Simon Shuck from bespoke lighting design studio Inspired By Design explains the value and need for masculine design in order to create a deeper meaning in the projects currently on the boards…
There is a stereotype that interior design is more of woman’s trade and that the wife makes the decisions regarding the interior of the home and therefore it remains from a woman’s perspective and designed according to women’s tastes.
There is some truth to this but in perpetuating it, we deny the importance of men’s spaces and the masculine design that shapes them. The typical male spaces include the executive and home office, study, library cigar room, gun room, majlis and the “man cave”. However, the style of design that marks these spaces can easily be extended to other areas in the house. Though not specifically a man’s space, it can retain the same masculine energy.
The spirit of the room
Just as a tailored suit is made bespoke to the man wearing it – not just to fit his body but also to fit his lifestyle, his purpose, and his character. So too is a well-designed space for the man using it – it is an expression of his identity, it bears his signature.
An important element of masculine design is that it is, beyond all else, function oriented. So before any design is created, the first question must be “what will you be doing in this room?” and this question has an underlying implication “what do you want the best version of you to be doing and how can this room assist you?”. Thus, a well-designed office will help the man focus, a study and library will help him think and a majlis will promote lively conversation.
The answer to this question will determine the decisions for every other element from the furniture required, the lighting, even the colour scheme. Every aspect of design contributes to creating the spirit of the room, which in turn fosters the spirit of the man.
When someone imagines a man’s space, they will instinctively imagine materials such as leather, wood and metal yet people will rarely consider the reason. The choice of leather and wood are ancient materials that demonstrate man’s dominance over nature while the use of metal is emblematic of his strength and industry.
The consequence of selecting these materials invariably provides a variety of different textures from the cold, metal to the rough timber and the smooth leather. The use of different textures provides a more natural feeling environment and as authenticity is an integral element of the design, this prevents a feeling of the artificial.
There are certain masculine colours that tend to be associated with masculine spaces – grey, black, brown, dark green, navy blue. The choice of colours serves the purpose of tying the natural materials together harmoniously.
Light, as with every other element of the space, should be focused. Directed at illuminating key elements to bring attention to the different layers and textures of the design. In many ways replicating the light given off by a fire in a cave, with a bold warm light that creates dark shadows and directs the man towards the function of the space. The desk light illuminates his working space the floor lamp illuminates his reading chair.
Ultimately, the space should not be designed for just any man, rather it should be designed specifically for him and how he will use the space. This includes a custom-made desk and furniture designed according to how he will use them and a bespoke feature-light that serves to welcomes the man into his space and is a symbol of his unique signature on the room.
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Main image credit: Inspired By Design