Art of con­trast

To make a de­fin­i­tive state­ment with your liv­ing space, com­bine two seem­ingly op­po­site looks to­gether to cre­ate a unique one, says J J VALAYA

India Today - - HOME COLUMN -

Con­tra­dic­tion in cre­ativ­ity can be ex­cit­ing and if I may add, re­mains the main­stay of my per­sonal phi­los­o­phy of de­sign. The chal­lenge of putting two di­verse looks to­gether and then be­ing able to have them project a uni­fied, con­gru­ous vis­ual is an art and may well be the most im­por­tant el­e­ment in a stylish home. A ma­jor­ity of spa­ces to­day are ei­ther se­verely min­i­mal­ist or out­ra­geously ex­trav­a­gant. Bal­ance is piv­otal and yet rare. A lot of fac­tors have to be taken into con­sid­er­a­tion to avoid be­ing out­right over the top or re­strict­ing one­self to the bare min­i­mum. Also, dec­o­rat­ing around a theme can of­ten be a risk- prone ex­er­cise as it’s easy to get car­ried away and go, lit­er­ally, too far. For me, as a de­signer and a vi­su­aliser, it is im­por­tant and al­most manda­tory to al­ways break some rules and yet hon­our the prin­ci­ples of fine aes­thet­ics. What­ever it takes to add char­ac­ter to a space must be done.

A room may revel in co­or­di­nat­ing colour palettes with match­ing hues on the walls, floors and ceil­ings, but I strongly be­lieve that it is an oc­ca­sional ‘ pop’ that cre­ates an un­ex­pected sur­prise. So, it is im­por­tant to have fun with colours. Strong, dark shades tend to pull walls closer, mak­ing a room feel smaller but that isn’t al­ways bad be­cause it brings in that amaz­ing feel­ing of warmth and co­zi­ness; it’s just as im­por­tant to give a room re­lief by in­cor­po­rat­ing lighter ac­cents. Also, if you love colour, use it to high­light a fo­cal point wall and never an en­tire room be­cause it can get over­bear­ing with time. Per­son­ally, I am not against play­ing with colours, as long as the end re­sult is stylish with­out go­ing over the top.

Sim­i­larly, tex­tures play a vi­tal role in adding a di­men­sion to spa­ces. My per­sonal favourites are

COL­UMN hand­painted walls, be­spoke wall­pa­pers, mir­rored walls, stone clad ones and of course, wooden ones. I of­ten see spa­ces where every­thing is only one sur­face; not that there’s any­thing wrong in that, but it does add an­other de­gree of magic when one com­bines un­usual sur­faces and tex­tures along with painted walls.

A good way to prac­tice this is to iden­tify piv­otal walls in your space and tell the ar­chi­tect to not plan for them till the first coat of paint is on ad­join­ing walls. Then, stand in the room, feel its space, and come up with that per­fect idea for a tex­ture that will change the face of the wall. A space, which when de­vel­oped layer by layer, will have tremen­dous ap­peal as op­posed to a rigidly ex­e­cuted one.

Fur­ni­ture and its place­ment is an­other im­por­tant fac­tor, where of­ten, it is nec­es­sary to be re­al­is­tic about how the room is go­ing to be used. In a room, us­ing tex­tures on fur­ni­ture such as glass, metal, wood and even shell or stone gives it a de­tailed con­tem­po­rary qual­ity. Give a lot of em­pha­sis to com­fort and style to­gether; never al­low one to tri­umph over the other. Pro­por­tions play a huge role here. For ex­am­ple, con­tem­po­rary and unique pieces of fur­ni­ture in a small bed­room can make a style state­ment yet main­tain di­men­sions. The way to go about is to al­low a pow­er­ful state­ment piece to take charge in the room and give it a larger than life per­sona.

Lastly, one must learn to blend his­tory, art, na­ture and mod­ernism to­gether. The ra­tios may vary but I feel that a true con­nois­seur’s space would re­flect a re­spect for all of these el­e­ments. So, an­tiques and rare ob­jet d’art are as vi­tal to me as is fine art and modern photography. Bring­ing the out­doors in­side through gi­ant palms and other ex­otic species adds as much to a space as care­fully de­signed ar­range­ments of fresh flow­ers. For the art fi­nally lies in putting these con­tra­dic­tions to­gether to cre­ate a well laid out space that is up- to- date . The writer is a Delhi- based fash­ion de­signer who

also has a strong in­ter­est in in­te­rior de­sign.

Dark walls and tex­tures cre­ate vis­ual in­ter­est ( above); clas­sic pieces with cut­ting edge de­tails like the cabi­net ( be­low) never go out of style

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