“The Land of Opportunity”. No slogan better embodies the essence of the USA – at least not when it comes to the array of “typically American” looks and designs. From ethno to Hamptons chic, from hippie to heavy metal, from country to Cosmo style – the USA is as diverse as its 50 states and the cultural backgrounds of its people. This creative spirit was on show at the recent Ambiente in Frankfurt, where this year’s partner country, the USA, demonstrated in true red, white and blue style the colourful variety of the “American Way of Life”.
The Statue of Liberty, cowboy hats, check shirts, hamburgers, hot dogs, Coca-Cola, Elvis posters, Mickey Mouse cups, “I Love NY” tee-shirts and, of course, the star-spangled banner in all its many manifestations may not be the most subtle of symbols, but they are all expressions of the American Dream. A dream that is represented not only in the form of kitsch, but also in sophisticated designs in a host of different genres. Fashionable US labels such as Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren demonstrate it just as much as the concepts of interior design greats such as Waldo Fernandez, Miles Redd, Madeline Stuart and Michael S. Smith (the man the Obamas commissioned to redecorate the White House).
Design from the USA has many facets with just the right look for every taste and interior design – from full-on stars & stripes motifs and Las Vegas glam to elegant testimonies of the country’s European heritage and natural autumnal reminiscences from New England. Confident messages from “The Land of the Free”.
The easiest way of bringing a bit of American flair into your own home is to play with the famous colours of the flag – red, white and blue. A leather sofa with an azure-coloured throw and cushions in ruby and snow-white can make a clear statement. Or a retro fridge with chrome handle that stands out in a modern kitchen like an old Cadillac. A KitchenAid mixer in cherry red can not only make a “good old milkshake”, it’s also a design hommage to those old Doris Day films. Last but not least, any pop art print from Lichtenstein to Warhol can provide a touch of American colour.
We see: the original message of the “Star-Spangled Banner” continually offers inspiration and motivation. You can see it used as stars on cushions, in the design of red, white and blue tableware, and as details on clothing, accessories and decorations. There appears to be no limit to the imagination of designers and manufacturers. At Ambiente we saw all sorts of curious USA images in the form of hot water bottles adorned with stars, “patriotic” spatulas, extraction hoods, US flag shoelaces and many other fun gadgets. This variety gives us plenty of scope to go our own way – which is only right in the “Land of Opportunity”.