6. Design Styles - Regional

Regional styles belong to the restricted genre of architecture (see introduction). Regions may be defined by cultural borders such as the case with Islamic architecture but are more frequently defined geographically.

Sometimes these regional borders align neatly and conveniently with political borders, for example Japan. Other times they may describe a macro region like Scandinavia or a micro-region like Bali which are both beyond and within political borders respectively.

Adapting an authentic regional style to a different context will rarely produce successful results. This is because the localised climate, lifestyle and building techniques of that area have forged the style. If we change the location, often the context changes and the style no longer makes sense.

So the value of regional styles is in their ability to be hybrid with the contemporary or modern to create a fusion style. Introducing a regional flavour can add further depth and meaning to a design, create mood, represent the values of the household, reference the occupants cultural background, align with personal taste, or be an aide-mémoire of a travel experience or foreign attachment.

All regional styles are appropriate fusion candidates when pairing with the progressive genre, however some styles are naturally easier to apply than others. For example, the Japanese approach of humility and the use of honest, forthright materials shares a very similar philosophy with modernism.

The Scandinavian’s, famous for their contributions in the field of mid-century modern furniture, have an interior style that coordinates naturally with modernist architecture.

Regional styles less compatible with the progressive styles can still be fused successfully by allowing details and characteristics to inspire the concept.

The pavilion concept of Balinese design, where structures are separated and connected with walkways or halls can work very nicely with a contemporary concept. Islamic inspired design does not need to feature the highly detailed patterns and lattices that the style is famous for. Instead a very contemporary design could borrow the double-height spaces, voids, organic shapes and arched doors.

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