Moving towards a new ‘English Vernacular’?

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    In recent years, there seems to have been a resurgence in creating quintessentially English interiors. At all levels, hospitality market interior design practices have been producing design solutions that are recognisably within an English tradition.

    Whilst I have been used to seeing interiors in South Africa that have married a recognisable South African aesthetic to international influences (Bushmans Kloof, for example), the generation of an English aesthetic has been less identifiable in my homeland.

    Englishness is a difficult style to nail down, unlike French styling epitomised for me by the discovery of the Hotel Meurice — no not the one in Paris, but the one in Calais. In Germany too I have found many Gasthaus properties that stylistically could not exist elsewhere. So it goes on throughout Europe, whereas the local English equivalents have been less stylish and more – not to put too fine a point on it – twee, with many simple run down, seedy or knackered.

    Meanwhile ‘starchitects’ continue the trend for new builds to be architectural styling porn at the expense of cities having a local identity, with their interiors dominated by their structure. They generally fail to acknowledge location in favour of an androgynous ‘international style’, and are designed from the outside in, the reverse of a good interior, which should always focus on function. This leaves the interior designers attempting the architectural equivalent of putting lipstick on a pig.

    In recent years, the English regional market has picked up and we are now seeing the regeneration of identifiably local trends. These when taken together are, for this observer, beginning to create an identifiably localised English design style, which I like referring to as ‘a new English Vernacular’.

    Continued on page two…

    Daniel Fountain / 09.09.2015

    Editor, Hotel Designs


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