Whether designing garages, buildings,
clothes or even watches; designers will draw inspiration from many sources and
in many ways. In the case of Ralph Lauren, he will invent characters and
circumstances around which he produces his work. This notion was first brought
to my attention many years ago as a student of design but not until reading about
Ralph Lauren, did this philosophy come back to me. He will create a world
around these characters and through them, create his collections.
What has this to do with Garage Mahal?
Reading the following quote may go some way to explaining.
"I have always been inspired by the dream of
American-families in the country, weathered trucks and farmhouses; sailing of
the coast of Maine; following dirt roads in an old wood-panelled station wagon
; a convertible filled with young college kids sporting crew cuts and sweat
shirts and frayed sneakers. I am
constantly drawing inspiration from everything I see - the places I travel, the
people I know and the movies I see. Sometimes it takes just one thing to excite
a whole sensibility about a world. One photograph of a look, one old jacket,
and then I build it." Ralph Lauren
Take for instance the Streamliner, Garage
Mahal's first project; my inspiration was drawn from the wonderful rounded
shoulders and strong art deco influence of the 1950s Kelvinator refrigerator. A
working machine purchased by the owner but, like the garage, sorely in need of
attention. And so it is with any commission taken on by Garage Mahal, the inspiration for the design may come about as a
result of a few conversations with the client or simply the things I see when
walking through their front door.
So why Ralph Lauren? Other than his design genius and
business sense, he owns an assemblage of exotic cars that is considered to be
amongst the finest in the world?
For three months in 2011, 17 of Ralph
Lauren's collection, representing some of the most prestigious sports car
manufacturers in the world were on display to the public. With this collection,
Ralph Lauren shows that the automobile is a major art form created by the
industry's biggest names: Bugatti, Alfa Romeo, Bentley, Ferrari, Jaguar,
Mercedes-Benz and Porsche. With cars possessed of such appeal, even just as
static art let alone the sensuality of their sound, smell and motion, where
would one begin in designing a fitting space for their display? Perhaps Paris' Musée
des Arts Décoratifs, a starting point of the Art
An art show? An industrial design
exhibition? Or Pebble Beach Concours indoors? For me, it is all three. To set
your one and only classic or your entire collection of cars amidst the clutter
of a disorganised space tells a
story but to create an environment to house your beloved, to best show its gracefulness
or the power of its masculinity, means you are serious and engaged with the whole
concept of the automobile as art, it has the potential to tell the whole story.
Watch this video, judge for yourself.