It would be easy to dismiss the art of interior design as the afterthought of architecture, but nothing could be further from the truth. The psychology of interior design is a recognised field of study with countless lessons for designers and architects alike. It doesn’t take a PhD to understand that our interior spaces are directly related to our interior moods and overall wellbeing however – humans have an innate pleasure compass that points them towards things that feel good. But once the blueprints have been rolled up and the contractors have swept away the dust, it is the interior design of a project that will ultimately make us feel at home.
Just like any creative endeavour, beautiful interiors come in many styles with each genre borrowing from the other. Light, form, function and comfort are arguably the most important elements of all architecture, and this continues inside a home. While many Blakstad houses share references to the traditional Ibizan architecture, the interiors of each home reflect the unique personalities of the people who inhabit the space. The five basic styles of interior design contain myriad interpretations reflecting the vast array of cultures and lifestyles present on the island.
The words modern and contemporary are often and erroneously used interchangeably. In art and design, modern refers to a specific era generally agreed to start post-war and finish somewhere in the early 70s. The style has its roots in German and Scandinavian industrialism, when improved technologies allowed for the production of affordable furnishings. This is when the fussy décor of the previous century gave way to clean lines, neutral palettes and uncluttered spaces. It’s around this time that the phrase ‘form follows function’ became standard design lingo. The renovated, refurbished or new build farmhouses of Ibiza are particularly suited to modern interiors where masses of natural light, pale colours and spaciousness meets the sparse traditions of the past. Think wooden Danish furniture, crisp lines, open plan spaces and smatterings of glass and steel.
The easiest way to clear up the difference between modern and contemporary design is to throw in a healthy dash of technology and trends. The basics are similar with clutter-free, clean lines and a lack of overt ornamentation yet contemporary design is set in the future. A balance between comfort and drama is concocted with the use of texture, colour and tech. Luxurious simplicity is the cornerstone of this concept with essential conversation starters in the form of art, objets or high shine. Suited more to new builds than old farmhouses, contemporary interiors are common in Ibiza, offering a cooling ambience to sunlit homes.
This interior style has a broad remit from the 1980s penchant for Holly Hobby pine and Laura Ashley florals to the slender shapes of Quaker furniture with bypasses through Spanish revival, Provençal elegance and cosy English sturdiness. Country is really in the eye of the beholder. Wood tones are always a major feature of this style and here in Ibiza the concept of country or rustic as the locals prefer to call it is wonderfully steeped in local folklore and tradition. In the past, farmhouses were functional and in their functionality, local craftsmanship shines. This is where smooth exposed beams, well-loved kitchen tables and grandmother’s silver combine with classic shapes and old-fashioned textiles. Handwoven baskets, washed linen, worn farm tools refashioned as ornaments and a glow of homespun love permeates this design style.
Much misunderstood, this concept is not the same as contemporary. Minimalism is considered by many as a lifestyle choice rather than simply a design theory. The philosophical basis of this style is rooted in restraint and intentionality. Stripped bare of any superfluousness and, some would say, sentimentalism, minimalism has become de rigueur as a response to the excesses of consumer culture. Done well, minimalism creates calm and contemplative spaces that allow the mind to roam and expand without getting bogged down in details. Well suited to many homes in Ibiza for its textural reliance on sunlight and shadow and a bias towards luxury in the form of top-spec fittings and fixtures, minimalism should promote seamless comfort, not cold indifference.
A fairly new concept in the design world, transitional is probably what most homes end up becoming. If contemporary is too clean you can turn transitional with a few rustic elements or a couple of exquisite modern pieces. The chill of minimalism in a transitional design will be tempered by colourful rugs, throws and an abundance of cushions. Country might add in a bit of boho ethnicity in the shape of fabrics or ornaments and antique furniture might be matched with quirky contemporary art. Clutter is still kept to a minimum, yet materials might range from rattan and wood to steel and glass. Perfectly harmonised with the island’s general outlook on life transitional lets you pick and choose what you like from other styles and make it your own. And you don’t get more Ibiza than that.