Does interior design have a language of its own? Singapore interior design professionals will tell you that it does. And they’re not alone. Many other industry representatives have been working to formulate the guiding principles, the language that makes interior designs stellar. One of these professionals is Alexa Hampton – the daughter of the late and incredibly popular interior designer Mark Hampton.
The aim of the language is to determine the elements that are required every single time, regardless of the project scope or nature. Let’s take a look at how the language is formulated by different experts who have a lot of experience.
Learning the Interior Design Language
Whenever an interior design professional looks at a room, they can read it. They can imagine what goes where, which solutions yield the best possible outcome.
Hampton has crafted her own language and methodology that’s based on four essential elements – proportion, contrast, colour and balance.
Contrast is the one thing that keeps the eye of the viewer engaged. Hence, it’s one of the interior design staples and a major part of the language that interior designers use to tell a story. It makes the appearance of a room dynamic and intriguing.
In Hampton’s view, proportion represents the grammar part of the interior design language. It describes the space, the relationship between the other elements.
Colour forms the descriptors. Balance gives the entire composition meaning.
Based on this concept, Hampton has written a book that describes the relationship between the different elements, the ways in which they interact with the environment and result in harmonious projects.
The language of design, once mastered, enables professionals in the field to introduce versatility in their portfolio. Experimenting with the different elements allows for personalised outcomes, rather than a signature execution in which case most projects will look similar to each other.
And Moving on to a Vocabulary
Hampton isn’t the only professional in the field who’s been working on conceptualising a language or an interior design vocabulary.
Professor Jan Jennings has been lecturing interior design students since the 1990s. In an interview, Jennings said that describing examples from different parts of the world could be difficult. Very often, she lacked the words to explain what the students were seeing, like a dramatic staircase for example. After all, there’s no specific term for a dramatic staircase and the professor had to rely on descriptive phrases to put together engaging lectures.
To deal with the problem, Jennings and numerous of her colleagues from Cornell University worked on a searchable online database featuring contemporary interior design images and terminology. Browsing through the database, one could easily learn what a Wunderkammer is or how to put together a “lonely couple” of interior design elements.
Working together, the academics had to put together a naming practice or a vocab that students could use.
The project carries the name Intypes for the Interior Archetypes Research and Teaching. The International Interior Design Association and Interior Design magazine partnered up with the academics to present the methodology during the NeoCon Design Trade Show.
In its very early stage, the project featured approximately 70 archetypes with the intention to add more and expand further through the years.
Building Upon the Principles of Interior Design
Projects like those mentioned above are a common occurrence as professionals are attempting to shed more light on the specific interior design premises that define the field.
Professional journals mention the fact that interior design and interior decoration are often mistaken for each other. Hence, differentiation and specialisation efforts are a common occurrence.
The principles of interior design (much like the elements in Hampton’s “language”) include space, line, forms, light, colour, texture and form.
While they’re not being called a language, these principles have been guiding the work of interior design professionals for decades. All of them are required to create harmonious projects that are functional and that please the eye at the same time.
Because of these complex interactions between different components, some go as far as to say that interior design is a science. It’s far from simple because the lack of balance between any two of the elements or the principles could ruin the overall execution of the idea.
Using the Language of Interior Design to Meet the Needs of Clients
The ultimate goal here is easy to understand – interior design professionals need guiding principles that will help them understand the needs of client and translate these requirements into the selection of the right design elements.
As Hampton says in her book, there’s no question that some of the best interior designers out there have a ton of talent and innate creativity. At the same time, however, the language of interior design can be taught and just about anyone can benefit from learning.
The aim of such projects is to inspire interior designers, as well as people who are interested in the field. One project can be approached in so many different ways, as long as the right principles are utilised. The resulting outcomes will look beautiful and they’ll meet client specifications when the elements interact with each other in the best possible way.
Obviously, every language provides a bit of room for breaking the rules in order to produce an original and inspiring work. The principles of interior design are such guidelines that can be omitted every now and then, as long as the omission is purposeful and justified.
One thing is certain – Home Guide is an interior design company in Singapore that speaks the language of interior design and we work mindfully to implement the necessary key principles in the work that we do, balancing it with creative flair. Whether residential interior design projects for your perfect home or office design for optimal productivity, efficiency and collaboration, our projects are balanced and aimed to please the specific client and their needs.
Do we speak the same language? Find out by contacting Home Guide. Let us know who you are and what you’re looking for. Based on our experience and interior design linguistic fluency, we will work with you to create the best possible outcome.