Borrowed Boundaries


  • As part of the LFA Opening Party, Design Concept Store RB12 kindly decorated the beautiful Minster Building in London. In this essay, Kate Nannery, from the RB12 Design Space & Showroom, explores the theme of Boundaries. 


The theme for this years event is Boundaries and we've been given the task of offering our thoughts and comments on the subject. On receiving the brief we were initially struck by the restrictive nature of this word but this got us thinking...Every space has boundaries, whether that be the actual structure of the space with dividing walls and area limitations or they could even be design limitations such as compact spaces or haveing to stick to a strict client plan or vision.


We were inspired by an idea made popular by the respected gardener and broadcaster Monty Don - best known for presenting BBC's Gardener's World and the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. In one of his recent programmes, he talks about the idea of 'Borrowed Landscapes' within garden environments and we thought that could translate well into the interiors and architecture world.


The idea behind borrowed landscapes is that your garden is not restricted by its borders and limits and you can in fact use (or borrow) the landscape around you and factor that into the way you design your space. This way of designing is something we have seen first hand during our travels. In the Imperial Palace Gardens, Tokyo - home to the Emperor of Japan - this concept has been used. Above the beautiful, perfectly kept gardens filled with the traditional Irises, bamboos and mosses typical of this type of garden, you can see the highrise, metropolis architecture of Tokyo poking over the high stone walls. This gives a beautiful contrast to the space and the two landscapes contradict each other in an unlikely, but heavenly way. It's interesting to remember that this Garden wasn't actually built with this intention and since its completion in the late 1800's the city to Tokyo has been build up around it, borrowing the beauty within its walls.


Contrasting landscapes at the Imperial Palace Garden in Tokyo


We believe this concept can and has been interpreted into the design of the infrastructure of our cities, homes and green spaces in the UK too. When designers and architects build and plan spaces there is no doubt that they are influenced by the boundaries and the landscape around them. The landscape can weave its rich tapestry of form and colours that frame spaces with a richness you can borrow for your own space.


Autumn colours glowing against a dark green hedge, with a depth of vision provided by neighbouring trees and fields in the distance.


It is key to start by looking at the bigger picture. What was on the land before and how does the lie of the land affect your design decisions? It's so important to make decisions that are compatible with the land, both in and beyond your boundaries. Even with the restrictions given by boundaries, we've realised that you cannot forget to reflect on what's beyond your immediate borders and use it to enhance your interior and exterior spaces.


The windows of buildings frame your landscape and it is important to consider how this view will change throughout the seasons. The placement of your outdoor furniture should be highly considered, with the best possible views in sight.


At RB12 we have beautiful collections which push the traditional boundaries of outside/inside and vice-versa. Fabula Living has just released two new rug designs that can be used in both indoor and outdoor environments. These hand-woven rugs would be a wonderful touch to any transitional area from an interior to an exterior space. Patricia Urquiola designed a range for GAN rugs which was their first exploration into outdoor environments. The collection consists of rugs, mats, roll pillows and cushions that can be arranged in many different ways, creating infinite possibilities for outdoor living. The collection is influenced by the Orient and invites its users to sit back, relax and lay out in the divine summer sun.



Another brand reaching out of traditional boundaries is the outdoor lighting collection from Masiero. The Masiero R&D team developed a special Drylight® technology which enabled them to create and offer a complete range of outdoor lighting but in stunning chandelier forms. You wouldn't believe it, but these luxurious-looking lights are highly durable, waterproof but still light and easy to install. Another excuse to get out in the garden, even at night.


We'll leave you with a quote from iconic Dutch landscape designer and architect, Piet Oudolf;


"A building needs green. Plants have a human scale and change over time, every day you see something different and that's stimulating for a lot of people.”

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