Thursday, November 5, 2009

Rough Luxe and New Directions

"Rough Luxe" is an oxymoron that I have been running into quite frequently and I've been reflecting on this nascent movement (trying to determine what it is and isn't.) The WJS Magazine defines it, when referring to those in their 20's, as "a rejection of the minimalism that dominated the world they grew up in...Rough Luxe sounds the death knell for perfectionism" WSJ.

I quite like the term myself and believe that Rough Luxe describes a design aesthetic I have embraced for a while in my home and my shop. Take the photograph above, it is of our showroom's entrance. The floor is marble but not polished... rough yet a luxury. The painting is unframed, giving an arguably luxurious item a toned-down, un-stuffy feel. The sideboard has great history, yet its straight lines and contrasting colors give it a modern and timeless feel - a few accessories on it, but not cluttered. Vintage yet modern: Rough Luxe.

It's a bit of a surprise that I could embrace any movement with the term luxury in it. During the condo-building boom of the past few years (at least here in Miami), the term "luxury" was so overused to describe just about anything that it quickly became a joke between my husband and me. We would drive by huge billboards with scantily clad women draped over them, martini in hand, advertising the latest "luxury" project. The term became so diluted that it is now in the process of being redefined by pairing it with other concepts.

Rough luxe is now the name of a new boutique hotel in London which states this on their home page:

This is Rough Luxe
. Half rough, half luxury. A little bit of luxury in a rough part of London. A little bit of rough in a luxurious London. ..Guests at a Rough Luxe hotel might share a bathroom or have a small room or a small shower cubicle, but the luxury is in the choice of the wine, the bed linen, the art on the walls and the people looking after you. Our look is a mix of old and new, furniture and art; combining colours and beautiful fabrics with cheap materials and existing distressed original walls. Cheap materials are treated as precious items and preserved for their beauty and memory of the site.

Reception Hall at Rough Luxe Hotel

Furthermore, they define the Rough Luxe philosophy as a new way of looking at luxury as part of time and not just as an object of consumption... An enriching personal experience... A time for reflection, the intellectual value of objects ... of social and cultural experiences linked to, lifestyle objects and events.

I must admit that in the past few years I have struggled a bit to appreciate both the minimalism and perfectionism of the trends in the design world. And I think I'm not the only one. Let's face it, much of that style is not all together comfortable or practical and it doesn't allow for a lot of variation and creativity in design. As a long time lover of all things old, the story and journey of a piece has always been a priority in creating an atmosphere that is meaningful. Meaningful in the experience it allows the people who live around it or visit to enjoy. Nothing with a history is ever in "perfect" condition and yes, it is desirable that way. Personally, I'm ecstatic and hopeful that the tide is turning. This does not mean that all 20th century design should be abandoned, I'm certainly not advocating that. Let's just be less strict and more adventurous in the settings we live in. Hopefully everyday can be a little more interesting.


Anonymous said...

Great post, Olga. Love following your blog.
Barbara in IN

red ticking said...

what a brilliant post. i have heard the term used so many times but never "defined" i think the london hotel looks charming... love your blog... i think we are alot alike... and you in miami... me in seattle... so funny... have a great week.. x pam

vicki archer said...

I am liking the idea of rough luxe Olga...great term, xv.

profe said...

I like this rough luxe. Pls. send me the citation for WSJ.

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