I tried to ask myself why all the interior design projects that I see published in magazines and reviews in China look to me as a random mixture of styles, colors, objects coming from different ages, chairs and sofas with the worst proportions and fake incoherent materials thrown by an helicopter, mixed by a Psyco Killer and sewed by a Crazy Surgeon.
It’s what I call The Frankenstein (or if you prefer: the Zoo), a mixture of styles that apparently doesn’t have a meaning or a reason, but it is becoming a style itself, it’s the “Frankenstein Style”.
The Frankenstein Style has a reason to be, it has its root in the habit to copy, in the iconic and image culture, but most of all it’s a matter of money.
Again money is the focus of the relation between the client and the designer, not quality, not time, not taste, just money.
Most of the contract are signed in China after a proposal which is mistakenly called “Concept”. Believe me, coming from the Milan Politechnic where we invented this word, I can tell you that it usually has nothing to do with the Concept of the project chain.
Since the contract are signed after that, the proposal itself is designed very quickly, without any logic and any thoughts behind.
The Proposal consists in a collage of pictures taken from other projects or from the internet, in the best cases the images are put together because they have the same colors or some similar materials, in the worst they are just pictures.
Imagine that you have to design a lobby for a five star hotel, you go to Google (Opps, no, blocked in China), so go to Baidu Chinese version, type “Lobby” and get the first 6 pictures that you find, now put them together, add some words in Chinese like “harmony”, “color”, “feeling”, “style” and you have a so called Concept.
This is usually done in 3 days, of course, because the client doesn’t pay for the this part of the project and as everywhere” Time is Money”. The Proposal is considered a way to gain trust, a way to build your own brand towards the client. I come from a culture in which I was told that if you get something for free either it sucks or you are paying for it later (usually double the price).
What happens is that all the projects look the same because the inspiration comes from the same pictures, and, what is worse, the client falls in love with those pictures and he wants to find the same atmosphere that he dreamt of, with the amazing result of building a Frankenstein.
The Frankestein Design then crystallize in renderings and views, goes from mind to paper and the work is done. It becomes a real space, but what is worse is that it gets published on the internet and it will be reproduced again and again. What I hear a lot is: “It has been done, so it’s possible!”; basically (from Young Frankenstein) “I can do it!!!!”, and this is the viral replication of Frankenstein.