Saturday, 27 July 2013

Vive la difference

I found an interesting thread on Houzz from a lady who was soon to be visiting the land of her ancesters. She was most looking forward to seeing the iconic architectural elements associated with the country. Participants of the thread mentioned their personal experiance of discovering that Italy seemed disinterested in any form of contemporary use of classical models in design. I also commented:

I so agree with laura! ( see the two blog posts below) As an Anglo-Italian living in Italy I am desperately trying to get Italians to take note of the wealth of beautiful objects they could still manufacture with success  AND take advantage of the many artisan crafters who's survival hang by a shoe-string. It is business they could well do with at the moment, but no, ho-hum, it isn't "IKEA" inspired, They are convinced that Italian designers must produce only innovative design. All funds are invested in competing with international competition in this sector while they ignore the potential of their own history: effectively missing a "gap in the market" as big as they come . 
Working as a painter/decorator of traditional Italian wall decoration, I am considered by it's very founders as out of date or an English eccentric ( ok, I am a bit ).

99.9% clientele are offered "sleek and simple." Any design that can't support the adjective "contemporary" is now not contemplated in mainstream commerce. Whatever happened to embracing your heritage? 
So, how can I get hip? Maybe by slipping into my craft names like Neo-traditional, Contemporary Classic or Live and let live design....
ps Italy is passionately beautiful, I wish you a marvellous holiday! 

laura said:
It's so funny when we Americans (I'm assuming a large portion of readers are American...) talk about "Italian style" - we almost always mean something antique or old. Whereas for Italians, Italian style is all about the very LATEST thing! When getting my kitchen redone in our house in Turin, the only "traditional" style anyone knew in Italy was what they actually call "country." Not what I wanted at all for an Art Nouveau vintage house. Funnily enough, it is hard as heck to find newly-minted "traditional" style in Italy - they want everything MODERN!! ;-) They would find it pretty amusing what most U.S. interior designers call "Tuscan." All those Italian old-looking designs we see in the U.S. are only for export - you'd be hard pressed to find a "new old" design in Italy! Strange, huh?

laura says:
 - as much as we enshrine "Italian style" as something fabulous in all areas, alas, I have to say I have YET to go to a chic or even beautifully decorated Italian home. They are all functional, and because people live mainly in small apartments, there doesn't seem to be a lot of emphasis on design in middle class homes. Maybe the top of the top have fabulous homes, but I'm just going to normal people (my friends') apartments. It's pretty much all Ikea-esque. I find Italians tend to put a lot more energy into their wardrobe (what they bring OUT of the house) rather than what they put in the house! Strange, but true. WHereas most Americans see their house not only as a home, but as a place to show off, Italians see it as a place to hang their hat. And most of the time, everyone ends up in the kitchen, in any case...