'Perfect for you' is the real test

By Joseph Pubillones
Posted2/4/2018 6:01 AM
  • A piece works if it is beautiful, functional and comfortable. It works when it works for you, Joseph Pubillones says.

    A piece works if it is beautiful, functional and comfortable. It works when it works for you, Joseph Pubillones says. Courtesy of Joseph Pubillones

As a designer, I am often asked whether I like the interiors of the latest restaurant or the lobby of a hyped hotel. And when I am asked, I'm always cautious to answer. Not because I'm afraid to offend anyone, but rather because as a designer, my "likes" will possibly differ from the person asking the question.

Since the third century BC in Greece, the expression "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" has existed … and for a good reason.

Good taste throughout time has also been referred to as "the ability to select the right item for the right location at the right time." This is generally true when it comes to fashion, art, architecture, manners of expression and art. All that this means is that "beauty" and "good taste" are versatile, and what may be appealing to one person may be horrible to the next.

In design -- and interior design more specifically -- these concepts of "beauty" and "good taste" are subject to what we are accustomed to expect visually. What surrounds us -- i.e. what we've seen in person and what is fed to us through shelter magazines and televised home improvement shows -- determine some of the factors that can affect our own opinions. From these different sources, we draw visual cues as to what we think is correct, acceptable and tasteful.

Clients often ask their designers to come up with the very best design. Throughout the design process, they ask whether this or that is the very best design out there. The truth is that for every design task, there are hundreds of different designs that can be just as successful.

I endorse another notion of "good taste," which is the application of the principles of design to solve whatever design problem may arise, where not only is the appearance successful, but that the function is agreeable and comfortable to the user. I genuinely believe that comfort is the ultimate luxury. If a design is not comfortable, no matter how aesthetically pleasing it may be, the user will not appreciate the benefit of the beauty or the good taste.

Interior design is an art form to some, but in reality it is much more. Designers are continuous students of how things work, how products are used, what is luxurious or not, what colors are pleasing and the study of how these things impact human behavior. In essence, great interior designers are master observers of life and all surroundings.

While it can be said that good taste is a trait that one may have naturally, it can also be something that some people can acquire and develop. To gain insight, I suggest constant travel and exposure to as many different experiences and environments as possible. Traveling is my best source of inspiration, and something I advocate to all. Looking at things from a different environment changes one's perspective.

As an interior designer, I always seek to make each project representative of the clients' personalities, their likes and their particular needs. Each trip I take and every experience I have ultimately helps me to resolve these eternal questions: "Is it beautiful?" and "Is it in good taste?"

The answer is: "It is perfect for you!"

• Joseph Pubillones is the owner of Joseph Pubillones Interiors, an award-winning interior design firm based in Palm Beach, Florida.

© 2018, Creators Syndicate

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