Eco – and Ethno-Design is a Popular Design Trend of the XXI century

Munis Mirpulatova,
Student of the Tashkent
Institute of Architecture
and Civil Engineering (TASI)

Design known already in the XIX century, in the XX century has gained a worldwide recognition as a new discipline, a new profession, and even a new form of art that had many trends and currents, among which the increasing popularity get such kinds of it as eco-design and ethno-design.
Such vital global problems as environmental protection from pollution, limited natural resources, the struggle for prevention of environmental catastrophes, conservation of wildlife flora and fauna were highlighted in the second half of XX – beginning of XXI century. Environmentalists of almost all over the world at the international scientific-theoretical conferences and other forums make decisions on nature protection, including them in the national program.
Designers, engineers, technologists and architects are developing projects to work with eco-friendly materials, the use of which does not harm the environment and humans. That is how the eco-design has appeared as one of the trends of design.
The natural stone, wood, silicate or clay bricks, canes, thatch board, ceramic foam and other material were already used in construction of buildings. However, the eco-design does not imply only the use of eco-friendly materials, but also creation the natural images, imitation of nature’s forms in architecture, interior, and landscape. Eco-design is directly linked with such trend in the architecture as bio-architecture, the image or design of which is derived from nature (for example, visual images of animals or plants). The bio-architecture is conditionally divided into three groups:
1 –Buildings where the natural building materials are used (i.e., the practical side of eco-design). One of the incarnations of this idea is the Japanese pavilion at the World EXPO 2000. According to the design by the architects Otto Frei and Shigeru Ban, a pavilion made of paper rolled into tubes and a roof in the form of a honeycomb was built there. The undoubted advantage of the building is its sustainability and lightness;
2 – Architecture that reflects flora and fauna. This, is for example, a “snake house” built in 2007 by the Mexican architect, Javier Senosian. Of interest as a model of sustainable architecture is the “cucumber house”, built in London in 2004. It is its form made of mostly soft lines that challenged the hi-tech. The author of the tower is Norman Foster;
3 – Absolute alliance of architecture and nature. This is, for example, the Museum of World Culture in Paris. One of the walls of the Museum consists entirely of living plants. There are a lot of similar structures in many countries. Key postulate of this style is individuality (1).
The experts of eco-interior design are governed by their own rules, using only natural materials and fabrics, simple and definite forms without unnecessary decoration. Plastic and artificial fabrics are excluded. According to the world practice, natural materials can be both processed and unprocessed. Wallpapers are often made of reeds or leaves, the walls are covered with wooden or cork panels, decorative stone or mere white plaster. For flooring wood, parquet or bamboo is used. The eco-friendly interior is dominated by beige, brown, white, green, and yellow shades. The premises do not have extra furniture; there should be plenty of space. Decorations are live plants or “live” screens that require a lot of water, as it most clearly conveys a sense of style.
The history of eco-style begins with Alvar Aalto, who is known as the “father of modernism”. He designed houses with roofs sprouting through the trees and wrapped by the loaches. Eco-style is close to the modernism. But if the modernism is based on the elements of classic styles, eco-design relies on modern appliances and electronics. The Scandinavian designers are considered “the progenitors” of eco-design; they combined new forms with natural materials, as well as the Japanese traditionalists. Eco-design is not only one of the styles of design, it is a reflection of the character and attitude of the personality that creates it, and the expression of their concerns about the conservation of nature.
Another style that is rapidly developing in many countries in our days is ethno-design, when representatives of every nation are trying to preserve the uniqueness of their culture, customs and traditions that are unique to it. Thus, each of the CIS countries after independence actively promotes its culture, its customs and traditions, preserving its cultural monuments. Based on these trends the ethno-design is also getting developed.
Ethno-design, for example, is further subdivided into a number of the micro-styles like traditional country styles: English, American, Scandinavian, African, Egyptian, Moroccan, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, etc. Each one is distinctive, causing excitement among fans of these cultures.
