Luxury belongs to those ephemeral terms such as happiness, beauty, style, which are quite difficult to explain and even more difficult to define…
So many times reading design books and magazines I have noticed expressions “luxury lifestyle”, “luxury living” and “luxury homes”. But what exactly do they mean? What are the indispensable attributes of luxury today?
Several years ago these were golden taps and wall-to-wall marble. Those days are gone.
Analyzing how perception of luxury has changed over the past few years, I have noticed the following changes:
1) IT IS MORE ABOUT EXPERIENCE
If earlier people tended to buy tangible “status” things to demonstrate their wealth, today they prefer to buy unique experiences. These can can be anything: from diving in Galapagos Islands to space traveling. How did it affect Interior Design? Well, in the most direct way: people want to have luxury experiences in their houses, whether it is a spa-center in their bathroom or a home cinema system. The design process has also changed according to this trend as clients would expect it to become an experience as well. They don’t want only to see samples of wallpaper and paint, they want to see their future house, to feel it and to experience it. That is the reason why 3D visualisation has become a compulsory element of design presentation nowadays.
2) IT IS MORE ABOUT UNIQUENESS
People are shifting from “Big Brands” to local artisans and small boutiques. The reason is that they want to have in their houses one-of-a-kind objects, that no one else has. If you go to the luxury shops you will find the same assortment of goods no matter where you are – in Paris or in New York. How the thing can be considered luxurious (doesn’t matter how much it costs), if it is not original and rare? No wonder that vintage pieces have become so popular…
3) IT IS MORE ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY
Responsibility for environment is embracing the world as never before. Architect build unique eco-friendly buildings and even entire eco-cities using energy absolutely independent from external resources (e.g. Zira Zero Island in Baku). Sustainable no longer means cheap. Furniture producers make stunning furniture from the reclaimed wood which adds unique character and history to the item. Designers no longer debate about possibility of merging luxury and sustainability: luxury is already becoming environmentally conscious.
4) IT IS MORE ABOUT INDIVIDUALITY
Another change on luxury market today is that people become less effected by fashion and trends. They will not buy thing just because it is super popular, if they don’t like it. They want their house to be built and decorated according to their needs and taste. In this sense luxury means custom-anything: from custom furniture to custom lampshades. The space has become more functional: nobody makes huge reception rooms if they are not really needed, or wine cellars if owners are not big fans of wine, or tennis courts if they don’t play tennis.
Today there is no certain definition of luxury: everybody has his own understanding of it. In other words luxury is freedom to live the life you want. You have to answer the question: What luxury means to you?
For me it conveys the following things:
How do you define luxury? What does it mean for you? Please share your thoughts as I am really keen to hear them.