Back to the past….and into the future!
I have always loved history. To me we cannot know where we are going until we know where we have been. There is so much historical architecture and interior architecture in this stunning country that I cannot get enough of it. Nothing to me is better than having a National Trust day out. On this particular occasion I ventured out for the day to Kingston Lacy in Wimborne Minster, Dorset.
Kingston Lacy is a beautiful stately home that was built to house the Bankes family for more than 300 years. It is a house that reveals itself to you and is a monument that has stood the test of time in remembrance of this family and all the memories made there. The families origins date back to Corfe Castle, Wareham, Dorset another site that I have been fortunate enough to visit not far away.
Unfortunately they lost their home in Corfe Castle due to war and made their home in Kingston Lacy. Here they prospered and built a home that enriches ones experiences. The extravagance of the building and its interiors are inspirational as well as how it lends itself to the 3500 hectare landscape that surrounds it.
Revealing the design inside the history
There are so many aspects of this experience to talk about such as the architecture, interior architecture and the landscape design. It reminded me of one of the greatest statements made by one of my favourite Architects ,and remains at the foundation of what I would like to achieve as a designer . It was Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe who said that ‘We should attempt to bring nature, buildings and human beings together in higher unity.’ Kingston Lacy to me achieves this successfully.
Entering the estate the building it set back. Like a great masterpiece waiting to be discovered. Immediately the landscape appears to be shaped around the building but actually the two work together creating a union that is awe inspiring.
One of the greatest attractions at this time of year are the Snow Drops that shower the grounds. When entering the gardens which they can be seen in it is almost as if you are entering a secret garden with hidden gates that lead you in and out of it. Detailed design is even found in the gardens. The gates, sculptures and pathways working in conjunction with nature, together make each new view rather magical. Entering the garden of Snow Drops gave me a feeling of renewal as spring approaches. Re-energising the creative senses as I was ready to approach the building itself.
The architecture has a Classical Palladian style to it but the details of the building are carefully arranged along the facades. I took delight in the small details though looking at the exterior random inspirations appear out of nowhere. Little inspirations can spark the life changing concepts in design at least that is what I have found. The structure has stood the test of time and its classical lines with ornate details very carefully chosen displays a balance that as a designer I would hope to achieve in my work. Even though the building itself was built and designed over a longer period of time, much longer than we sometimes get to do design in this present day. But designing to me should never be far from this thought of giving the time needed to produce work that will last and effect generations to come.
The details continue further as you enter the building with arbitrary collections such as keys and locks that date back all the way to when the family lived in Corfe Castle. Egyptian tablets and sculptures that were found in a shed on the grounds but have significant historical value. This house unravels itself and is full of interesting design details in the furniture and structural surfaces whether it be on the ceiling, walls or stairwells. Everywhere you look there is a feast for your eyes and always something to marvel over.
The craftsmanship in pieces collected over the hundreds of years that this family resided in this house for, only motivates me more to be able to create a piece of such outstanding splendour. The attention to detail even in carvings on a chest that was something out of a fairy tale sparked my imagination to think of what stories these walls could tell. The interiors in every space of this building told a story which captivated the mind and heart. Allowing new ideas to arise that I look forward to using in my own work.
Kingston Lacy reveals its mysteries to you layer by layer and even when leaving you feel there is much more to be discovered. I left here with my spirits lifted and with an eye opening experience looking forward to what else is out there to be discovered. I asked myself the question of what have other architects and designers from the past left behind for us to uncover. I look to the future with the thought of wanting to achieve what these artists, designers, engineers and architects have done before me. Producing work that leaves a legacy and lifts the human soul to aspire to be more. To try to bring beauty and timeless design into the bright future ahead.