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The antidote to homogeneous design

Late last year, with the Design Institute of Australia, we recorded a podcast interview with Sarah-Jane Pyke, Co-Founder and Interior Designer at Arent & Pyke, based in Sydney.

Sarah-Jane Pyke - Director at Arent & Pyke

During the interview, Sarah-Jane referred to a study tour she’d taken to Japan a couple of years earlier. During the trip, whilst meeting other designers and touring their studios, she noticed their in-house libraries weren’t just filled with samples and reference catalogues. They also contained books; design books, art books, architecture books.

Her point about this really hit home – with the rise of the internet, as designers, we often first turn to Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration for a new project. Whilst it’s a great resource for design inspiration, it also means we’re all reaching into the same spot for reference. The result is that we’re seeing the same trend, played out around the world, simultaneously. Whilst we did the interview over six months ago, that gold nugget insight still stays with me.

If we’re all dipping into the same pot, has interior design become homogenised on a global level?

Taking time to remember to look up, down and all around.

Historically boundaries such as distance, travel and cultures have resulted in eclectic design from all around the world. Signature prints, colour palettes and materials all told us where they were from because they were idiosyncratic to their origin. Trends were localised and weren’t easily recognised outside of their immediate birthplace.

They say content is king - books for the win.

But in this age of information, sharing is caring and now, what looks good in one spot, is quickly snapped and beamed around the world. For the past couple of years we’ve watched the rise and rise of trends like brass finished archways, monochromatic palettes of salmon and pistachio, and fluted wall finishes. These interior trends aren’t local to anywhere, they’re local to everywhere. Of course, they look great, but when we look at them en-masse, it’s all getting a little same’sy.

Chris & Renee Ballard - quick trips around Australia are an instant source of design inspiration.

It’s been a worthy reminder that looking further afield than our devices allows us the design edge of strolling through the ages - before the internet started to maniacally recording everything, How that’s translated for us is turning to books, exhibitions and heading out to travel again. It’s been returning to the discipline of look far and wide to take inspiration from any and every available resource.

The results of casting a wider net for design inspiration doesn’t mean we’re only looking to zig when the others zag, but rather it’s to make sure there’s no stone left unturned when it comes to being a creative vessel.


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