Having had designed many homes and built beautiful living spaces for our clients over the past, this question continues to linger in our mind: what is “home”, exactly?
When we met with our new clients, we learned that, as a couple, they were together for two decades before finally deciding to walk down the aisle and embark on the journey of marriage. It was this house that prompted the decision. During many meetings of discussion and listening, we had also observed the way they interacted with each other, finding their story fascinating, yet not sharing the tired rosy ending like those in a fairy tale. So is the home they have built together really a nest or a cage?
Oscar Wilde’s story The Nightingale and the Rose served as an inspiration for our project. In the story , the author wrote, “Life is very dear to all. It is pleasant to sit in the green wood, and to watch the Sun in his chariot of gold, and the Moon in her chariot of pearl. Sweet is the scent of the hawthorn, and sweet are the bluebells that hide in the valley, and the heather that blows on the hill. Yet Love is better than Life, and what is the heart of a bird compared to the heart of a man?” In the end, home is a kind of passion where everything could be sacrificed for the love of one’s life, and that passion lifts us up to overcome all odds. We are willing, no matter if that love is a nest or cage.
The living room in the project is, thus, fabricated by crisscrosses of lighting rods and wood sticks to represent the mesh of different materials in a bird nest. However, the mesh extends from the ceiling down to the wall, resembling a birdcage. Here it serves dual purposes, proposing two possibilities to interpret the home.
Art matters. Attention to the details of our environment leads to love of place, which brings us to take responsibility for the spaces where we live and work. And by extension, the people with whom we live and work. And by extension, to our local communities, our cities, our nations, and our world.
We champion the role of artists in our society. We need artists to provide us with inspiration, creativity, and imagination, and to help us envision a better world.
Architects and designers know that remarkable design can change everything. They connect the dots across disciplines, collaborating with artists to make the world a more beautiful place. They are the ultimate patrons of the arts.
In the process, design professionals promote imagination and creativity, and through their commissions, make original art integral to and accessible in people's lives.
Art in our public and private spaces helps us fight ordinary buildings, ordinary streets, ordinary cities. We celebrate the extraordinary.
The architecture of our buildings and the design of our interiors affect our happiness and well-being. Each of us deserves a daily dose of inspiration.