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The Art of Sprezzatura

By Castiglione’s own definition, sprezzatura means “to conceal all art and make whatever is done or said appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it.

Today, this principle – that is to say, the intentional cultivation of “effortless style” – is wide-spread, and indeed, there is a fine line between achieving it and simply being messy or affected. As the tailor Hardy Amies put it, “A man should look as if he’s bought his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care and then forgotten all about them”. The art of Sprezzatura exists somewhere between rebellion and conformity. It does not mean haphazardly doing everything in a way that contradicts all prevailing standards of decency, any more than having good taste means slavishly clinging to norms, tradition and cliché.

Liam Mooney Studio believes that great interior design it not about hifalutin theory or blindly imitating trends, nor is it about bold, outlandish statement pieces that serve no purpose other than to say, ‘I am a bold, outlandish statement piece’. For us, as a design principle, sprezzatura means elegance without affectation.

Well-designed interiors don’t ask you to notice the effort and expense that went into making them. Instead, they prioritise actual human needs and embrace the fact that as people we are sensitive to our surroundings. We experience and relate to a space via the same means we do everything else in the world: our senses. In other words, through colour, texture and light. When these elements are in playful, responsive conversation with the objects and configurations within a space, that is when great design stands out. That is sprezzatura.

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