How to bring Chinese inspiration into your home
Chinese design for centuries has taken its cue from nature. Flowers, birds, animals, trees, water, mountains, all come to mind when thinking of Chinese imagery as the natural world has inspired artists, sculptures, architects, illustrators and creative designers since time began.
Bring the outdoors into your home with beautiful images on the wall that uplift both you and your environment. Frame those photographs of great holiday locations to remind you of fantastic times with friends and relive the special moments each day. A simple bunch of flowers or an extravagant bouquet will provide a feel-good factor or choose a lively houseplant for a more durable display. Artificial greenery is a serious option; no living plant to feed, water, nurture or concern yourself with the ideal location in or out of sunlight and draughts. Consider a green wall, which can be installed both inside or out for stunning dramatic effect – an ideal design solution to add certain wow factor.
Panelled walls are frequently found in Chinese decoration but remove those Westernised interpretations of dark oak panelled Tudor rooms from your mind, lighten up and view how the Far Eastern version is far more delicate and brings about an elegant feel with a delicate touch. Slimmer dimensions of wooden batons placed in structured lightweight open patterns on walls evoke a sense of the Orient. The Chinese interior exemplifies to perfection the notion that clean lines create a serene atmosphere instilling a space with peace and harmony. This trend has been seen in recent years by the widespread practice of replacing a run of solid cupboard or cabinet doors with glass panelled doors. It is very effective for wardrobe doors in bedrooms; there is a need to hide away from view the contents on the rails but opaque glass, whether neutral or coloured, offers a relaxed, more informal approach.
Undoubtedly red is the colour that is associated with the Chinese; it represents happiness, success, fortune and prosperity as well as beauty and vitality. Use it wherever you want to add that extra upbeat tonal accessory or for the confident go for a feature wall painted in ‘full on’ red. There are many who find it rejuvenating, energetic and invigorating and others who deem it stressful and intimidating to live with. Conventionally calmer colours are used in bedrooms to soothe you and enhance sleep, but convention is not everybody’s best friend.
Feel comfortable mixing old and new, classic with contemporary. A culture and society bringing the future to the here and now does so based on the confidence derived from knowledge and experience of millennia. Sumptuous silk, soft and sleek works exquisitely with rich lacquered wood. Dramatic colour combinations hold up particularly well when different textures are included in the mix. Smooth gloss wood, shimmering displays of gleaming metallic, expanses of crystal, creative use of glass, sophisticated thoughtful lighting set off against a mirrored wall; these are not the characteristics of the faint hearted. Check out luxury hotel interiors in China and while the colour palette may have shifted to a more understated tonal range the overall vision is one of grandeur and glamour.
This sophisticated styling emanates from a tenet integral to Chinese design. Simple design and clear uncluttered space does not necessarily mean unadventurous; less can be more Materials that are given space to speak for themselves, especially when used in unexpected ways, add innovative and exciting elements to an interior space. There is no doubt that modern China is well placed to show us what is possible and also what is available in terms of design opportunities. It is interesting, too, that those visions emerging from places and people in a region of the world where culture, language and society is different on many levels, are ideas which we too can appreciate, enjoy and marvel at. Essentially, inspired creativity and good design is a global language with which we can communicate our vision whoever and wherever we are.
Featured images; Huang Ting & The Peninsula Spa Tea Lounge at The Peninsula Beijing. (Photos; The Peninsula Beijing) The Cielo Chandelier, Lewes Occasional Chair and the Fenwick Bookcase from the Bonham & Bonham Lifestyle collection. Bonham & Bonham ‘Botanical’ Green Wall.