Does Bolder and Brighter Equal Better?

chongqing mountain city sales office

In designing both the interiors and exteriors of public spaces, the goal is to be noticed. In order to compete in the booming interior design and architecture sectors, standing out from the crowd is a must.

However, sometimes subtle design choices are deemed insufficiently eye-catching and are substituted for larger, more extreme design choices. As the age-old question states, though, is bigger always better?

In the case of Sydney’s newly-opened Museum of Contemporary Art, the reviews are mixed. While the $53 million development has been slated as heralding in a new spate of Australian artists, they might not be too pleased with the artistry taking place within the structure itself.

Architecture critic Elizabeth Farelly has critiqued the building for not delivering on what she had envisioned, calling it gaudy.

“(I) wanted the enchanting, the sophisticated, the sublime – and it’s not that,” Farelly says.

The geometric building is described by the architect himself, Sam Marshall, as a ‘contemporary’ and ‘strong building.’

triangular masses form mountain like shapes chongqing mountain city sales office

Chongqing Mountain City Sales Office- Triangular Masses form Mountain like Shapes

However, the strong interior aesthetic of coloured box shapes, hard lines and featured white leaves editor-in-chief Benjamin Genocchio ‘simultaneously impressed and underwhelmed.’

Marshall aimed to create a ‘strong building so you could actually see the building,’ but at what price does that strong aesthetic come? Should designers sacrifice design freedom in order to reach a larger public level of acceptance or, in so doing, do they risk alienating the masses with bold, polarising design choices?

Another keen example of an incredibly strong – and focused – design brief is that of China’s chongqing mountain + city sales office by interior design team One Plus partnership. Designed to represent the surrounding mountainous Nanshan district, the interiors of the office building mimic the shapes and elements of a rocky cave.

Wall architecture, the roof structure, furniture and flooring texture all come in angular triangular formations, the angularity of which are emphasised more by the marble and metal materials. LED lights fall from the roof like stalactites, completing the incredibly bold look.

Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney

Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney

While bold does not necessarily always mean better, the aforementioned designs certainly push boundaries and spark debate over design choices.

What is important is that the interior design sector not be stifled.  While bolder designs may not always reach the masses or even portray the true subtleties and nuances of design, they do not have to. Going bold for the sake of being gaudy is never going to please anyone, but delivering on an aesthetic that is unique and risky will generally gain the respect of those in this industry, even if the design is not to their taste.

By Jane Parkins
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