Depending on where you live, the bulk of 2020 was likely characterized by spending a lot of time at home. The early pre-fall lockdown days of baking banana bread, bingeing Love is Blind, and streaming pilates classes eventually gave way to a more serious contemplation about the way we live, and the space in which we do it.
Perhaps it was your Nth zoom call of the day that caught you off-guard wondering "why do my co-workers and I all have exactly the same plants?" that sparked a more thoughtful connection to the interior design of your space. Now that you're really living there, that is to say, working, eating, exercising, and possibly newly cohabitating, there's never been a more appropriate time to seek out some inspiration to make home feel more like home.
Apartamento has been supplying inspiration for the home since the magazine launched in 2008, preferring to take the reader for a peek inside the stylish dwellings that actually feel lived-in, compared to the glossy show-home style editorials of other titles. Below we've spoken to Apartamento editor Robbie Whitehead to gauge his thoughts on interior design in 2020 and explore some of his and the editors' highlights from the latest issue, including a look inside the homes of and interviews with Martine Rose, Tunde Wey, Ottega Moshfegh, and Olivier Mossett.
How do you think our relationship to interior design has changed this year?
The way we arrange our interiors and the things we have in them still says so much about who we are, so maybe our relationships with them haven’t changed that much. That said, with the pandemic perhaps we’ve all become a bit more aware of the spaces we inhabit, the way the light changes during the day or with the seasons. The mood or the sounds in the middle of the day when we’d normally be at work — we’re probably giving some more thought to the things we choose to have around us and the way they make us feel, what we don’t need, what we think we do need. But when we’re forced to spend all our time at home like in the first lockdown earlier this year, the real questions that seem to be raised are more about privilege and the disadvantages of living in big cities.
What do you think makes a compelling interior in 2020?
What separates a compelling interior in 2020 from one last year, or in 2014, or 1999 (technology and trends aside)? It’d be hard for me to say. After all, what we’re most interested in is how the personalities of the people that we feature in the magazine are reflected and manifested in their domestic habitats. We could be just as interested in a cluttered, unorganized space as a slick, curated one with the price tag to go with it. We see interiors as incredibly intimate portraits that showcase different ways of living that we find inspirational. If I had to say something about interiors in 2020 though, the things that are surely the most compelling in times of Covid-19 are homes with nice light, big open spaces, and access to the outdoors.
"London-born fashion designer Martine Rose is a very cool woman. She’s obsessed with people – outsiders and weirdos (London’s finest!) but also the ordinary bankers who get the bus into the City every day, or the bus drivers who drive them there – and so people have become the bread and butter of what she does. Her approach to fashion hinges on community, subculture, subversion – the grit and realness that make this city what it is. In this odd moment for the fashion industry, but also for the world at large, that feels radical. Community is everything.
She was so warm and welcoming when she invited us in the north London-home she lives in with her partner and their two kids, making us tea and toast, chatting to us about her upbringing at the center of a huge Jamaican family, her love of rave culture, her illicit teen nightlife. A cool woman! I told you." - Apartamento contributing editor Maisie Skidmore.
"Tunde is an artist, writer, and chef, originally from Lagos but has been living in the States since he was a teenager. We came across his work a few years ago when we were putting the third annual Apartamento Cookbook together, to which he very kindly contributed his recipe for Jollof Rice.
It was always in the back of our minds to ask whether he’d be up for a feature in the magazine, and that came to the forefront when he published a series of texts on the state of the restaurant industry in the States after the first lockdown earlier this year. The texts really piqued our interest, so for this issue, we brought the idea up with him. Luckily he agreed, on the condition that writer Ruth Gebreyesus interviewed him for the piece. We find ourselves working more and more with fascinating figures within the world of food which is why we wanted to hear more about his views which run counter to a lot of the discourses we’re used to hearing."
"A few years ago I came across Ottessa Moshfegh and read her collection of short stories titled Homesick for Another World. It blew me away and is, generally speaking, something I’ve never come back from. I lent the book to a bunch of people, including our co-founder Nacho, and since then we’ve always talked about trying to feature her.
"Ahead of this issue it all kind of fell into place. We have a close friend, Oliver Mol, a writer from Australia who road-tripped around the US a few years ago to read from his work wherever someone could put him up for the night. On the way, he met Ottessa’s husband, Luke Goebel. We thought Oliver would be a perfect fit to interview Ottessa; he’s just finishing up his new book and the two of them really clicked when talking about the process of creativity and the honesty and strength they need to pour into their work." - Apartamento deputy editor Maddie Willis
"This story was pitched to us by our long-time contributor Jocko Weyland. Jocko, who lives in Tucson, Arizona, is a writer, artist, and editor who first contributed to our fourth issue, almost 11 years ago now. Whenever he comes to us with an idea we know it’s going to be good and this story is no exception. Instead of rewriting his words, I’m going to copy and paste the first email he sent me about Olivier. What was extra special about this story is that I managed to convince Jocko, who is a painter, to illustrate the story with his paintings instead of just photographs:
"Alright, I’m pushing Olivier Mosset one more time. Because he’s rad. And the elder statement of Monochromatic painting and if you’re into that sort of thing he’s art historically “important.” And he’s an art wizard that looks like Lord Gandalf and is one of the most generous supportive people in regards to other artists, including Cady Noland, who he is the first person that ever bought her work. And he used to be Jean Tinguley’s assistant and might have slept with Nikki de Saint Phalle. And he knows Fab 5 Freddy and saw the Buttonhole Surfers and also Jimi Hendrix at the Isle of Man. Do I need to say anything more? And has Apartamento ever done anything in Tucson? I don’t think so! So maybe it’s time."
You can buy the latest issue of Apartamento here.