Ever see a room in a photograph or through a window and think what I would do to have a cocktail in that space?
This month I’ve been making rounds, observing spatial settings – most of them behind glass, in a film or some prearranged setting. Coincidently, I’ve been engaging by chance in several architectural and interior design discussions (a sit-in interview with director of Abitare, STEFANO BOERI, a few random blogs, an article in the local paper, and some reviews of new restaurants highlighting spatial innovation). All mentioned, I think I finally have a little opinion on the grandiose theme of spatial design. A field I’ve been toying with in my spare as of late.
Most of these rooms, whether in an ad or photo or storefront, are frankly very uncomfortable. With certain clean and subtle hints of Nouveau Réalisme, post-modernism, vintage-rubbish ism …though avant-garde, they evoke a sense of emptiness. The lengths that which minimalism has gone to elevate simplicity, has been on the brink of extreme in the past couple of years. Delving tangentially into the class system, unavoidably, there was a time when a room full of goods, adorned and ornate, plump with riches and collectibles, was indeed synonymous with wealth. Whereas on the contrary, barren studios and abandoned warehouses, near-empty rooms were associated with poverty. The opposite has clearly evolved (also in fashion, advertisement design, and various means of presentation in general).
My latest find, a 12-inch blue square mounted above a stark white leather slab in a piece called “sitting room” where two people fit, without reservation for a book, a drink, a foot rest, a coat, a purse, an arm to rest, which, including the stone floor and vaulted ceiling with crown molding and wrought-iron window panes, amounts to a ballpark square footage of 1300 at a humble price of $6800/month (almost the price of a villa in St. Tropez over the course of 2 years). I think King Louis XIV could have sold his pad for the same price at the time.
What happened to the presence of books, filling a room with knowledge; the decor of storytelling through photographs and paintings; the emotional evocation of love through trinkets and ornaments significant of friendships and family? The subtle marks and scuffs in the floor, behind the door, on the wall that reap of adventure, mishap, and try. Are not these elements of a space what make for good conversation and make a room feel alive, inviting, experienced?
So what is it about a so vacant space with a splash of color and a hint of seating that brings us to awe, that breathes capacity, that ignites innovation? Perhaps it is the illusion of a blank canvas, though it’s already clearly been astutely aligned and tacked with clean air and dustless rays for a sunny day. Does it provide think space? Perhaps an open canvas for thought and word to derive solely from a pure mental state, one untouched by distraction, uninfluenced to converse about stories evidently to have already been told – a pure state of mind that permits the most raw of concepts, discussions, contemplations?
For all of these “perhaps”, I call these spaces the intoxicated square – which, therefore become fruitful at the disposal of a fabulous cocktail – only with good company that is. A scotch on the rocks. A beer. Once slightly intoxicated, feeling toxic, words and thoughts become the life of the space. The room warms and as an afternoon turns to eve and carries on, with or without company one can release their colors of headspace onto the floors, against the naked walls, and scatter life in more directions otherwise restricted within the confines of hefty furniture, and populated surfaces. Do, beg to differ, that with all due respect to the architects and minimalist thinkers for space, these modern, pricey, barren, near-empty rooms are quite the blessing in disguise but for little more than a cocktail scene.