Light the Fuse

Western and eastern civilizations have begun to merge several cultural design techniques, and the result is called fusion

The word “fusion” is the word du jour in design at the moment. It’s become quite the hot topic and is more often than not overused, but it is a true reflection of the international flavor and style in which most now live, regardless of where we call home.

The greatest example of fusion we all hear about almost daily is fusion cuisine – the art of taking a variety of international ingredients, herbs, spices,tastes and flavors from around the world to create epicurean delights and to re-jig old favorites. Presumably the same can be said about interiors. Fusion in interiors is about mixing two or more design aesthetics to create a unique and individual personal look. It’s easy, just marry two or more styles, for example the “East meets West” concept of combining modern Western designs with a distinctive bright and bold palette with Oriental design features.

On trend at the moment is syncing contemporary European designs and color palettes with a Middle-Eastern and Asian feel, more often than not with designs and treasures from places like Iran, Morocco, India and Indochina.

So how can we pull off this partnership in design aesthetics successfully? This is dependent on how far you’re willing to push either side of the design scale 50/50or focusing more on East or West, but whether you are focusing your fusion look completely or adding bits and pieces here and there, color is the key.

For Iran and Morocco for example,color is the forefront when describing textiles, handicrafts and ceramics from these regions. Adding color is easy and possibly the most important part of creating your fusion theme. Emulate distinctive colors like copper, warm mustard, cobalt blue or ox blood which are reminiscent of markets, stores and traditional homes in these regions and share the walls with neutrals like white,egg shell and lighter grays for balance and contrast and to keep the rooms looking contemporary.

Also be daring and introduce distinctive furniture, paintings, prints,textiles, cushions, rugs, and objets d’art from your chosen regions. If you’re focusing more on the Far East try and incorporate beautiful lacquerwares with red and gold highlights.

The rich architectural and design heritage of the Middle East and Asia includes patterns in almost every discipline. Gorgeous wooden lattice screens and windows, layered paisley and geometric patterns on textiles, intricate designs in mother of pearl inlaid in wood and beautifully carved stonework are just a few examples. Incorporating breathtaking patterns like lattice screens,geometric textiles and mother of pearl inlaid designs will give your space the personality and character of bygone days in your chosen parts of the world.

A Moroccan table lamp with cut-out Filigrain design will change the mood of a room with curious patterns on your ceiling and walls – this helps a relatively plain room embrace the fusion character with a true wow factor.

If you’re looking to focus primarily on Asian interior design, China and the Far East is always the winner with exotic and intriguing style and, of course, bamboo and silk textiles and design never falling short.

Oriental interior design is nothing new to the history of interior style. Europeans have embraced the East with incredible grandeur with Art Nouveau and the Arts and Craft movement being prime examples. Asian design has slick,clean, straight lines and are found more commonly in Japanese interiors, both traditionally and contemporary. Low to the ground furniture and bedding reflect a truly imitate and exotic flair. Japanese Shoji screens perfectly divide a room and can often be designed or re-patterned with incredible designs like wood block print, bamboo or cherry blossom.

Finally your space should be unique,interesting and beautifully curated; the overrated catalog look is so passé. It’s not about shopping for new pieces, it’s about creating a room with fresh eyes that you fall in love with over and over.

BIO: David J. Campbell is the Design Director at Villa Royale Treasures and Tearoom ( in Thao Dien, District 2, Saigon.

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