Does 'luxury' actually mean anything?

‘Luxury.’ In the world of interior design I’m immediately transported to a space where the marble is Carrara, the crystals are Swarovski and the curtains close by a solitary clap. But in today’s market for psychological marketing, this once coveted term might have lost its shine.

  • E-Mail
By  Charlotte Butterfield Published  September 4, 2006

|~|Editor's-pic-body2.gif|~||~|‘Luxury.’ In the world of interior design I’m immediately transported to a space where the marble is Carrara, the crystals are Swarovski and the curtains close by a solitary clap. But in today’s market for psychological marketing, this once coveted term might have lost its shine.

There’s a French proverb that says, ‘it is impossible to overdo luxury’ but it appears we are reaching a point of slight confusion. If you type ‘luxury interiors’ into Google and hit search, it comes back with over three million hits. If you perform the same search of ‘standard interiors’ it returns six million hits — so are one-in-three interiors actually luxury? Of course not.

My own definition of luxury includes sumptuous words such as pleasure; indulgence; exclusivity; superiority; elitism, yet are we all going by the same classifications? Clever developers and manufacturers have tapped into the burgeoning need for individuals to be reassured of their status and sense of self by attaining the most aspirational goods, home, office or holiday destination and are bandying the term ‘luxury’ around with an abandon hitherto unseen.

If all customers want is a pat on the back for ‘having made it’ and buying an apartment that claims to be ‘luxury’ with ‘luxury’ fittings is the metaphorical way to do this, then it cannot fail but cheapen the term for designers and manufacturers that solely do specialise in creating luxurious spaces and products. So what to do?

Just as the ‘exclusive’ interview that appears in multiple magazines or the ‘VIP’ tickets that number almost the same as the standard ones have devalued the terminology, so we must be wary of the same happening to luxury — a term that is so valuable in our industry. So, should the term be categorised in terms of monetary value? Rarity of materials used? Or the most technologically advanced? We live in a city that has redefined the term, and coined the seven-star ideal, but as more and more hotels, restaurants and companies clamour for glamour so the bar is raised. Those who cannot keep up can surely no longer claim to be part of this ideal.

Charlotte Butterfield, Editor
Charlotte.butterfield@itp.com
vv||**||

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code