Maintaining Cultural Identity In Design Essay

3104 words - 12 pages

Throughout the world, there are an abundance of diverse cultures, each truly unique in comparison to another. Culture is described as the “characteristics of a particular group of people, defined by everything from language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts” (Zimmermann). Each of these traits is what sets each society apart, and is what influences their expression of design. Throughout this course, we’ve learned how planning and design have varied all through history, however we decided to take it a step further and focus on how different regions throughout the world create spaces that reflect their own cultures’ particular interests. Being a group composed entirely of Interior Design majors, our emphasis is investigating the use of material, color, motifs and layouts of their interior spaces, and how they reflect their societies. Not only do we explore a culture’s influence on design, but we briefly touch on environmental factors as well. Of all of the regions throughout the world, we decided to focus our research on the cultural practices and designs of Mexico, India, and Japan. Our reasoning behind centering on these three cultures is that these cultures are some of the most well-known, yet each entirely distinct within their own way, thus providing a greater understanding of design styles around the world.
The design style of Mexico reveals a strong influence of culture and environment. In order to understand their unique style, it is important to acknowledge Mexico’s historic roots in Spanish culture, as well as in the culture of the native Indians indigenous to Central America. These roots in other customs helped shape what we recognize, today, as Mexican culture and design. In examining the Mexican design style, it is clear that inspiration is also
drawn from the traditional craft of their culture including, for example, ceramic and carpentry work. Furthermore, there is the influence of the effects of time, weather, and touch, which seem to be very characteristic of Mexican design because of their appreciation for imperfections. Their fondness for error stems from the thought that those flaws show the life of their furnishings. For example, where other cultures value antiques for their pristine condition, Mexican culture looks at a worn antique and sees the beauty of the hands of the carpenter in the piece. They look at the multicolored layers of paint and see all of the places that the piece has been, and they value the fact that flaws give character to their furnishings. In “Mexican Design & Style,” Karen Witynski and Joe P. Carr observe that, “Mexican design elements are like mirrors reflecting a rich cultural history and the creativity of the hands that made them,” (Carr & Witynski, 2007). Through the continued use of “artesania,” the crafts created for both functional and creative purposes, Mexican design has effectively kept its cultural history alive. Artesania also reflects the...

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