Raw Goodness: The shift towards greater appreciation for honesty and authenticity in design
March 31, 2019
You know the old saying, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’- the backbone of a traditional approach to material selection, but one that is gaining popularity. The driving force behind this new resurgence towards the use of original materials is something that seems to be transcending just the aesthetics of design, and can be attributed to the overall worldly shift towards a more honest and organic lifestyle – it’s a celebration of all things real and raw.
Apollo, Tokyo - Design by George Livisiannis. Photo by Tom Ferguson.
I’m not just talking about the trendy new local café with stripped back concrete walls and exposed piping; that’s a style in its own right, let’s call it ‘faux industrial’. What I’m getting at are those special places which open the mind to a visual conversation and transcend above ‘good design’ - those rooms that leave you with an impression of the ‘soul’ of the space itself.
Identifying these places is something that many Australian designers have done so magnificently. Similarly to the UAE; it’s a relatively ‘new’ country where most buildings are barely over 100 years old, designers we are constantly searching for ways to revive and refresh our ‘relatively recent’ past without losing the integrity of the history; it’s a design lesson in breathing a new life into a space in such a way that enables it to become modern and significant for the now, pays homage to its past and ensures it’s life for the generations to come.
As a designer I feel it’s my duty to the world to respect and appreciate materials and craftsmanship of the past generations and wherever possible to incorporate them into my designs. There is a peace of mind that comes from salvaging an authentic element that goes on to form a fundamental piece of a particular space’s identity – imagine an English Victorian home with the original fireplace removed (blasphemy!).
There is just some peace of mind that comes from recycling an authentic element, or a fundamental piece of that particular space’s identity, yet it takes a good set of skills to pull this off seamlessly.
What makes a great designer in my eyes, is one who can mix the old in with the new and still maintain a sophistication, it’s a tricky set of skills to be able to pull this off seamlessly. Cue Aussie Interior Architect, George Livissianis.
I'm a huge fan of everything that Aussie Interior Architect George Livissianis has done, most of his spaces are on my top few hangouts every time I'm in Sydney. He is really respectful when it comes to material. The detail at The Apollo (pictures above ) is intricate, understated, raw, but at the same time so refined.
Restaurateur Maurice Terzini and his team have pulled off such another such task with The Dolphin Hotel in Sydney, making the 'restoration' process look not only incredibly cool - but fun.
George Livissianis and artist's Tracey Deep and Beni , jumped in and added ‘new layers’ to the iconic building’s history by “repurposing and transforming of its various spaces, with a modern perspective”.
An article by yellowtrace.com details the simple philosophy behind the project, authored by George Livissianis, as:
"a pop-up approach of re-use and re-adaptive design principles... If the elements have integrity they are preserved, if they can be stripped back to raw they are stripped and if they aren’t suitable, they’re wrapped in a Christo inspired installation process.”
The Dolphin Hotel is a perfect example of this fine-tuned balance between old and new - and any injection of art, especially when its local, is a bonus check those Keith Haring-esque patterns, and the sculptures in the dining room. This place rocks!