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
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