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Interior design storytelling, image showing the interior of a posh resturants design

Storytelling in Interior Design

We are physical beings. We walk inside and outside of a building, composing a personal narrative about our relationship with the building, its interior design and its decoration. This relation can be a natural result of the architecture of a building and how its occupants use it, or it can be a creation made by an interior design trying to accomplish certain emotions, trying to tell a specific story by making the users of a place walk in certain directions and pay attention to specific items.

The strategy that focus in telling a story using design is called storytelling. Storytelling is the art to tell a good story. This strategy can be used in home design, to tell the story of the family that lives in there; in the interior design of stores, to attract clients focusing on the experience of being in the store, instead of focusing in the products; and even in the design of objects, like those we see in the ceramics based on the aesthetics of Japanese Wabi Sabi, that try to tell the story of its production process and the effect of the time in its surface. The basic components of any storytelling are context, plot and structure. All these three components are fused together in the individual and subjective experience of the place.

interiors foundation

Context

Context is the background that an interior designer will use as the foundation to build the other three components. In the case of an interior design, background is what is already built, something that the designer necessarily must work with, even if it’s only to take part of it of the final design. Usually this is what is already there, in the real space, that we are working. However, furniture and other objects that are not already in the building, but are something that a client desires to have, can also be considered part of the background of a project.

Image showing a stairway and lights which help plot the path to upstairs

Plot

Plot is the sequence of events that the users of a place will experience. This defines the paths that these users can follow, what are the spatial focus points of a design and what will be experienced in these points. By defining the plot, you are also defining what are the most important parts of a place, in relation with the idea of telling a story, what are the routes that will be used to access these focal points and what are the most important visuals to see these points from distance.

Having defined what are the focal points and the paths, we also must define what are the main story that that we want to communicate. The main story of a house can be the story of its inhabitants or maybe the hobbies that someone in the family likes. The main story of a public space can be the story of the city, the country or of some hero/public figure. And the main story of a store can be some brand that is important to the store, a new collection of products or objects that are related to popular culture.

Is based on the main story that we can decide what object will be placed on the areas that we defined as focal points. These objects are partially responsible for the experience of storytelling. Is these things, in conjunction with the walls and floor, that will actually communicate with the users of a certain space what is the story about.

interior fixtures

Structure

Knowing the background of a building and having defined the plot of the story, the next step is to define the structure that we’ll use to tell the story that we want to tell. The structure of interior design storytelling is how you organize this story, facilitating the user to know what you want to tell them and giving cues to where they should be focusing to know more about the story.

However, while a consistent story is a good thing, too much uniformity can cause boredom. To avoid it, the interior designer can use rhythm, contrast and suspense to create a more interesting way to communicate. Directing the experience of the story to a more dynamic and artistic way

This is the point where we start to think on design solutions to avoid boredom and to reinforce the paths and focal points decided by the plot. We can use fixture design to create a contrast between the focal points and the rest od the space, create a rhythm that differentiates the areas that are just for passage from the ones that will be used to tell the story, etc. The design solutions are infinite and can only by thought by an interior designer together with its clients.

Main Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash
THE PALMER HOUSE

4 Frank Lloyd Wright villas for rent

Have you ever dreamt about sleeping in one of the many villas designed by the iconic architect? Here is our selection of the most beautiful homes you can book for your next architectural travel experience.

CORNWALL HOUSE

Cornwall House in Kohala, Hawaii

Originally designed for the Cornwell family in Pennsylvania in 1954, this house embodies the main principles of Frank Lloyd Wright’s organic architecture. With its structure perched on Waiaka Creek in the heart of the archipelago’s “big island” Hawaii, offering both an ocean and volcano view. The house was abandoned for several years for unknown reasons, the project resurfaced in 1984 thanks to Reginald Sanderson Sims, an advertiser from Honolulu, on the island of Oahu, who was passionate about the work of the famous architect.

Completed in 1995, the house alone synthesizes all the codes that made the architect’s success: a curved structure, large bay windows, wooden ceilings and a Cherokee red concrete floor and furniture designed by Frank Lloyd Wright himself. With three bedrooms and three bathrooms, it has one hectare of land to fully enjoy the surrounding nature.

From $800/night; urbo.com

 

ELAM HOUSE

Elam House in Austin, Minnesota

With more than 100 windows, Elam House is the second largest Usonian house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Designed on a triangular base, this 1950s house is one of the architect’s most emblematic models with its sloping roof, cantilevered balcony and large limestone pillars.

