A Bohemian Irony!

October 27, 2011

It has hardly escaped us over the last few months that Europe has and continues to go through very dark days due to the economic crisis, at the centre of this crisis is Greece, so much so that every time we turn on the news, read the paper or scour Arabian Business we are inundated with the doom and gloom of the Greek crisis. Yesterday a new bailout package for the Greeks was agreed and their national debt was halved, some good news then for its citizens to read this morning. With that in mind we decided that today we would also celebrate and applaud something that Greece is vastly becoming well known for, their innovative and progressive interior design industry.

Our project focus today exudes irony as it is a project that one would always associate with affluence and prosperity, words that have only been used with negative connotations during recent times when describing Greece. Salon De Bricolage is a member’s only club, created and brought to Athens by Spyros and Chrysanthos Panas, the concept is that it is a space where artisans, visionaries and “creatives” can come to join in good food, cocktails and a spot of networking as a design collective. The clubhouse seeks to inspire, to create a central hub were these selected and vetted individuals can come and put their minds together for social good and change, to devise, strategize and hopefully implement creative mandates and concepts that will initiate positive social change.

Whist we love the concept of having a design social hub the criteria for entry into this members only world irks us as it goes against everything we as designers and artisans believe in, it exudes arrogance, snobbery and prejudice. Members are hand selected by an approval committee upon specific guidelines as stated on their website, “The people of Salon de Bricolage are people with personality, for seeking good taste and quality, aware of the meaning of facts, and are not consumed in meaningless luxuries” whilst the last sentence quietly comforts us in that this is not a space for the shallow amongst us I still struggle to see past the irony in this.

Nevertheless, we love the idea of this concept (minus the vetting process) and even better we love the design of Salon De Bricolage as it personifies that last statement “not consumed in meaningless luxuries” unlike the art deco inspired or “rat pack” crooner dens of a bygone era this is a design that lacks the pretentiousness of the maligned selection system. When picturing members only clubs the smell of leather, cigars and pungent aftershave comes to mind, a visual of green baize, brown sofa’s and mahogany tables automatically comes over our blinkers.

This design though is one that goes completely against everything we expected a members only club to be, the rustic interior is actually rather charming and understated perhaps even bohemian. The untreated and exposed walls and ceiling mixed with the concrete flooring help to create that “underground” feeling that we associate with many artists,  the simplicity and lack of bling culture are exactly what we would expect of an artist’s retreat.  The bland vapid and uninspiring furniture such as the stools, tables and the bar bench are very much positives in our eyes, we applaud the understated nature of the furniture as it is in complete opposite of what we would expect, the moody lighting and the all-round grubby look is exactly what we would expect and want for an underground artists haunt.

Whilst in principal being against anything elitist such as members only clubs we have to applaud this concept and hope that something that encourages social change through arts and creativity will soon come to these shores minus the prejudicial selection process, we have enough of that already.