‘Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful,’ said the famous textile designer, poet and social activist, William Morris. Tastes have changed since the 1800s but does his most famous of quotes still hold true?
Form and Function, the long-standing tenets of truly great design holds more true in 2022 than ever, Suzanne Martin finds. So what does good design mean to two local interior businesses?
A well designed space and interior can create an inner peace and belonging that can be hard to recreate without the services of a good designer. But just how affordable is this? Well, very, I discovered on a recent visit to BoConcept’s shiny new store on the City Centre’s Ingram Street.
I met with BoConcept interior designer Aaron Hunter for the grand tour of the new design space – and it is a huge ‘wow’. Spanning two floors dedicated to interiors, various room sets showcase the BoConcept Danish Design look.
And the first difference in the BoConcept Scotland stores is the absence of salespeople. Every member of staff is an interior designer, or other design professional. If Aaron is asked a question regarding the durability of a certain material he refers to his textile design colleague, who can answer how each textile is created and its suitability for upholstery or window hangings. This service extends from individual purchases to whole room designs and to advice on paint colours in an ongoing project – the team are happy to advise. Whatever the customer wants from the purchase of a single lamp, to a whole house design, BoConcept are delighted to help.
So what are Aaron’s thoughts on function versus beauty?
Well, Aaron finds that has evolved over recent years. Beauty was all, until the pandemic, with function coming much further down the wish list. Now however, functionality has well and truly caught up – another legacy of our strange times and a consequence of so much time spend indoors. Our spaces must work for us in a way they didn’t need to before – especially with so may multi-use spaces appearing in our homes.
Aaron sits on a swivel dining-room chair to demonstrate. Before the pandemic clients would have bought their dining chairs because, well, they look beautiful: all minimalist clean lines and natural materials. Now, much more thought is put in to how the chair will be used in the space. How much space is there behind the chair to pull it out? Will it hit the wall? A swivel stool works better in tighter spaces and is more ergonomic for use as a work chair during the day as you reach for the laptop and yet another zoom meeting.
With numerous commercial buildings and student flats across the UK another string to the BoConcept bow, the knowledge gleaned from these highly functioning spaces feeds through to the residential arm and how the design team conceive spaces and their possibilities as homes and work spaces – advice that is happily given.
West End based designer, Licia Di Pasquale, recently finished a complete ground floor refurbishment of a home in Bearsden. Based at Bauen Design on Hyndland Road, Licia is delighted with the finished project, as are her extremely happy clients.
The clients are a retired couple who’d lived in the property for eight years which had an existing extension with the rather dark kitchen space jammed into a corner.
Huge on entertaining family and friends the couple wanted a more integrated space to cook and socialise in but had thought the kitchen too narrow for an island and just couldn’t visualise how to make the space work. They also had no dedicated dining space. The wish-list was long but Licia and her team love a challenge.
Licia has transformed the space into one coherent whole from three unconnected spaces. By building the kitchen island out overlooking the main lounge area from its raised height, the kitchen and main socialising space now connect and conversation can flow.
To increase circulation space round the island Licia fitted shallow units on the back wall. And since this is the wall visitors sitting in the lounge now see, decided to turn this wall into a feature using accent shelving and feature lighting and by cladding the whole wall in the Dekton stone also used on the island. This had cost implications, however once the clients saw Licia’s vision in 3D graphics they fell in love with it.
A previously unused L-shaped corridor is now the dining space with the addition of banquet seating rather than freestanding furniture – creating room the client had thought too tight for the large dining table she needed. The built in drinks bar has now completely transformed the space. The clients now sit here for hours, either entertaining, or simply having dinner and enjoying the lovely view they now have out to the garden.
The main colour used here is matt sand grey, the perfect colour as it adds much needed warmth and depth to the space. It is also a great base colour to accent with the bronze handles and bronze mirror, the newly sanded oak floor and the bench seating in teal velvet and Inchyra Blue and Purbeck stone paintwork.
The old extension has been transformed into a functioning space that works for the clients and their sociable lifestyle – and it looks amazing.
Useful and beautiful. BoConcept and Bauen Design are two local design stores who marry the two concepts into one, nurturing our interior spaces and enhancing our wellbeing.