In contemporary times, much like in the past, love and romance have been distinct concepts. Often, for the sake of financial goals, individuals in love perceive the world differently, becoming less frugal and susceptible to various institutions. But is it really that simple? They tend to be more sensitive, attuned to details, and symbolic meanings of places. The uniqueness of these places requires heightened efforts in creating interiors of love for them. After all, it’s about the highest emotions. In the past, there were various spaces dedicated to lovers, suggesting that being in love became a socially nurtured and protected state. Any actions favoring lovers were optimistically received and widely accepted.
In ancient Rome, there was the Domus Italica – through ornate frescoes, sculptures, and specially arranged chambers, spaces for intimate encounters were crafted. In Pompeii’s public houses, erotic frescoes depicting scenes of intimacy were painted, allowing the client to overcome language barriers when choosing a service.
In the 18th century, during the Rococo and Louis XV era in France, “cabinets of love” emerged. These were private, often hidden, rooms in palaces serving as intimate retreats for lovers. One of the most famous rulers known for creating special interiors for love was King Louis XIV, the Sun King. Louis XIV ruled France from 1643 to 1715 and was a prominent advocate of opulence, luxury, and courtly culture.
King Louis XIV had numerous mistresses, and one of the most well-known instances associated with unique interiors for love was the story with Madame de Montespan, one of his favorites. Allegedly, for his relationship with Madame de Montespan, Louis XIV commissioned the creation of a secret love apartment known as the “chambre de la reine” (queen’s room) at Versailles. This concealed apartment was intended as a space for the king’s intimate meetings with his mistress, lavishly furnished with exquisite furniture and decorations, creating an atmosphere befitting a royal couple.
This is just one of many historical examples of rulers creating special spaces dedicated to love, often within complex court intrigues and romances.
During the Victorian era, especially in England, bedrooms were meticulously decorated with attention to detail. A variety of textiles, ornate beds, and furniture emphasized the romantic character of the interior.
Sacred interiors, such as churches, mosques, synagogues, or other temples, traditionally serve as places for religious practices and spiritual contemplation. The answer to whether they are spaces of fear or love can be subjective, depending on individuals’ experiences and beliefs.
For many people, sacred interiors are places where they experience feelings of peace, tranquility, and love. These are spaces meant to inspire reflection, prayer, and a connection to God or divine ideals. In this context, sacred interiors represent love, community, and spiritual transcendence.
However, for others, especially those with negative experiences associated with religious institutions, sacred interiors may be a source of fear, violence, or tension. History also shows that some sacred institutions are used for manipulation or exerting control, which can evoke negative feelings in some individuals.
In contemporary times, Smart Home technology supports the creation of spaces conducive to love. We can control lighting, temperature, music, even scent. Aromatherapy is a separate field that gives us control over users’ senses. As architects, we have access to all possible means to create a romantic or erotic atmosphere.
Often, romantic interiors are referred to as those somehow rooted in the past; symbolizing a timeless durability of the relationship, a desire to acknowledge that love, like these walls, old chandeliers, frescoes, will last for centuries. In modern interiors, occasionally adding a quote from the past in the form of an artifact, an old column, sculpture, frescoes, we can mimic a similar effect. We have control over the impressions of future users. We can create a story that attracts them, one they will appreciate, and that will be the stage for their love.
However, eroticism is more associated with visual violence (similarly to sacred interiors…). So strong colors, rich or extremely minimalist solutions that overwhelm aesthetically; dark wood, burgundy, browns, purples, gold. Elements that represent power, often domination, and significantly differ from the interiors we live in daily.