The Chamber of Curiosity: Apartment Design and the New Elegance.
If you are in search of some design inspiration for your home, something just a bit different from the routine ‘on-trend’ gravy train or the homogenous catalogue look, you might want to seek out a great book called ‘The Chamber of Curiosity’. Edited by Robert Klanten, Sofia Borges and Sven Ehmann, this book excels at demonstrating why we should all dare to be different.
It works on two crucial levels; not only is it an incredible collection of some of the best interior design globally, it also focuses on the occupants, laying bare their individual characters, which is reflected seamlessly in their stunning, eclectic apartments. These interiors are diverse, intimate and personal. Contrary colours, styles and textures tell the story behind the designs, bringing the inhabitants’ taste and stories to the fore. If you want your interior to be a reflection of you, your personality, interests and outlook can make their own mark on your home.
With this in mind, my husband collects Lalique fish, while I have a thing about Chinese ginger jars of all scales and hues. No matter what kind of day I’ve had, I walk into the room and they simply spark joy. It’s a timeless joy too, as these eclectic treasures have a knack of reflecting the passage of time, yet they remain in the ‘here and now’. Collect things you love and nothing ages. I’ve employed this mindset in some of my interiors, such as ‘Art Deco Home Surbiton’, where a pinball machine sits with robots, antique prints, and 60s kitsch. It all hangs together, evoking parts of the owners’ personalities, sparking memories and experiences.
A gathering of curiosities, each with a story to tell, can’t help but add interest and personality to a room. Avoiding uniformity, allowing the conventional to mingle with the idiosyncratic is a wonderful thing. The best dinner parties are those that bring interesting, different people together; if all the guests were from the same mould, conversation would be flat and dull. However, throw people from all walks of life into the mix, and interests are sparked, things are learnt, eyes are opened. The same applies to design. As people, we are a melting pot of ages, styles, outlooks and appearance; if we allow this rich diversity into our homes, we, and our living environment benefit.
This is the core message throughout ‘The Chamber of Curiosity’, it’s not about how much money you’ve spent, but about the ‘life-path’ of the occupant being portrayed through décor, transcending time, age and style. The only rule is that there are no rules.
The best design guides don’t preach or cajole. Instead they should inspire and motivate the reader. This book – published by Gestalten in 2014 has been described as ‘a book of pioneering interior design’ and it really lives up to its billing. So, if you want your surroundings to say something about you, your past, or your vision, get a copy of this inspirational book and take the leap.