Out of curiosity, I downloaded an Android game (https://www.redecor.com) and started playing.
Apparently this is an immensely popular game with 10+million downloads. The gameplay is simple: Start with a blank canvas, decorate the room, submit it to the server and compete against other submissions from around the world. Voting will then take place, and after a few hours, one could come back and check where they are positioned, against the other aspiring anonymous designers.
Something like this:
Sounds easy right?
I think I have a fairly good sense of aesthetics, and I am very competitive when it comes to online game. This is a fairly simple game – it shouldn’t be that difficult to hit the top ranks, if I can submit good design.
After a few rounds I gave up. I got to a rare Number 2 spot once but I almost always can’t crack the top 8.
It’s frustrating. I look at those designs which got more votes than mine – some are gawdy, some are truly attrocious – colour themes and material palette which I will never ever set my home in.
And yet, they were voted far more superior than mine.
My ego got hurt. The world doesn’t seem to regard my design as good.
Here are the top 2 entries, in the eyes of the many who are on the app.
For the past one and a half year, we have been actively styling and rendering interior and exterior spaces for a variety of clients.
An interior designer first designed the furniture and space. A 3D model was created in Bangalore. A Mumbai based interior designer further styled the space, choosing the decor objects, the carpet, the coffee table, the plant, etc etc. A graphic designer provided additional inputs on colour schemes. A European 3D artist provided the final rendering. Yes, it went through so many people to get this done.
The part I dread the most is when the render drafts start coming back for reviews and everyone starts commenting excitedly. Someone will then say the carpet is not looking nice. Someone will make a comment on the coffee table – “perhaps a white table would be better”. Someone will make a comment on the curtain – “perhaps a pink curtain will be nicer”.
It sounds a bit like playing the interior design game – everyone thinks they can do a better design; but really, how is one supposed to judge what is nice?
Would I do this purple living room for my own house? No. I don’t buy into this aesthetics.
But it was indeed designed by interior designers who are ex-homelane, ex-livspace, and have designed many real Indian homes.
I have also been to many homes where my first designer instinct is to question the design choices – that lighting doesn’t match the vibe, the sofa is too loud, that coffee table is weirdly out of place with the rest, and the sculpture at the corner is scaring me. And yet the home owner is extremely proud of all these – “I’ve got a good designer. I’m very happy.”
Who am I to judge? Out there – a designer had made the design choices, and a happy homeowner is living in the space now. Maybe, this is what the majority want from design and maybe, I am just the elitist snob who thinks the world, doesn’t understand what is good design.
In a recent research trip, an architect said she would rather not do residential projects. Institutions, commercial spaces, restaurants, malls are alright, just not residential.
“Design decisions can literally change between breakfast and lunch. It’s too painful to deal with that.”
Beyond the four walls of a home, everyone feels entitled to play designer. What is good design, is too subjective.