Although he only used photos of the land to design this project, having never set foot on it, he took particular care in building it, two years having been necessary to transport and sculpt the stone that makes up a large part of the residence. Inside, the walls and ceilings in stone and white cypress recall the architect’s preference for natural materials.

From $260/night; urbo.com

 

THE PALMER HOUSE

The Palmer House in the forest of Ann Arbor, Michigan

This angular house built on the model of an equilateral triangle illustrates the genius of Frank Lloyd Wright. It has almost no right angles. Some of the furniture like the beds designed by the architect, even has an astonishing hexagonal shape. The brick structure blends perfectly into the two hectares of forest that surround it and here again the windows blur the boundary between the inside and the outside of the house.

Another particularity: the land has a “tea house” accessible from the garden, built after Wright’s death in 1959 by one of his proteges, John H. Howe, at the request of the Palmer family, who owned the house from 1950 to 2009.

$388/night; homeaway.com

 

Woodside House in Marion, Indiana.

Located a stone’s throw from Matter Park, Indiana, Woodside House was built in 1952 by Frank Lloyd Wright after he met Dr. Richard Davis at a Minnesota clinic when he was undergoing surgery. The two men sympathized and the architect immediately suggested imagining a family home for the couple hoping to have four children.

The residence, designed by Wright from a distance based on photos of the grounds, will have five bedrooms and four bathrooms. In harmony with the natural environment so dear to the architect, it combines the influences of Lake Tahoe cottages and Amerindian Sioux tipis.

From $400/night; homeaway.com

Scofidio and Diller Win Royal Academy Prize for Architecture

The Royal Academy has honoured American couple, Ricardo Scofidio and Liz Diller—architects who are responsible for the design of the proposed concert hall for the London Centre for Music, with the Royal Academy Architecture award 2019.

The Royal Academy Architecture prize, which is just in its second year, is targeted towards recognizing architects whose projects contribute to culture with huge effects on the public. Japanese architect, Itsuko Hasegawa is the only other recipient of this award.

The husband and wife team who are perhaps more popularly known for designing the 1.5 mile-long High Line in New York were recognized for their enduring contribution to architecture and the Royal Academy judges have described their partnership as ‘innovative’. The panel which was chaired by Alan Stanton (co-founder Stanton Williams) and made of top players in the field of architecture like Ricky Burdett (LSE Cities director), Louisa Hutton (co-founder Sauerbruch Hutton) among others, made the decision unanimously.

The Jury Chair, Alan Staton has praised the duo for not settling for the normal, choosing instead to reinvent the basic principles of architecture. He also explained that Scofidio and Diller’s current cultural projects have been affected positively by the choice to stand out from the crowd and this has made even the most reputable of architects envious of their projects.

Liz Diller, in response to Royal Academy’s recognition award, said it causes a reminiscing on their earlier projects. Even though they are famous for the High Line in New York and the Broad Museum in Los Angeles, she said their earlier works were experimental. Though 1981 marked the year they began working together (when they founded Diller Scofidio + Renfro in New York), Liz revealed that it took determination for their (largely) experimental ideas to begin to push the boundaries of architecture, becoming the innovative concepts they were now being recognized for.

The Royal Academy Architecture prize 2019 is not the only recognition award the couple has received recently—especially Diller who was on Time magazine’s list of top 100 most influential people for 2018. She also won the 2019 Jane Drew Prize, making her the more popular figure of the duo.

The Centre for Music’s new concert hall and MoMA’s major expansion are projects they are currently working on at the moment. The architects will have the opportunity to speak about the projects at the upcoming Royal Academy Dorfman Award that is expected to come up in May. The Dorfman award is a different award that is used to honour architectural prospects.

Mr Stanton has revealed this year’s shortlist of the Dorfman Award will give recognition to young architects all around the world whose impacts are felt through their work in the face of daunting political and societal odds.

This year, the jury has already identified the finalist which include the following names:

• Mariam Kamara (Atelier Masomi) from Niger
• Boonserm Premthada (Bangkok Project Studio) from Thailand
• Cian Deegan and Alice Casey (Taka) from Ireland
• Fernanda Canales from Mexico

The winner of this award will win the £10,000 attached to this award.