DESIGN AND ARCHITECTURE
In modern philosopher Alain de Botton’s excellent The Architecture of Happiness, his 2007 exploration of the links between buildings and our wellbeing, he states: ‘ Bad architecture is in the end as much a failure of psychology as of design.’ I couldn’t agree more. The structures that fill our towns and cities have to be well thought out, to be focused on function as well as aesthetics, and to come from a particular mindset. From lofty skyscrapers to small, cleverly designed homes, the places where we reside need to have heart and genuine resonance for them to succeed.
This issue, I wanted ELLE Decoration to explore this idea, focusing not on characterless, cold edifices, but spaces that are warm and wonderful inside and out. These inspirational places, created by a roster of talents – both in the UK and abroad – are reinvigorating our collective sense of what home could and should be in the 21st Century.
We also look briefly to the past, acknowledging an icon of British architecture: the Barbican estate in London. It’s one of my favourite buildings, for its visual impact and all that it represents. If any development has the power to affect the happiness of its residents, it’s this one.
Speaking of wellbeing, we now understand, more than ever, the important role that sleep plays in our health. As an occasional insomniac, I know this first-hand. If you haven’t already read Matthew Walker’s Why We Sleep, do, it’s enlightening. He talks to us on p43, as part of our annual focus on everything that can aid a good night’s slumber. From the best beds, linens and bedroom furniture to other innovations and elixirs, I will be trying as many as I can. I’d advise the sleepy among you to do the same.