Interior design: poised between experimentation and identity
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Interior design: poised between experimentation and expressing identity

The process of creating customized spaces in harmony with our psychophysical needs

Iraci Architetti | Lombardini22 | LTL Architects | Bin Wu | Studio-a29 | m2atelier

Interior design: poised between experimentation and identity
By Editorial Staff -

Interior design concerns itself with the design of indoor spaces in both a literal and metaphorical sense, with the finishes, furnishings, and style chosen for a particular environment telling a story about the person, company, or institution it’s for. In a sense, these factors reflect the client’s take on reality and life. For this reason, every project is unique, as the designer’s creativity must find common ground with the client’s personality. As Frank Lloyd Wright said, “I never design a building before I’ve seen the site and met the people who will be using it.”

The designer’s job is therefore forever poised between artistic expression and problem solving, as they explore a host of different solutions and combine shapes and materials, color and light. An excellent example is the combined home and office of architects Marco Bonelli and Marijana Radovic at 29 Via Londonio, Milan. The two designers, cofounders of the m2atelier studio, have transformed a former cookware factory into their headquarters. This is a design where workplace and home have inseparably merged into one, perfectly reflecting the multidisciplinary approach, ongoing experimentation, and attention to detail typical of m2atelier’s work.

Read more about the project in an interview with the architects.


The search for spaces in tune with people’s needs

Lockdown has further underscored the importance of interior design, not only in terms of aesthetics but also as regards comfort and functionality. While the pandemic meant having to remodel public places, the functions of private spaces demanded a complete rethink. With so many people working remotely, leisure time and work became more fluid. And this fluidity needed to be reflected in more flexible spaces. Study and work, school and office, entered the home, bringing with them the need for well-organized, increasingly made-to-measure environments that promote concentration.

Creating a new harmony between humans, their actions, their experiences, and the architectural space is the goal of Tuned, an initiative put together by Lombardini22 that involves applying neuroscience to architecture. The underlying idea is to trigger feelings in users that are more closely aligned with our deepest expectations so as to create sustainable designs that cater to our psychophysical needs. These concepts can be seen at work in Wavespace, part of EY’s new headquarters in Rome, an innovation center comprising a sequence of seven rooms, each hosting a different activity intended to create different user experiences.

Learn more about the project in an interview with Davide Ruzzon of TUNED.


The Interior category of The Plan Award 2021

Professionals involved in interior design are eligible to enter the Interior category of The Plan Award. This annual award, open to both completed and future projects, was established to promote awareness, as well as the quality of the work, of designers, academics, and students in the fields of architecture, design, and urban planning, and to broaden the discussion of topical issues affecting the sector. The Plan Award 2021 is divided into different categories, for each of which the Jury will decide one winner and, if appropriate, honorable mentions. The registration deadline is May 31.

Read more about participating in The Plan Award 2021.

When designing an indoor space that promotes wellbeing, inspiration can come from many sources – from nature to the built environment, from studying different materials to investigating different compositional possibilities. These and other approaches can be seen in the following projects, all selected from the 2020 edition of The Plan Award.


Greentown Sales Center: a concert hall by the river

The Greentown Sales Center is located in the Hanyang district of Wuhan, central China. Designer Bin Wu set out to express traditional Chinese culture through a contemporary design that brings water and music to mind. Located near the Blue River, the center was inspired by the idea of a concert hall by the river. The interiors are distinguished by curving, organic shapes drawn from nature. This begins right from the entrance backdrop, finished with custom-made trapezoidal glass bricks, and continues up the spiral staircases to the chandelier in the center of the atrium, composed of copper pipes of different lengths, like an organ.

Read more about the project in English.


Donna Carmela: an interior with a strong relationship to the exterior

Located in Giarre, in Italy’s Catania province, the interior design of the Donna Carmela restaurant was the work of Iraci Architetti. Resembling a greenhouse and integrated perfectly into the surrounding garden, the design is notable for its strong relationship with the outdoor space. Glass walls and plants inside the restaurant create a perceptual continuity with the outdoors. Asparagus-colored lava stone flooring penetrates the space from outside via a gently sloping path, contrasting with an interwoven pattern of chestnut wood strips that’s repeated on the walls and ceiling. The use of these typical local materials, combined with complete permeability between indoors and out, reinforces the idea of an indoor space that’s in total symbiosis with nature.

Read more about the project in italian


Stripping back an existing space and the creation of Dolac 9

Studio-a29 designed its office in central Rijeka, Croatia, within a late-19th century building. The project’s aim was to reveal the geometric proportions of this historic building by stripping it back and creating a barrier-free environment. Two rotating partitions were used to create a workplace, a workshop, an exhibition center, as well as an event center. The partitions – which can serve as a wall, a door, a closet, or a decoration – consist of wood framing and brass, a timeless material that takes a starring role in this project. Industrial steel cladding at the beginning and end of the corridor adds a feeling of width to this long, narrow space, while the chevron-patterned oak parquetry is complemented by blue cabinetry and orchid-pink kitchen decor.

Read more about the project in English.


Poster House: New York’s first museum dedicated to poster art

Located between 23rd and 24th Streets in the Chelsea neighborhood, not far from Madison Square Park, Poster House is the first museum dedicated to poster art in New York City. Designed by LTL Architects, the project aims to be a vibrant public space, an extension of the urban setting represented by the posters themselves. The designers divided the existing space into two halves, the galleries and a public walkway, with the two separated by a long diagonal wall that connects two streets. Following this route, visitors pass through a series of interconnected spaces where the posters are displayed, some inside the galleries and some along the walkway itself. By connecting these two different environments, the project seeks to combine the old and the new, the rustic and the refined, in a multifaceted architectural experience that’s always coherent and unified.

Read more about the project in English.


If you’ve created an interior design project – built after January 1, 2018 or yet to be completed – you have until May 31 to register for the Interior category of The Plan Award 2021. Submit your project via the registration page.


All credits relating to photos refer to individual articles

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