Is unique design considered as ‘good or bad taste’ in interior design?

Unique design can be an acquired taste, for example the young designer Adam Slade’s ‘Swalm design’ is based mainly on insects (See figure 13). The idea of using insects may be considered as something that doesn’t appeal to the wider and the commercial audience but welcomed to some tastes.  It requires a certain preference. Lanyon (2014) suggests that the aim for design is to be successful commercially. Slade’s design was not designed to blur into the interior space. He creates a twist on the norm which is quite unusual and would have to fit a certain interior design. Slade (2015) describes his work as: “The weird, the wonderful and the sometimes sister” . The appearance of his design is quite normal at first but when you look into the details it can be quite a dark and a mysterious design with skulls. Slade (2015) describes that “it makes you look twice” this quirky style may be a controversial.

As an inspiring interior designer myself, I sometimes opt for the more unusual design. I like Slade’s style of design; he has designed something unique and makes him stand out from the crowd. Many others may share my opinion also. I feel like it makes such a different to a space. Josef Frank (from Svenskt Tenn- an interiors which create bold pattern design) wrote in the magazine Form: “There’s nothing wrong with mixing old and new, with combining different furniture styles, colours and patterns. Anything that is in your taste will automatically fuse to form an entire relaxing environment. A home does not need to be planned down to the smallest detail or contrived; it should be an amalgamation of the things that the owner loves and feels at home with.” (Anon 25, no date) This suggests that taste is what the owner loves which Slade shows within his work so who is to say his work is bad taste?

CUSHION swarm_0 (1)Figure 13 Anon 26 (2015)

An extreme unique design may be considered those of The Chapman brothers (Jake and Dino Chapman). They base their designs on quite vulgar and unsightly elements which might be considered as ethically wrong (a more subtle version of there work is in figure 14). They take their design preference to the extreme, gaining associations with bad taste. This shows that unique design can be more liable to be associated to bad taste (Emery, 2002).

chapman brothers

Figure 14 Anon 27 (no date)

Slade even admitted in his lecture that he changed his design commercially for hotel designers; taste can be adjusted to fit certain styles and clients. Catering to peoples taste is essential to be successful. The client has to have a say.

Slade’s idea of good design for interior furnishings suggests that his work is to his taste and considers it as beautiful: “In a bizarre and slightly surreal way, all connect together to form beautiful” It seems that good taste and beauty fit together and beauty is associated with good taste. It appears that the individualistic nature of the design can make you love or dislike it (Anon 28, no date)

Ethically, putting skulls on butterflies and other insects can be considered as wrong and not the norm as they weren’t naturally made like this, the natural element has been warped and changed to fit Slade’s taste. It can generate the idea that there is a decreasing element of natural beauty in design today: “Swarm Design offers a contemporary take on a Victorian aesthetic, aiming to diminish minimalist decorating and challenge what you think you want in your homes” (Slade, 2015) Slades idea is to always make something different to the original. This makes me question is there any natural beauty anymore? Another example within interiors is shabby chic, an on-going trend which changes the original design of something old. Painting the original design with bright pastel colours and sanding the design.

The idea of controversial design isn’t always valued; it’s a niche, which may suggest the lack of exposure to the masses. This type of design may need to appear again and again for people to recognise it. This may be why a more unique design isn’t as associated with good taste.

Interior designers are eager to add a quirky element to a design so it is more suited to their taste and not exactly the same as what you can find yourself in a store. (Loretto, no date) This maybe why the idea of changing the natural is in Slade’s designs

On the other hand, William Morris’ works, featuring repetitive prints of foliage, has been generated many times and Morris isn’t alive; so that it may be that they have lost it’s original appeal suggesting that rapid exposure can not always benefit.

It appears that taste is based on your personal preference but may be influenced by aspects I have discussed through my blog. Like the same ideology that Grayham (2002) has, he suggests that taste may be less subjective as you think as he suggests that taste is influenced by a variation of different factors.


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