Our new designer and project manager, Rohde, is giving us the scoop about his favorite design style this week! Below you can read all about what Rock Star Chic design is and how to get the look.
People ask me all the time to describe my design style. And although it might be a technically accurate descriptor, I hate the word eclectic. Everyone is eclectic these days. It’s become de rigueur design practice to mix styles and looks from different periods into a single space (though few do it really well).
But I feel like I have a special affinity for what might be called the edge of design: Rock Star Chic. I was lucky enough to be plucked out of UCLA’s design program by the great Martyn Lawrence Bullard and thrown into a world of spectacular imagination and creativity where many of our clients were actual capital R Rock Stars. Where the sky was the limit in terms of innovative design. It was awesome.
But then at some point I ventured out into the real world of mortal men and women. With nothing but my wits to fight the twin evils of limited budgets and the unholy influence of that despot of design, Pottery Barn.
But I brought the philosophy of the Rock Star with me into battle.
This is perhaps not a true manifesto, but the following 6 elements are what I feel make a space Rock Star Chic:
1. Exaggerated Scale
Go big or go home. Nothing makes a room more dramatic than introducing an element that seems impossibly, unintuitively out of scale with the room. This can be art, a great piece of furniture, or an amazing found object.
2. Bold Color (Or No Color!)
I love color. Love it. But it can be one of the most challenging aspects of design. When I say bold color, I don’t mean that a room has to be awash in a sea of bold colors – just that it needs at least an injection of color somewhere…unless it has none at all. That can be just as bold of a statement.
3. Playful Materials
The use of unexpected materials, forms, or colors can add so much personality to a room. Like the hand chairs in this otherwise sophisticated living room below. Or the fur covered chairs in the dining room below that. Turn conventions on their head. Loosen up. Life’s too short to be so serious.
4. High Contrast
Whether it’s a contrast of styles, time periods, materials, or color – contrast is good. Contrast is the visual meat of any great art. Sometimes using pieces out of their natural, intended context can make them infinitely more interesting. Like the way this beautiful dining area becomes so much more alive with the addition of the modern light fixtures and Panton chairs in an otherwise traditional space.
5. Worldwide Influence
I love spaces that incorporate styles, art, and ideas from a myriad of peoples and locales. A lot of this goes back to the previous point about contrast, but this is a distinct point in itself I think. That’s not to say you want a room to feel like your local World Market, just that there should always be an element or two that is influenced by another culture.
6. An Element of the Profane
Profane meaning; to treat something sacred with abuse or irreverence. Here’s the trickiest and probably the most essential element of a true Rock Star space – something that gives a big middle finger to the world and says that you can do what you want to. That you like what you like and everyone else can just go take a flying leap. This could be anything – from a big bronze skull in your dining room (guilty) to a big milk glass collection in an otherwise modern kitchen or a graffiti covered Louis chair (guilty again). Even if you strip all the other elements away in the hotel room below, that cheeky painting keeps it firmly rooted in the realm of the Rock Star. (On a side note, please God let me find a client cool enough to let me paint something like BANG BANG in huge letters over their bed…)
Clearly, most of these elements are used in good design in general in some combination or another, so I don’t really think I’m reinventing the wheel here. This is just an attempt to illustrate an idea…
Rock Star Chic may not be for everyone, but it certainly doesn’t have to just be for Rock Stars.