Chinese design retains traditional elements in such a unique way that it really can’t be mistaken for anything else. While many of the most famous elements of Chinese aesthetic are similar to its Eastern neighbours, most notably Singapore and Nepal, it was China that gave designers Feng Shui, so a huge design debt is owed to the Chinese approach to interiors. Chinese design is heavily influenced by Chinese philosophy and Chinese history; few design decisions have purely aesthetic reasons for being. From the colour use: red, gold and jade; to shapes and arrangements that focus on balance; nothing in Chinese design is ever really down to chance.
Like in China, traditional design elements remain at the forefront of Japanese design. But there’s probably no rival when it comes to incorporating these traditional elements into a modern approach with architecture and interiors. Japan’s modernism is one crafted around lightness and space. Where the modern materials of a Western city focus on heavy concrete and iron, Japan has used steel, glass and wood to retain an exquisite naturalness and grace in its design. Clutter-free, modern living designs should take Japanese design as an example.
Arabian design is an extremely popular theme for interiors at the moment, with a thousand year old history that grew straight out of the desert. Moroccan design is an inspiration because, even today, the ancient elements remain as they ever were. The traditional materials, methods and styles have survived and are still ubiquitous both in the streets of Marrakech and echoed through imitations around the world. Intricate pattern work, rustic wood and a full palette of natural colour give Moroccan design a beautiful and distinct character that is instantly recognizable and instantly appealing.
Italian design is far from specific. From the iconic art of the Renaissance to the modern streets of Milan there is no single feature that makes Italian design as distinctive as it is. However, ignoring the contributions of Italy to the world of design would be a massive faux-pas. If you try to think of any notable fashion house of the present day, the chances are it’s going to be Italian: Gucci, Prada, Versace and Armani are practically household names. In simple terms, Italy is the trendsetter. The go-to nation for style tips and the godmother of cool. Any self-acclaimed interior designer needs to know of Gio Ponti if they are to have any plausible opinion on furniture design. It’s as simple as that.
A Scandinavian country will inevitably appear on any list of countries for influential design, mainly because of the culture of eloquent and efficient modernity that has almost become a cliché for that part of the world. The most likely candidate would probably be Sweden; the country that gave the world Ikea. But we’ve gone for Norway as our design pick for the very reason that its design reputation is not tainted by the showroom consumerism that is associated with Sweden’s Ikea. The history of Norwegian design is cut from timber and ice, with the same light, white-wash modernity of Sweden but an additional rural simplicity. Learning from the fresh, clean feel of a Norwegian cottage is the perfect way to give your designs a completely natural look. The simple, solid materials are complemented effortlessly by the soft, natural furnishings. The touch of arctic frost is what gives Norwegian design the opportunity for the cosy contrast; cold on the outside, snug on the inside