Wednesday, 1 June 2011

My Habitat

La Corbusier's Villa Savoye
Can you have a revelation of self-knowledge from a furniture store?  I did yesterday.  Let me explain.

I was trundling through Norwich, doing my chores as I often do on a Tuesday afternoon, and I came around the corner to see horrible, garish 'CLOSING DOWN' signs all over my favourite furniture shop, Habitat.  On the way home, I told Pat of my outrage, and he just shrugged, and said, 'yeah, didn't you know?'

How could he be so nonchalant?  This is HABITAT we are talking about here!!!!! (Excuse the exclamation marks, but I want to get over the emphasis - this is serious, people!)

And thats when it hit me:  under this crusty, heritage exterior beats the heart of a radical Modernist.  Habitat is the shop I have always aspired to shopping at.  Ever since I first studied architects like Mies Van Der Rohe and Le Corbusier as a teenager, I have been secretly in love with quality modern design.  When the National Lottery first started, I dreamed of buying a house and filling it with Habitat goodies.  Its a shop I love wandering around.  It makes me feel calm and peaceful.  I treat myself to visits.  I made the mistake of assuming it would always be there.  I never dreamed I would once again live in a place where Habitat wasn't.

I am  haunted by all those wasted visits just looking, when I should have been stocking up on GIBRALTAR glasses, BISTRO tableware and SATEEN bedlinen against the time when IKEA and the banking crisis reduced my favorite store to a shadow of its former self.  If only I had known.

Okay, the demise of Norwich's branch probably means very little to you, especially if you live in London or North Carolina, and on the face of it, it should be irrelevant to me.  Its not as if I can afford that Robin Day couch I've always been hankering after, and it would be difficult to make it work in a small  19th century farm cottage with a serious clutter problem anyway.  And frankly, you probably always thought I was the Laura Ashley type.  But everybody needs something to aspire to.

Vintage Robin Day Conran sofa

The moral of this story is that reading all those interiors magazines has failed to help me discover my personal interior style, but the effects of the credit crisis have.  I want a Le Corbusier house with glass walls and Barcelona chairs.

Mies Van Der Rohe's Barcelona chair and ottoman

My name is Rebecca and I am a Modernist.

1 comment:

  1. If I had to choose I'd rather have an IKEA within reasonable distance (rather more in budget), but it's decidedly unfair to have neither.

    It's no help for funiture, but for glassware and similar you may find a small amount of solace in Clas Ohlson.