Today’s world is all about self-expression, about personalised experiences that reflect an inner calmness with one’s being, and yet also satisfy a deep desire to be unique and inimitable. The paradigm of luxury is shifting from the somewhat aloof, predictable and touch-me-not nature of traditional luxury brands, to a much more existential luxury that is relevant to, and reflective of, the individual. In this new avatar of luxury, design is still principal, but this design is custom created for an exclusive and almost emotional interplay between the user and the creation. Some brands have been creating collaborations with symbols from deep rooted culture and beliefs to become the new alternatives of choice. This could be “streetwear” brands like Supreme with super limited runs of exclusive high end streetwear, so exclusive that people queue up to buy, to Insignia Group’s customized credit cards, inlaid with precious gems and carrying family crests or sports logos, to Ferrari’s Icona Monza SP 1 (single seater) and SP 2 (2 seater) sports cars, inspired by legacy Ferrari models, and produced in only 499 numbers that were all presold at the time of launch.
In the luxury furniture world, some such brands that stand out include Borzalino, Foscarini and Tacchini. Borzalino’s avant-garde Gordon bookcase is a conversation piece that is often paired with a minimalist look for a glimpse into the home owner’s persona or even with a Mia armchair, the epitome of comfort, creating a further personalized zone within one’s home. Foscarini’s MyLight is an intelligent lighting system that allows smartphone-based mood setting including switching the lamp on to adjusting brightness and altering the colour temperature. Tacchini’s Joaquim is the winner of the 2020 Wallpaper Design Awards. The Joaquim collection is designed for the eco-conscious customer with sustainability at its core, incorporating linear, geometric shapes, salvaging off-cuts. Separately, Tacchini has tied up with Studiopepe for immersive design concepts like in their staging “Club Unseen” which interweaves memory and contemporariness using augmented reality.
So what do these buzzing companies have in common? These companies are rising above brand names to provide a heady cocktail of (a) passionately inspired designs, fueled by innovation (b) a legacy of superior craftsmanship, with deliberately limited production, resulting in exclusive creations, not easily available to all, and (c) personalisation for greater reflection of ME / MINE. For suddenly, luxury is much more than something mere money can buy.
Another very important aspect to be considered in luxury interior design is the impact of lifestyle journalism and social media. In addition to creating spaces that are reflective of one’s personality, quirky solutions like Sian Zeng’s changing hand-painted magnetic interactive wallpaper or personalised tapestry become conversation pieces and a ready background for one’s Insta feed.
Luxury isn’t about extravagance, in 2020 it’s all about personalisation.
By Sanjay Pareek