Liv­ing

De­sign has a lan­guage all of its own, but do we un­der­stand it?

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Stellar - - Contents - by Neale Whi­taker

Neale Whi­taker ex­plains the new de­sign lingo.

When I was a mag­a­zine ed­i­tor, I had a vendetta against the word “eclec­tic”. Not only was it overused, but it al­ways seemed so lazy, a one-size-fits-all de­scrip­tor for any style that flouted the rule book.

Now that word is “po­lar­is­ing”, thrown at any­thing that might jus­ti­fi­ably pro­voke de­bate, opin­ion or emo­tion. Of course de­sign is po­lar­is­ing. How bor­ing would it be if there was some kind of taste stan­dard whereby we all liked ev­ery­thing equally?

My new house came with a horse – and if that’s not po­lar­is­ing, I don’t know what is. I still bought it. And I’m guilty of overus­ing the word my­self. If The Block judges scored a dol­lar ev­ery time we said “po­lar­is­ing”, we’d never have to work again.

It got me think­ing about other words we throw around on TV that might grate on view­ers, and some that prob­a­bly need fur­ther ex­pla­na­tion. De­sign has a lan­guage of its own, and when you work in its wake you don’t al­ways stop to think about whether you’re mak­ing your­self un­der­stood. Here’s a brief glos­sary of some terms you’re likely to hear a lot in the com­ing months…

Tade­lakt might sound de­li­cious but, no, it doesn’t come with cous­cous. It’s a beau­ti­ful soap-pol­ished, wa­ter-re­pel­lent plas­ter sur­face pop­u­lar in Moroc­can ar­chi­tec­ture. Tra­di­tion­ally red in colour, it’s cur­rently en­joy­ing its time in the sun, es­pe­cially in bath­rooms.

Un­less you’ve been liv­ing un­der the prover­bial rock, you’ll know that Por­tu­gal is one of the hottest des­ti­na­tions on the planet, and in in­te­rior decor, Azule­jos are the new tile of choice. Most com­monly found in com­bi­na­tions of blue and white – but not al­ways – these in­tri­cate ce­ramic tiles are of­ten seen on the ex­te­ri­ors of Por­tuguese build­ings and have long been famed for their cool­ing, as well as dec­o­ra­tive, prop­er­ties.

They’re now a fash­ion-for­ward choice in kitchens, bath­rooms and laun­dries, although I sug­gest “Por­tuguese tiles” is eas­ier to say than

“Tade­lakt might sound de­li­cious but, no, it doesn’t come with cous­cous”

TALK OF THE TOWN (be­low, from left) Azule­jos tiles are on the tip of de­sign-savvy tongues for use in kitchen splash­backs; from the heart of Morocco to bath­rooms around the world, tade­lakt sur­faces are is an un­mis­tak­ably bright, bold decor choice.

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