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Seven Things I Love About Youth….. Ageless Spaces

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Remember the time when bell bottoms, cheap fringed jackets, fulsome flicked out hair, and heavy liners were the fashion statement? While we might evolve more readily with fashion, sometimes we get frozen in time with spaces. We aspired to have homes exactly like our parents did, since that is all we knew. Being caught in the past is not a function of time alone, but of stereo-typifying the spirit.

If one mentions youthful spaces, a territorial mind mapping recreates an amplification of a cartoonish world or carefully reconstructs a genuinely fake teenage bastion of rebelliousness. Immediately come to mind, a room littered with references to the muddle-some mouse (who by the way is 80 years of age) and his friends in a polychromatic ga-ga world. Or we think of the unruly lair of the lurking guerrilla, in search of the eternal Che within!

So how does one achieve youthful spaces? When I asked this question, to people young and older in age, the answers were uncannily common . A familiar thread runs through what each of them has to say. It is this ability to constantly not stay in one place; to be restless in calm; to be a creative rebel!  So On the 2nd birthday of STREETS, we present the things we love about YOUth…Qualities of ageless spaces:

1. Certainly  impermanent. Whatever. Just floating. Hanging Loose. The words themselves are the geopolitical state that the young inhabit. Youthful spaces may be decorated with products that are intrinsically temporary.

The material nature of monetary value is exchanged for a playfulness of the provisional. Paper lanterns are used as lighting, or paper kites and chakris as kinetic decor. Baskets or trunks could hold extra linen and also double as makeshift seats.

2. Quirky and odd. Like a gawky teenager, there is something not in proportion. The over-loose T shirt, gangly arms and the spiky tomahawk hair, it is the oddity and the unexpected nature of things. The unexpected, the un-themed!

As an example, in a perfectly ordinary room setting there may be this most unusual chair or a surface that becomes a makeshift coffee table. It sticks out oddly as it is not a part of a range or ‘set’.  Make one thing in a room setting an irrational centrepiece of affection. A story telling piece of the home’s character.

quirky and odd

3.  The wall is a face book. While thought of as being extremely secretive, youth is also a state of being deliberately transparent. A teenager is always locked away in their room, but their whole life is on display in the room.

Spaces remain young when they deliver an interesting personality of the occupant. See-me-as-I-am, revealing the real person who is the occupant. This person remains current with changing events. Places they have been to and seen, people who occupy their life, notes and cards are all up like an open narrative.

4. Random relationships. The suitability of friends is a subject of everyone’s youth. Parents unerringly hone in on the one friend that you slavishly admire. You also know will never be entirely approved of. Either they smoke and drink, or wear clothes too revealing, or have deliciously decadent parents. This is your safe way to dissent; dissent by association. To be as close to this radical, so the frisson of ‘bad tag’ brands you; but lightly.

Youthful rooms have random relationships in their arrangements. The ‘suitability’ of adjacency should be questionable! A collection of odd companions or mixing upscale stuff with low life. Take a great sofa with classic bones and clad it in denim. Serve up a posh salad in hand painted enamelware.

5. Morphing arrangements. How many people can we stuff into a telephone booth? (Why would anyone want to try and who thought of the idea?) The desire to be together in close proximity constantly even though doing different things is a quality I see often in the young. In the same room, there could be some people gaming, others obliviously listening to music, and there is always one solitary person who decides to catch up with their sleep surrounded by all this noise.

Ageless rooms undergo transformations very easily. Sofas roll back to clear space for a dance floor or a casual music session on the ground. Cushions come together to become a table or a sleep over bed. A console becomes a buffet table and a study desk charmingly transforms into a dessert trolley! Transformations is about a space serving multiple functions.

6. Probable cause. The young are saviours of the world. In a whole generation we see a desire to give back, to work with the disenfranchised. Whether it is the green movement, artisan communities, ethnic minorities or variously challenged people, very often just the allegiance to a cause, is as important as running with a tribe.

Bring the cause home with the choices you make for decor. A lot is available out there which gives heart to a home. Recycled mirrors and small furniture from metal scrap; paper lamps and papier-mâché  bowls; mats and chatais in natural fibres; hand crafted beads and bedcovers from NGOs; and now even refashioned laptop bags from hoarding flex that gets a second life.

7. Colorfun. Though I have left color for last, it really is the first thing we associate with youthfulness! Vital and Vivid it is predictably considered to be the bright colors that are associated with youth. With the same spirit of quirkiness and irreverence, get set to challenge staid perceptions of cosy co-ordination. Plastic brights, of aqua, mauve and orange can be made to mix with darker camouflage shades; clear and clean graphic masses of toxic yellow, raging red and an ultramarine marry degraded and subtle tones of dissenting olive, metallic brown and shadowy blue.

Color confidence is a clear sign of optimism, vitality and above all, Individuality!

freedom tree

Latika Khosla is on the board of the Color Marketing Group USA and the founder-organizer of Colors India.

She is also the founder director of Freedom Tree, a wholly-Indian, color-led lifestyle brand with a retail presence in Goa and Raghuvanshi Mills, part of Mumbai’s trendy mill district.

Latika’s studio, Freedom Tree Design, undertakes color consultancies and design assignments in India and Internationally.




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