Project Tag: france
Experience is the end goal to interior design. What makes In Situ and Partners in such high demand not only in the field of retail but F&B (food and beverages) is Yacine Bensalem’s (the founding partner of the company) multidisciplinary training, having first trained as an architect and then an interior designer. Only half a century ago, these two disciplines were one entity, both enclosed within another. But in May 1968, the French protests for emancipation, freedom and equality of rights took place. The driving force behind this lay in the frustrations from French University students. Amongst them were a group of architecture students at the famed École des Beaux-Arts that recognized that the architecture of the time reflected oppression and despotism. One of the outcomes from the revolt was to extract architecture as a standalone discipline from the school, which was considered a noble art, a domain which focused on building for human beings and society.
Today the separation in disciplines is not as politically imminent and the two have reconciled as complements. Although they are interlaced, architecture and interior design still have different elements. Yacine explains, “In architecture you look at the overall picture, you work at a much larger scale. There is still a sensitive part to it but it’s not as pronounced as interiors. I think interiors first of all you are working at a human scale meaning that the end user is really experiencing the space from a sensitive perspective”, elaborating further, he describes what interior design is really about. "Lighting, atmosphere, visual circulation, texture, materials, touch… all the senses are involved, even smell is involved. Let’s say you work with a certain type of wood parquet, it will involve the olfactive factor as each type is different. For the touch factor, walking barefoot on marble is not the same as walking barefoot on parquet or carpet; touching a wall that has a wood finish is different from all the other finishes". The difference between the two disciplines according to Yacine, lies here.
Moving into the topic of more current events, I ask Yacine what he thinks about the present landscape in interior design and if social media has an impact. He tells me that one thing people have to understand is that interior design and all other fields that lie in the creative arts sector is the same as fashion, there are trends. Fashion however is much faster as it is based on seasons. With interior design there are tendencies and larger shifts such as the move from brutalism to minimalism to ultra-minimalism. As an example he highlights the popularity of New York industrialist style that took hold a few years ago in Hong Kong. He is appreciative of how Instagram has made interior design much more affordable, available and accessible for information and inspiration. “There’s good in it, it sharpens an aesthetic sensitivity” but on the flipside “when it’s all the same, it becomes an aesthetic dictatorship”.