Just got back from a retailer prospection trip to the East coast: Boston, New york and Washington.
It seems to me that New York's leading interior designers are out of sink with our times, it's as if they were hard nosed ideologues who are still trapped in past european fashion. Minimalism has indeed been society's answer in Europe to the economic boom of the nineties. Everything was in abundance by the end of the nineties starting with the money in circulation and the excesses in material possessions that came as a logical human reaction somehow fomented or how to say downgraded the value of those same possessions. This reaction materialized in a pure ideological conversion to the ideas and forms of the industrial societal model that was now perceived as the sumumn of rationality following the fall at the start of the nineties of the last ideological dream of equality.
But the princip of reality reemerged with a vengence. Started in spring of 2000, stock markets' fell around the world and by spring of 2001 the most sensitive spirits sensed a need for social warmth. They felt that skirts would have to shorten as a way of spicing social relations and natural materials + colors would have to warm up the interiors. By spring of 2002 those tendancies sprung up in London, Paris, Milan... By spring of 2003, minimalism appeared as retro as in the word retrograde. But by summer of 2003, New York designers were still entirely mired in this minimal bull, in this macdonaldization of interior design. It's as in an ideological dream where strait lines, white walls and pure color plastic injected objects make up the optimum one can dream about. Reality is that this is an industrial injected ideological dream. The industrial reality can't but be minimalist. Straight lines are cheaper to machine than curves, plastic injection is cheaper than the crafting of natural materials and hospital white appears less risky for marketeers than the colors of life. But this minimalist bull is just not like what life is all about. If humans were robots, the low costs involved in this kind of minimalism would be justified by the logic of capital that never stops to search for costs reductions but we are not robots that can be parked. How could we be satisfied by hospital white , how could we resist an environment of straight lines and cutting angles for more than a short moment? There is simply no resisting, we are humans. We need this diversity that comes with the princip of life. Diversity is our antidote to boredom and the multitude of colors of life combined with the character of natural materials is what renders diversity possible in our interiors.
So much for New York's design scene.