Interior design can be a game: a joyful, light-hearted, anything-but-earnest game that doesn’t bow to rules; because, after all, the only rules in design are the ones you set yourself. Milan architect Barbara Pennino is one of those designers evidently blessed with a gift for getting to the heart of what interior design should, after all, really be about: creating spaced that make us feel good when we are in them. In the case of the apartment below, that good feeling comes courtesy of an almost childlike leaning towards bright colours and big statements. It’s time to get a little bit silly.
Based on an initial glance, it may seem that little restraint has been shown in this kitchen in regards to colour selection. The room may be predominantly white, but it’s spiked with plenty of accent colours that pop all the more brightly when seen against a backdrop of white tables, cupboards and work surfaces.
However, where most designers will pick just one or two accent colours to work into a particular room, no such arbitrary limits have been placed on the palette in this instance. The colours used are all very innocent and very playful, and they certainly seem like they shouldn’t work together. The alternating pink and light green hues of the kitchen chairs are just right together, and the soft blue area of wall above the worktops is a good match for them, belonging as it does to the same family of gentle pastels.
The bright orange seen on the right seems like it should jar in this context, and to some extent it does; and yet, in spite of this, it shares a similar youthfulness with the other key colours that makes this the perfect place for it.
There is something about this kitchen – probably the bright colour scheme more than anything – that could be said to evoke a subtle and pleasant nostalgia for childhood.
The SMEG fridge already seen in the other image, always a safe design bet, is especially appropriate for this space, with its pink exterior and appealingly toy-like curves. However, the living space on the right makes no attempt to fit into the look of the kitchen space we just looked at; even though the area is open plan so both are contained in one room. Like the unexpected splash of orange in the kitchen, the living space offers a contrast with its surroundings. It is just this sense of reality, of a space that is really been lived in rather than simply having been designed to death, that is largely responsible for the appeal of this apartment.
This is a guest bedroom, of course, hence the two beds. Once again, the beds don’t come anywhere close to matching, but they are very complementary to one another in their styles. The stripy chair, meanwhile, seems to be a visual reference to the pastel colour scheme in the kitchen.