Unapologetic Spaces Through Maximalist Design: A Conversation with Interior Decorator Ram Bucoy
Over the years, we’ve seen plenty of spaces showcasing minimalist design, from houses with clean white walls to Japanese-inspired cafes. Apart from the visual appeal of using neutral colors and simple forms, what makes this design approach appealing is its intention to prioritize what is essential. However, it is refreshing to see maximalism taking the spotlight, brightening up spaces with a variety of colors, patterns, and textures while still focusing on the necessary.
“Maximalist design is all about expressing your individuality and unique perspective with layers over layers and patterns without making an apology for its loudness but also look collected without being unnecessary,” explains Interior Decorator Ram Bucoy when BluPrint visited him in Rue Angelique at Palacio de Memoria in Parañaque City, one of the spaces he designed. Rue Angelique is a retail space that houses carefully curated decorative pieces from around the world.
A Rich Visual Experience
Known for his elaborate design aesthetics, Bucoy’s design style embraces complexity and rich visual experience. It is evident as we explore Rue Angelique where a collection of artifacts, mostly from Europe, surround the place. With Bucoy’s eye for layering, the collections are presented in a way that is coherent despite their difference in origins, both place and time.
“I don’t really have a design process. I do what feels right and looks right. My entire look veers towards lived-in and collected,” Bucoy shared when asked about his design process. He adds: “I like things that are a little bit worn looking and roughed up, mixed in with something new to bring it down a notch and make it more livable.”
Designing a space with a lot of items can be tricky. But a maximalist interior is all about going big or going home according to Bucoy. One should not be afraid to play with layer over layer or pattern over pattern. “A choreography of mixed styles and eras if ever there was one but still looking cohesive without looking overwhelming,” he says.
The interior decorator likes to tell his clients that objects and collections should never distract from the overall balance of the room and the story they are trying to tell. For Rue Angelique, he opted to go for an off-white wall color to make the pieces pop. Each area features pieces with similar themes to create a more cohesive look.
Finding the Right Balance in Maximalism
Working with bold colors and an assortment of patterns and shapes without going overboard is a challenge for some decorators or designers. It is vital to find the right balance between the elements to create a harmonious look for the space.
Bucoy advises to always trust your gut when balancing bold patterns, colors, and textures. He encourages one to be bold and playful and never be afraid to mix colors, textures, and patterns.
“People who know me and follow me on social media know my strong points have always been styling with layers. Despite all the layers, I always make sure flow and comfort comes first,” he further explains. “I absolutely love the relationships that can be created between objects within an environment. Comfort is style and after you’ve figured out the right flow and comfort then you can start embellishing and layering. At the end of the day, the space should be designed for modern day living.”
Moreover, Filipino elements are interesting elements to incorporate into a maximalist design. Bucoy uses such elements in an unexpected way and enjoys the process when styling them in a space. For instance, Bucoy suggests using a Baliwag altar table as a bar table to showcase an expensive alcohol. Another is an a’tay cabinet as a dining room centerpiece for the homeowner’s precious fine china.
“Always remember, your home is your opportunity to showcase not only where you have been in your life, but also who you are now and most importantly, who you hope to become,” says Bucoy.
Lastly, BluPrint asked Bucoy his favorite piece from Rue Angelique. He pointed at the store’s collection of oversized gilded 17th to 18th century mirrors. “They can really add drama to a room especially when mounted over a wall with a fun and patterned wallpaper or a bold wall,” he explained.
Minimalist designs are here to stay but maximalism is surely gaining popularity among interior spaces be it residential or commercial. Embracing colors and patterns can bring a new life to a space.