When I think of Japanese design, I think sleek, modern lines. Soft woods, plants galore. Beams of sunlight drifting through open windows, across pine floors with straw mats and low tables. Floor pillows and steaming cups of tea. Lanterns and water features. Peace and tranquility. There’s something inspiring about Japan’s tendency towards serenity — especially in this modern age, when we lead such busy lives. So, I present this issue of Movement’s as a sort of rebellion. A call to reserve our homes for rest and rejuvenation. And with the right touch, any room can be transformed into a zen oasis.
On the shores of Northern Europe, tucked among fjords and immense blue skies where reindeer roam and coffee is virtually inhaled, lie a handful of Kingdoms and countries known as Scandinavia.
Scandinavian design, one of the most recognizable and resilient styles, stems from the political environment of a post-war Europe — when the Nordic Countries adopted Social Democracy and in doing so set the stage for lifestyles founded on functionality, comfort, availability and practicality. This philosophy merged with the Modernist aesthetic to form this effortless and lovely style.
Clean and sophisticated, there’s just so much to love about this minimalistic approach and it just so happens to be quite easy to adopt — especially for those of you who embraced the industrial or the “boho” look. Still, it’s organic, down to earth, functional and cozy. You could even say there’s something bucolic or farmhouse to the aesthetic.
So mix yourself a Swedish 60 (see recipe below) and check out some of the classiest damn “farmhouses” you’ve ever seen.
The Elements of Norwegian Design
- Functionality: First and foremost this is an approach to living within a practical environment. Simplicity and comfort are paramount.
- Organic Colors: Think light woods, blacks, browns, grays with a splash of color thrown in.
- Bold Colors: This can be a bit tricky. While the movement absolutely requires a more monochromatic, white-on-white-on-white look, there is something to be said for laying out a vivid Beni Ouarain rug or hanging some brilliantly colored tapestry.
- Natural Light: Now, this doesn’t mean demolishing an existing wall to achieve house-wide windows, it could be as simple as undressed windows and white walls.
- Textural Materials: Again with the woods, wools, natural fibers, glass.
- A Minimilists Sophistication: Clean lines, angles, open spaces. A less is more approach. This is a style that will allow you to dispose of that which you don’t truly love.
The Swedish 60
1½ ounces aquavit
½ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon simple syrup
3 ounces sparkling wine
Lime peel twist, for garnish
Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add the aquavit, lime juice and simple syrup. Shake well, then strain into a champagne flute.
Top with sparkling wine. Garnish with the twist of lime peel.
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Beyond the Mambo, guitar strumming streets of Communism, Cuba hides one of the richest fields of design and interior inspiration. Earth tones merge naturally into bright pastels and woods and metals collide in a look that can only be called organic industrial.
Design elements throughout Cuba infuse native island culture, African sentiments and Spanish colonialism. All this and with a twist of Art Deco. What may appear gaudy on the surface, is far deeper and more charming in its depths and we’ve just begin to plunge into this extraordinary sea. We eagerly await for Cuban/American relations to soothe as more and more of the tiny Caribbean island comes into the spotlight
So pour yourself a Cuba Libre (recipe below) let the tunes flow* and dive into the world of Cuban design.