Over the past couple of years, many designers have voiced their commitment to ethical and ecological sourcing, resorting to frugal designs through local materials, traditional techniques, and equitable architecture. Having this approach in mind, many found inspiration in their cultural heritage, reimagining ancient designs in contemporary contexts.
When thinking of recycled design trends, we can't overlook one of the most well-known and popular materials that was shared by nations all around the globe over the span of 100 years; on balconies, outdoor patios, gardens, and indoor living spaces: rattan. It is estimated that almost seven hundred million people worldwide use rattan, with many countries presenting it as an integral part of their cultures. In this article, we look at how architects and designers integrated rattan in their designs and found numerous ways to make the best out of Southeast Asia's popular local material.
Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh used the impasto technique extensively in their paintings. Both applied thick layers of oil paint over the canvas, usually one shade at a time, and it was up to the viewer's brain to mix the colors and create the desired effects. When dry, the paint forms reliefs and textures on the canvas, evoking a sense of movement. Even without being able to touch the screen, the texture of the brushstrokes gives a three-dimensionality to the painting, something that can only be fully observed by seeing the artwork live, looking at it from more than one angle and actually experiencing it.
In his famous book “The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses,” Juhani Pallasmaa points to "a predilection in favor of vision and in detriment of the other senses in the way architecture was conceived, taught and criticized, as well as the consequent disappearance of sensory and sensual characteristics in arts and architecture." According to the author, "an architectural work is not experienced as a series of isolated retinal images, but in its fully integrated material, corporeal, and spiritual essence."
"And a window that looks out on Corcovado. Oh, how lovely." Tom Jobim's lyrics, immortalized by João Gilberto and Astrud Gilberto's voices and a soft guitar, was one of the early songs that introduced the world to the idea of a paradisaical Rio de Janeiro and a promising Brazil, with an increasingly urban population and a modern capital being built from nothing. Almost 60 years later, Paulo Mendes da Rocha casually quotes this song in an interview and points out that for him, in this scene, the most important element is the window, not Corcovado or Christ the Redeemer. That's because it frames the view and directs our eyes to what matters. It is a phrase that goes almost unnoticed, but that carries enormous poetic and artistic significance to the craft of architecture.