My Idea of luxury in terms of design is time. I think having creative space and freedom to come up with a strong concept, develop it and to finesse it takes time. I think designers are often pushed so much by clients and deadlines that the process can be condensed and sometimes compromises the final detail and refinement of the craft. Good design is about editing and simplifying the piece.
With regards to everyday life, I would say having space currently means luxury to me. I was based in Amsterdam for ten years before moving to London in 2014. While the Netherlands isn’t necessarily a country know for vastness of space, living and working in London made me realise what a luxury it actually is. In terms of fashion or design it always comes down to the tactility of a piece – designed, but not over-designed, desirable, long-lasting and produced to the highest standard.
Sometimes you look at things, and you can feel how relaxed and confident the people who made those things must have been while creating them. Whenever I see such objects, I wish that I could have taken part in creating them; that experience of working is pure luxury to me.
When describing a luxurious object, the words ‘quiet’ and ‘polite’ come to mind. Simply put, a luxurious object looks the way it should: it is adequate to its context and it feels relaxed and confident. A luxurious object does not demand anything from you; on the contrary, it respects you.
Luxury for me is finding time and space. Space that is inspiring and provides physical room to explore new ideas. Time to be less reactionary and more inventive and to balance work life with social life and home with travel.
From a design perspective, I feel luxury is quality and craftsmanship. Its about refinement within a physical piece that sets something apart from its neighbour. This often takes time and space to create.
I don’t own many ‘luxurious objects’, besides maybe the books I admire for their design and the thoughts which they contain. Really, I think luxury is not something economically valuable but, as Georges Bataille thought, to be wasteful of one’s energy and efforts. In my practice as a graphic designer I am caught in the contradictions of being effective in my work but simultaneously wasteful with my time and energy on ideas and projects dear to my heart.
The word luxury has become meaningless. If you type in the word ‘luxury’ into Trip Advisor you get 1,951,715 results. It'll probably be two million by the time you read this. And wading through that lot is a far from luxurious experience. The term luxury is now a bandwagon that hilariously includes dog food and carpet. Material luxury is equally as hard to define. A stone that costs a dollar to mine but is surrounded by billion dollar marketing suddenly becomes a diamond and therefore worth thousands. The power of brand! So it's a terribly personal choice as to where you wish to allocate the idea of a lux concept. If you go deep, the Latin ‘luxus’ means extravagance. Yet my definition of luxury really isn’t extravagant. Dictionaries tell of how luxury is something in addition to those necessities of a reasonable standard of well-being. And curiously, this is where I think they need an update. For me luxury isn't tourbillon-installed watches (although I'd love one) or Zaha Hadid-designed gigayachts (but I'd jump on one in an instant) — it’s far easier to describe, infinitely more valuable and harder to find than any diamond-clad material wealth or possessions. It's time.