Is there such a thing as true originality in design?

(Image Credit: Cole & Son)

Is there such a thing as true originality in design?

A few weeks ago I posted a picture of my hallway wallpaper, a quite austere architectural design punctuated with blue monkeys. 

Some would say it was a very odd thing to want to look at on a daily basis, but it makes me happy.  And one of the reasons is because it is so unexpected.  I’d never seen anything like it when I came across it and it sort of thrilled me.

As humans there’s a lot to be gained from being one of the crowd.

Fitting into our family and community brings safety and protection and a sense of belonging.  But we also need to be appreciated as individuals and maybe that’s why we are so drawn to originality.

It’s like the black sheep in an all-white flock.

The Queen in the hive of worker bees, the stripey-shirted Wally in the teeming crowds.  The novelty, imagination or sheer chutzpah lifts us out of our comfortable – and humdrum – existence and raises our spirits as it raises our eyebrows.

My blue monkeys also got me thinking about how much of design or thought is truly original?

If we believe in a collective consciousness is there ever a truly novel thought? 

We talk about ‘homage’ ‘pastiche’ ‘derivative’ ‘influenced by’ when what we really mean is copy. And perhaps that’s OK. After all, one of the greatest artists of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso, famously said “Good artists borrow, great artists steal”.

And if it’s true there really is nothing new under the sun perhaps the genius in re-hashing old ideas is just finding surprising ways to present them. Or just moving ordinary things into new situations.

So how about installing a helter-skelter slide for a more interesting trip downstairs? 

Slide Inside a house

(Image Crdeit: Homes & Hues)

Or moving the kids’ sandpit under your desk.

You can dig your bare toes in while you toil at your computer. 

Sandpit under a desk

Image Credit: Bored Panda)

We may love the idea of Bjork’s swan dress.

But actually I'd prefer something a little more…classic for myself.  

Bjork Swan Dress

(Image Credit: New York Post)

Victoria x

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