Eclectism is a term first coined by an art historian in the 18th century to describe the work of Italian artist Annibale Carraci that combined influences from various sources. Eclectic Victorian architecture and interiors followed in the 19th century, blending styles from various countries. Today, the mix of cultural influences in our lifestyle as well as the wide range of choices available in the market make eclectic decor a fun and accessible scheme.
Raewyn McBain, CEO of Pink Tiger Media advertising agency, has a penchant for vibrant colours and striking visuals. Her modus operandi includes “bold colours, layering of rich textures and the placement of the unexpected.” These elements are clearly showcased in her seafront apartment in Penang, which she decorated with her husband, John.
“Inspiration comes from… life’s adventures. It can be something as simple as an abstract shape or an experience in a new country. The rich cultural melting pot of Malaysia is also a great source of inspiration. You need to be daring as unexpected pairings from different periods and origins can create refreshing aesthetics.”
“Materials… are about bringing out one’s personality and character. I keep the floor neutral-coloured to tie all the elements together. It is a good versatile foundation, almost like a blank canvas to paint unique brush stroke. I move to stronger colours for the walls, which can be enhanced by adding texture with paint, embossed wallpapers or even fabrics.”
“Textures… keep a room interesting and inviting. Don’t be afraid to play with textures, be it silky pillows, metallic pieces, leathers, mirrors or unique paint finishes. Layering can achieve a great effect; don’t be afraid to place an interesting artwork just because the wall is bright.”
“Keep the look cohesive… by grouping objects that work well together and editing them to create focal points. A fusion of eastern tranquility and western vibrancy might just turn our to be the new aesthetic of opulence. Cinnabar red and imperial yellow used on a feature wall or large pieces of Chinese furniture can be framed with light-hearted western accessories for a grand statement. Another example of East-West fusion is restored trishaw that I’m adding to my living room, which will be upholstered in Dior.”
“Keep chaos at bay with a mix of small, medium and large pieces to balance out the room, taking scale and proportion into consideration.”