By: Rick Hess/Mae Case, DISD
Often equated with elegance, boldness and mystery, black in interior design is usually reserved for accents within a space. Rarely are whole rooms dedicated to this dramatic, neutral shade – until now. Some may say that black is “back,” however, many will rightly say that it never really went anywhere. It has always been a popular, classic color choice in design, but we are now seeing an evolution in its use. Various shades of black are at the forefront of interior trends. From matte black surfaces and chalkboard accent walls, to stained concrete flooring and a general love of sleek, modern design, drenching whole rooms in this dark hue rather than teaming it up with other, subtler shades is as “in” as you can be at the moment.
The Llewellyn House was designed as a home and rehearsal space for two musicians, and the black interior contrasts with the existing home that was renovated. The original structure was a Federation-style cottage and the contrast between dark and light helps “knit together the old and new,” states the designer. The aged bricks of the home are recycled, and although the home boasts dark interiors, daylight still finds its way in.
Designed for the retail brand Heike, this store was named the World’s Best Interior of 2016 by INSIDE World Festival of Interiors. The large black mass within the store encases various functions, from fitting rooms to stairways. The color palette is perfect for the clothing brand Heike, complementing the dark and mysterious flavor of its line.
From circular LED mirrors to the stainless steel finishes, this barber shop in China is designed with a “moody punk edge,” as desginboom put it. The playful dark forms, reflective surfaces, graphic art divider and architectural lighting give the visitor a sense of visual overload, enhancing one’s experience while getting a cut in this slick interior.
The Rhoda Restaurant and Gion Japanese Restaurant both provide an escape to their patrons through their dark color palettes. Both spaces are designed with smooth transitions between different areas and intimate zones set apart from more public rooms. The Gion offers a tranquil respite from a busy street, and the Rhoda encourages relaxation in its dark lounges.
Located in Brunswick, Australia, this clever coffee shop uses a dark color palette to make guests feel as if they are in the coffee grains themselves. This unique design concept aims to be completely transparent by revealing the various functions within the building. Upon entering, visitors can see straight through to the back-of-the-house area and into the room where the coffee is roasted.
These spaces reveal that the meanings and connotations of colors can be redefined; they evolve as society does. Today you can walk into a space with dark concrete flooring and black walls and be energized by the creative combination of dark and light, rather than overwhelmed by drab, depressing energy. Interior designers are embracing black as a modern staple, denoting sleekness and sophistication. Now that black has taken center stage, we expect it to remain a classic go-to in the design world indefinitely.