You want to open a high-end business venture such as a gastronomic restaurant, a fancy cocktail bar, a luxurious hotel, and you want to go for the very best materials for your interior design?
You’re renovating your house or villa and you want your friends and relatives to marvel at the refinement of your decoration?
You’re on the right page!
With the economic boom, Vietnam and its larger cities such as Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi have seen the surge of countless luxurious establishment and villas, competing for the most extravagant and rare decoration and materials. More than often however, the tendency is to use your classic “go-to” luxury materials, namely gold and marble, which are not the most subtle choices, and definitely not the most original.
With this article, you will discover 7 under-the-radar yet extremely refined materials that will definitely set you apart and give your interiors an incredible personality that won’t be matched easily!
1. Shou Sugi Ban
We bet you didn’t know about this one ! Or at least, not under his name.
Shou Sugi Ban is a Japanese term for an 18th century technique based on burning or charring wood, most commonly from the Cypress tree. Nowadays, manufacturers char all sorts of wood, ranging from Siberian larch to pine, spruce, or birch.
This very special technique makes for some very unique material that you won’t see very often, and that will for sure impress your guests.
After selecting your wood, it will be burned with a high-intensity torch, then wire-brushed to remove excess charcoal. This process will reveal a rich, dark, brownish-black color. Finally, the wood is cleaned with an air compressor or a wet cloth, and, once perfectly dried, the material will be oiled.
Shou Sugi Ban isn’t only original, it is also a very durable and sustainable material, making it the perfect choice for a refined interior for nature lovers. Being waterproof, Shou Sugi Ban can also be used outside, and should withstand the Vietnamese rainy season beautifully.
2. Geodes, Agate, Lapis & Quartz
You think that marble is overrated and way too common, but you want to give your villa that unique mineral look?
Look no further: these semi-precious stones are made for you!
With these materials, you will get the “marble-effect” you're originally looking for, but with a much more vibrant choice of colors, with countless shades of blue, purple, orange, green, and more!
Agate and minerals such as Lapis and Quartz give a very sophisticated and cosmic look to your rooms, and will work exceptionally well in kitchen, fireplaces and bathrooms. They will also make great countertops and coffee tables.
With their complex patterns, they look best when associated with simple furniture and solid colours.
Brass is to gold what agate is to marble: a wonderful and original alternative!
Less flashy than gold, brass has been present in western Home decor since the roaring 20ies, making frequent comebacks in the 1970's and 80's, and has been as such one of the most timeless metals. Its shine, lacquer and malleable properties has been for decades a trademark of some of the most gorgeous homes, restaurants and bars.
The beauty of Brass is that it can fit so many different atmospheres: Art Deco and Industrial of course, but also Oriental, since brass and intricate motifs have been present in the Arab world for centuries.
Pure raw brass doesn’t rust, making it especially relevant in challenging environments such as your bathroom and outdoors, and is, of course, a must-have for your lighting equipment.
It pairs beautifully with all kinds of wood and bold colours such as Navy, Emerald green and Reds, giving a rich look to your interior.
4. Clay and Ceramics
Frequently used in interior design as tiling, clay is a durable, non-porous, and versatile material that can be used in numerous innovative ways.
When speaking of ceramics and clay, we bet you are thinking about pottery, small ustensils, and other decorative artifacts. If you’re not wrong, and if clay and ceramics can very well complement interiors to give them some comfort and substance, these materials can be used in more ambitious ways!
Think full murals or partitions made of bespoke clay art and terracotta, making for some very unusual and creative decoration.
With their earthy tones of browns, reds and oranges clay and terracotta will grant your house or villa an inimitable warmth, while being awesome at insolating your rooms, making them perfect for the hot and tropical weather of Vietnam.
Once again, we are considering using a very ancient technique to give your interior a refined look. Parchment is a thin material made from animal skin, used as a durable writing surface.
Its popularity rose again during the age of Modernism, in the 1920s, when dark wood and ancient tapestries were replaced by a much neutral and lighter color palette.
Parchment is stretched and scraped under tension, resulting in a stiff and translucent texture.
Nowadays, this material is mostly used in high-end furniture or wall-paneling systems. It can also be applied on various surfaces like doors and desks, and its translucent properties make it ideal for lampshades and partitions.
Its buttery tones of taupe, cream and copper are fabulous for retro and minimalistic interiors.
6. Oxidised metals
If at first, it might sound counter-intuitive to use rusted metal for luxurious interiors, don’t be fooled: the applications of oxidized metal are virtually endless and will definitely set you apart from the commoners.
Are you worried about the longevity of such materials?
Have no fear, the metals are tempered with acids to create their “aged” effect, then sealed with layers of oil and wax to protect them. It is actually this process that make this material quite pricey.
The matte surface of oxidised metals works very well with shiny elements like glass or even plants, providing an amazing contrast. Oxidised metals also pair beautifully with other dark tones, like black or browns.
We kept this one for last, as it is probably the most exclusive and sough-after material of this whole list!
Large fossils are incredibly rare and hard to come by, but incorporate into interior architectural design like nothing else, with a profound effect on the viewers.
If you are going for a sense of awe and want to have everyone marvel at your interior, fossils are very hard to compete with, being so universal and visually striking.
Being in the presence of organisms such as Ammonites, megalodon, fishes, dinosaurs, plants and more, dating millions or billions of years can only be packed with intense emotions!
Costing hundreds of thousands dollars for the largest pieces, fossils are definitely one of the most expensive material for interior design you could get your hands on.