Some of the craziest – and most creative – designs are born out of taking an idea and just running with it. It’s fair to assume that’s what happened with Barbie’s House, an interior concept by Antonio Minelli, who operates in Greece and Italy. Certainly, the theme, and staying close to that theme, have been privileged above all other aspects of design. That’s not to say that this home would be impractical to live in; far from it. In fact it’s got all the necessities of contemporary living very comprehensively covered, right down to the smallest details. It just does an excellent job of sticking to its conceptual guns at the same time. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, brace yourself and read on – this might be the most sugary design treat you’ll get stuck into all year.
On first impressions, Barbie’s House might not appear to be exactly what you would expect from the home of Toyland’s girliest girl. There’s a lot more white, for a start. And a lot less pink. But in fact, the vibrant plastic colours selected, so glaringly inorganic, are exactly the kind of tones Barbie’s accessories typically come in. Not everything she owns is in fact pink, and it’s a fair bet that those items that aren’t will come in an equally loud alternative. The use of so much white is simply a device to make the space actually liveable for humans, as opposed to dolls. If we tried to go about our day surrounded by the same level of clashing brightness as Barbie, we’d have permanent headaches. The goal of this designer’s plans, clearly, was to produce something more functional.
The main seating area is quite simplistic, and, unlike the rest of the house, is restricted exclusively to hot pinks, pale lilacs and white in its colour scheme. The lighting here, as throughout the rest of the rooms, is embedded in the ceiling, casting a bright, conspicuously fake-seeming light.
In the kitchen section of the open-plan living area, the fluorescent green that will feature heavily elsewhere in the house is introduced. There are few windows to be found anywhere in this design, with the strong reliance upon artificial light enhancing the strangely unreal quality of the space. The window seen in this image is therefore something of a rarity, with the hint of sky visible through the translucent curtains suggesting it is supposed to be evening. Otherwise we would have no idea what time of day it was; the house seems eternally trapped in no specific hour.
Lit from beneath, the staircase seems a lot like an escalator or another fluorescent item belonging at a shopping mall, but there’s a certain charm about it. The glow it gives off drives home the fact that this design is all about fun, all about silliness; there is no place for subtlety here. It’s back to childhood, and the simple appeal of glowing objects.
Barbie, perhaps surprisingly, has opted for green rather than pink as the dominant colour for her bathroom. It’s still an overwhelmingly feminine space, however.