Durham, UK, is a city better know for its historical architecture. However, the historical buildings of the city also house a rich interior that inspires the interior designers in Durham and can be inspiring for designers from all over the world.
One of the styles that thrived the most on Durham was the Romanesque or Norman style, a style that is inspired by details of the Roman Empire architecture and the architecture of the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantine architecture, aside from its structural characteristics, is famous for the use of color and stained glass in the interior design.
Because of that, the interior of the buildings made in the Romanesque style was covered with brightly colored sculptures, carvings, and paintings.
Durham Cathedral is one of the preserved buildings made in this style. The cathedral is famous for being one of the oldest buildings in the UK that still preserve its original style and it’s also famous for being one of the film locations for the Hogwarts school in the first Harry Potter movie back in 2001, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Its construction began in 1093 and it was made to house the shrine of St. Cuthbert. The interior of the church has colorful paintings made in a medieval style and also colorful arts made of stained glass. Some of its stained glass date back to the 14th century. The color from these art contrast with the color of the architectural elements of the building, creating a rich interior inside the church. The glass is also responsible for a contrast of light and dark inside of the building.
Aside from the main building, the Durham Cathedral also has attachments made on other periods, like the Chapel of the Nine Altars, designed by Richard of Farnham and built on 1242-1290. This area was made following the Gothic style, one of the strongest architectural style in England’s history, a style that maintains the use of stained glass and the contrast of light and dark inside the building that we saw on the previous style.
The gothic style in interior design is often misunderstood for a spooky colorless space, somewhat near a Hallowing party decoration. However, this style is really defined by the use of light and ornate decoration to create a space with strong presence, like the Notre-Dame de Paris or, in its revival reappearance (neo gothic style), the Palace of Westminster.
However, not only historical interior design thrives in the city. Howarth Litchfield Architects is an Architecture and Interior Design company located in Belmont Business Park, Durham, and responsible for the Project of TunedIn! @myplace located on Redcar, North Yorkshire, UK. TunedIn is a center made to provide facilities for 16 students between 13-19 years old. This building includes rooms for music and film making, large performance area, arts crafts, IT resource base and a cafe bar on the ground floor.
As we saw in the Durham cathedral, the interior designers of HL used colour and a contrast between light and dark to create a richer interior design. In this case, these elements contribute to creating a better learning and performance area. Aside from the colour and use of light, the designers also used a mix of form and texture, especially on the furniture and signage, to provide a relaxed space that overflows with youth.
Another Interior Designer from Durham, UK, that has interesting projects is Catherine A Muir. One of her most important Interior Design projects is the cafe for Re-F-Use, or Refuse, supported by The Real Junk Food Project, a network of cafes and organizations that aims to educate people on the amount of food that is wasted. The Re-F-use was a project that Catherine did as a volunteer to help the owners to fulfill their aim. According to the Designer, her focus was on creating a warm and friendly place. She managed to do this using wood furniture, brick, and tones of yellow. This creates an interior rich of different textures and colours that make us feel welcomed in the cafe.