Whilst you can’t beat a good piece of design, you simply can’t ignore a bad one. Good design matters – and it matters in your living space in particular. Nobody wants to spend their downtime with the visual equivalent of a pebble in their shoe.
This simple logic applies to just about everything you’ll ever buy or use.
Often when you see it for the first time – as you walk through a room, or you catch a glimpse of it mid-conversation – a good design won’t leap out at you. It’s only once you start to bring it into focus that the elegance of a well-judged curve or a satisfying balance of proportion will strike you. In contrast, as the saying goes, ‘one instinctively knows when something is wrong’. It is in our evolutionary nature to accentuate the negative and that is why design is so important. The creation of beauty may be the ideal, but the delivery of ugliness is unforgivable.
And of course, that logic extends beyond the design of an individual piece. It applies equally to the composite of elements that go together to realise a satisfyingly unified whole.
These reflections came to mind recently as I pondered replacing my front door. A neighbour had done something similar recently and – not to be too unkind about it – they’d not chosen well. A Victorian terrace is not the place for a streamlined, supposedly chic modern aesthetic. It just looked wrong. Bay windows, wisteria and modernist angularity do not a happy marriage make.
By comparison I was heartened to see the breadth of options available online at . Delighted as I was to see that their impressive range extended to my neighbour’s 21st century aesthetic, I was even more content to find a more restrained, conservative set of products that were in line with my own unpretentious requirements. As my search continued, I also stumbled across distinctivedoors.co.uk who specialise in ‘elegant entrances’ but in a range of classic styles and materials.
Not that ‘restrained’ need necessarily speak to uniformity or anonymity. And this is where the design aesthetic touched a nerve. I had not initially considered anything other than a functionally monochromatic slab of colour with a modest pair of vertical half-height glazed panels – nothing fancy. But, of course, there are any number of variations on the theme of a 33 by 78 inch rectangle.
I avoided the vaguely masonic ‘statement’ range and was happy to be seduced by the allure of varnished oak with those two vertical panes of glass topped by a third light-accentuating horizontal across the top panel. Modestly angular, the design is contemporary without shouting about it, and the presentation of varnished wood works in harmony with the time-served quality of the rest of the building.
And that extra pane of glass made me smile. After all, didn’t Joe Soprano insist that whilst good design is obvious great design is transparent?
Of course, Soprano was speaking philosophically; he was talking about the transparency of design intent. But I like the way my new door quietly suggests from afar that my home is a unified, balanced place where functional and aesthetic considerations are happily married. In that way, I get a kick every time I head up the garden path – You can’t beat a good design.