Traditional English style is eclectic of “flavors” of different epochs, which at the present stage of development is perceived as classical: the charming decor with character and luxury touch; dark wood furnishings; wooden parquet floor or tile patterns on the floor; expensive carpets of subdued tones; fireplaces or stoves with carved decoration made of wood, limestone or marble and mirrors in rich gilded frames over them; natural lighting and sconces with two horns and frosted lamps, floor lamps; brass, gilding and crystal – from picture frames to shaped pedestals of the table lamps (2).
Key features of the country style is the old worn and shabby wooden furniture, colorful textiles with floral motifs, simple curtains, things of the natural textures –from wood paneling to hand knit bedspreads and pillows: the atmosphere of the native home and good old times, as well as the paraded in each room – crockery, photos and personal items.
The Scandinavian interior is dominated by pastel colors: beige, light grey, light blue, light green and light brown. However, the main color of Scandinavian style is, without doubt, white. However, to liven up the atmosphere, blue, red and green shades perfectly do. The main requirement to the materials is that they must be natural and make home cozy. Wood, metal, natural stones, glass, cotton, linen, fur, leather, and ceramics can be safely used in the Scandinavian style. Scandinavian furniture is practical and functional. No frills. For the manufacture of furniture the wood of light color is used (beech, birch, sometimes pine and spruce). The textile, suede, leather, cotton, and linen are used for the upholstery (3).
African style is one of the exotic; its interior creates the feeling of being in savannah. On the walls there are the masks of African gods, small statues and handmade vases, on the floor are laid the skins of wild animals, handmade lamps decorated with bright ornaments, wrought-iron furniture. Main colors of this style are gold, yellow, and sandy.
The Egyptian style is refined and strict at the same time: clear repeating geometric patterns and motifs of bright colors, furnishings made of ivory, frescoes, faience insets and, sure enough, hieroglyphs. Gold and black is the main color combination.
Moroccan ethnic style is a connection of European and African styles: wooden furniture of the finest carving, handmade carpets, exquisite luxurious textiles, abundance of molding on the walls and ceiling, mosaic tiles and patterns. The main colors of Moroccan style are white, blue, red, golden, blue, yellow and orange.
India is a country of colors. The interior of the Indian ethnic style includes bright and vibrant colors. There are only the most necessary furniture items, low and transformable, made of durable teak wood.
The essence of the Japanese interior design is simplicity, brevity and functionality, the distinctive feature of style is minimalism. The main subject of the traditional Japanese interior is tatami – a straw mat. It is used for sitting on it while eating and drinking tea, sleeping at night, laying a cotton mattress over it. The accessories that have the right to be in the Japanese interior include the scrolls with hieroglyphs, Japanese fans, lamps with a wooden frame, covered with paper and shedding a soft diffuse light (4).
The design is getting evolved in Uzbekistan too. Eco-design is present in Uzbekistan for a long time. The proof of it is the pahsa walls or the adobe walls. Soft clay mixed with straw is the natural building material. The mud houses are durable, resistant to earthquakes and rains. Building a wall to a height of 60 cm to 70 cm (so-called pahsa), it is adjusted evenly by the blade and left to mature for a few days, after that the wall is erected again to the same height. In order to make the wall stable, it is thicker at the bottom than at the top. Lumps of clay, pressed down one to the other with force, firmly stick together. Each pahsa is being finished around its perimeter by the poles – one, two or three pieces in a row, their diameter is 5-7 cm. The metal fittings are also used. Adobe walls are covered first by samanna, then by a lime plaster. Such walls stand for centuries. Maybe we have a special kind of clay? (5)
Interiors in national style can be seen in public places and in private homes of Uzbekistan ever more often. The Uzbek interior prefers natural materials, particularly wood. Screens, chandeliers, tables and chairs, made by the craftsmen of wood carving, add an Oriental charm, while the traditional fabrics like adras, atlas, shoyi highlight the national identity of the style. The pottery covered with glaze of blue, ultramarine, white, and emerald colors is often placed on the walls. On the floor are the carpets with Eastern ornament. Among the accessories are the wall charms – kuzminchok. A bed or sofa is covered with a beautiful suzani. There is a natural lighting in the room. The passages between rooms can be made using arches.
Thus, the styles of eco – and ethno-design are being already widely applied in the world. Each of them is not just a style, but solution to specific challenge. Eco-design addresses the environmental problem – one of the major problems that mankind is facing today. Ethno-design helps to preserve the national identity, culture, traditions, and art of the nations and ethnicities, despite the process of globalization.

2. Керрин Харпер. Ваш дом. Стили интерьера. М., 2013.

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