For a long time now, we have been taking influences from Asia and the Far East on a variety of things. Both our mental health and our physical health have been influenced and now, more than ever, we are looking to Chinese art, both contemporary and ancient, for interior design inspiration.
With such a varied landscape and history, China and its art holds a special, luxurious sway with how we want our homes to be. The last several decades have revealed to us a new approach to home decoration and planning, the prestige of which has slowly filtered through to impact some of the most iconic households that are being designed today.
In the West we have blown through many different artistic movements but the intricacy and beauty of Chinese art has begun to flavour our interior design decisions. Whether it’s the complexity of murals and painted decoration, or the ornate sculpting of fixtures, things such as light fittings, chairs, and even beds, have been influenced.
The defining pallet for modern Chinese art is the contrast between neutral tones and the sharpness of dark brown or black. The lines tend to be keenly defined and the vast swathes of creams, greys and sometimes, reds, make the darker tones stand out for a fine finish.
Red, although used sparingly in homes, often represents good luck and is used around New Year celebrations. This is something which is clearly no longer lost in translation as we attempt to bring luck and prosperity to our own homes.
Having a long history with wooden materials, it’s not hard to see why the dark tones and the bamboo effect have been carried over into European homes. A prominent feature once again, sharp lines create right angles and parallels whether it’s a sofa in the living room or storage space in a bathroom.
Symbols and characters
The beauty and symbolism in Chinese characters has long been a fascination for western culture, simply because it holds such a beautiful alternative to our own over-familiar typeface. Often painted in black, Chinese characters can be used as decorative wall art or as bold decoration for light shades or on furniture. Calligraphy can often be as intoxicating as the art itself, with a free flowing style which we are wholly unused to.
Clearly there is something which Europe and the West has found in Chinese art and interior design. The minimalist atmosphere projects a feeling of peace, inner and outer, as well as the calming flow of a home with such exotic furnishing and colour schemes.
We all know how much of an impact neutral tones can have to the feel of a room and our love of Chinese art has only served to bolster this. But rather than simply create a blank canvas for others to use, the Chinese influence promotes opportunities to choose statement pieces such as wall decoration or antique, rustic furniture.
The more subtle the influence we take from Chinese art, the better our interior design becomes. Rather than filling our homes in an awkward attempt to heap praise on Asian art, we have found the right balance to make a simple piece of homage bring out the most in our rooms.