment with my own being. I can choose what represents me, dream of other worlds or remain proudly tied to my roots, to my “here and now”. I can decide how many degrees of separation to place between myself and others and how many degrees of freedom I need.

I express who I am through my home, an intimate and familiar place that becomes a theatre of experience to be shared with friends or a location to be shown off on social media. I express my values through personalisation. No longer trusting the undifferentiated marketing of the eighties, today I am the owner of my choices.

This has become the dominant mood in recent years, the (un)aware transition from the postmodernism theorised by Baudrillard towards the liquidity of Bauman and beyond. Condensed into the Ego, referring to the Ego. It is within this current of thought that we must interpret furnishing trends: how they are manifested, who guides them, and the difficulty of developing undifferentiated trends that work for all.

Let’s consider the world of fashion design and the tendency amongst top brands to create custom products. Unlike in the past, today’s fashion brands are revisiting their own cult objects, mixing in oriental influences, reinventing eighties atmospheres and creating dissonances. Applying symbols of other worlds, whether distant, underground or grunge, onto blatantly famous (albeit falsified) textures. Using irony and seemingly challenging themselves to prove that they are stronger and more durable than fashions. Creating signs and symbols of luxury that until just a few years ago were far less disconcerting. “Goldtrash”, we might call them.

In the world of home design and lifestyle, the trend towards extreme customisation is represented by certain art and design galleries who create highly sophisticated furnishings for clients and homes all over the world, regularly exhibited by their owners in sector magazines.

A case in point is DimoreGallery in Milan, where thousands of people converged during the last DesignWeek to watch the creation of an imaginary story consisting of suffused atmospheres, music, perfumes and objects, old and new, linked to the timeless, iconic furnishings of Gabriella Crespi. Here too the important thing is to create an experience. Take for example the London home of the two founding brothers of Dsquared2, designed by DimoreStudio, a unique experiment in taste that combines fifties design icons with travel souvenirs and inspirations from the past.

The designer’s role has evolved from that of a creator/inventor back in the golden age of the sixties and seventies to today’s figure of an art director who interprets spaces according to his client’s tastes. One aspect of this trend that has remained unchanged is the colour gold, which continues to signify luxury, even for people who already have everything: whether brushed brass, gold leaf tabletops, gold-coloured veins embedded in concrete tops to enhance the “perfection of the imperfect” or gold leaves illuminated by LEDs. The luxury design brand Visionnaire is well aware of this and makes extensive use of gold in its logo, eliciting an immediate response in some of the markets where the brand has rapidly established itself and seen exponential growth.

The trend towards customisation reminds us of the words of Rossini’s famous aria: “At the idea of that metal, so potent, so powerful”. The colour gold is popular in emerging markets like China, India, Russia and the Middle and Far East. It is both a status symbol and a source of fun. A case in point is Atelier Biagetti, which anticipated the trend by a few years with God, a provocative installation where gold ingots are sold and even a child’s swing is made of the precious metal.


July 2019