Does age demographics influence ‘good or bad taste’ in interior design?

When you design for interior spaces it appears that your idea of taste in design could be influenced by age, but is this always the case? Duvall (no date) suggests that it takes years of practice to be praised by designers and non-designers. This suggests that the longer experience you have within the field of design (including interiors) the more knowledge is gained therefore developing a refined good taste- creating a better design than others such as the younger generation which have had less experience. Linda Barker- a famous interior designer has had many years of experience in the interior design field which may be a factor to why her designs are valued and is also heard of in the public eye. Duvall’s argument suggests that the idea of waking up with good taste one day is absurd. But not all people seem to think so…

It was suggested: “one view of the world is that some people just have it and others don’t” (Anon 18, no date). This suggests good taste is something which just comes to you naturally. In a design field such as: interior design this can be ‘the gift of the gab’. Age and experience doesn’t even come into it.

As the younger generation of interior designers are less experienced, their version of taste may be deemed as being ‘lower in the pecking order’ and ‘not as valued’. “Actually creating work that’s consistently praised by those in and outside the design community takes many years of practice” (Duvall, no date). This suggests that many might have a good idea of what interior design is but to actually succeed in it you need experience to appeal to all tastes. A younger interior designer may be not as popular in the public eye and be valued less.

Although there are also welcoming opinions to the younger generations taste: “A whole bunch of young people buy into a new kind of taste, oldsters had better pay attention”. (Metcalf, 2007) the tongue in cheek nature of Metcalf’s quote appears to suggest that the younger taste is more desirable, new and more exciting than older tastes. Maybe suggesting that the older generation needs to keep up with with the younger generation’s design. It is something new and better than some ‘outdated’ styles.

This makes me think: is this attitude apparent nowadays? if somethings broke, buy a new, better one, instead of fixing it like they used to. The idea is much more appealing to buy a newer, modern and better one like the ‘Go Stacking Chair’ by designer Ross Lovegrove in figure 13, instead of fixing an older one. As technology has developed, we can do so much more with design. Lovegrove  suggests that the 21st century reflects the great potential of our advanced technology in design (Lovegrove, p11 2004). The reason why the elder generation may be keen to hold onto a certain taste as this was done for hundreds of years, but maybe it’s all changing? This technological nature of the younger generation appears to be influential on today’s good tastes,  but many may turn their nose up at the idea.

go-stacking-chair-ross-lovegrove-bernhardt-design-1Figure 13 (Anon 20, no date)

Fisk (p7 2009) suggests that when you design for a maturer client, you have to make it simple as currently they aren’t user friendly for them to use. But doesn’t this contrast with the idea that modern designs are simple so why doesn’t the elder generation like/prefer it? It can be argued that the older generation were brought up with the Traditional style interior spaces, maybe filled with ornate, maybe Art Deco objects and all things not modern. Ron Arad demonstrates contemporary design in his ‘Bookworm Bookcase’, this doesn’t appear to look like traditional design therefore not appealing to elders (see Figure 14).

rojFigure 14 (Anon 21, no date)

It appears taste is influenced by so many factors. Figure 15 shows a traditional design which is apparently ‘more approachable’ to the older generation. Although there is part of the older generation which may welcome new technology, its your preference. In the modern day modern design is associated with modern technology “older adults are less likely to use technology than younger adults” (p5 Fisk, 2009). For  example the modern sofa which has integrated speakers (see figure 16) can be seen as a strange concept and can be confusing to those who do not know how to use technology (p5 Fisk, 2009). It was suggested that for a long time great artists set the standard for beauty. Now those standards are gone, implying that modern is a bad aspect to design in any design fields (Anon 19).

.style-renovation-traditional-staircase-beautiful-design-ideas-in-pennsylvania-philadelphia  Figure 15 (Anon 22, no date)

Sound-Sofa-with-built-in-iPod-by-CSL-Sofas Figure 16 (Anon 23, no date)

This is an example of a Staircase at a Mumbai apartment by Mexican studio ‘Arquitectura en Movimiento Workshop’ It’s style is very contemporary and the simple nature which may get some scrutiny by the maturer client which wasn’t brought up with this style.  Love it or hate it, it is apparent the contemporary style is influencing our tastes.

SDM_Apartment_by_Arquitectura-en_Movimiento_Workshop_dezeen_1Figure 15  (Anon 24, no date)

It’s interesting to question: how do we define older adult? where is the line between the older generation and younger generation? maybe when technology to design in this modern way developed then it reflected in the younger generation. Fisk (p4 2009) also suggested that people are living longer and in need of assisted living so tastes in specific elements to your home may be effected by this.


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