But it is not marbles, chandeliers, panoramic windows and outrageously expensive things which make a gentleman’s residence. If the person living in it is a gentleman the house will match him: it will be modest, quiet, hospitable, and will have all the necessary comforts without falling over backwards to achieve them. We have all seen old farmhouses which have been done up, furnished in simple good taste, restored with due respect for the original architectural style and with the comforts one really needs. But what we see far more often are Luxuriously Appointed Freaks lived in any old how, decoraded in the Arabic-Bergamasque style, filled with fake baroque furniture (as if there had been no other styles in history), with badly proportioned rooms and colours that clash with each other and stun the visitor. These are uncultured houses, built by uncultured builders for uncultured tenants.
When a lot of money comes along before culture arrives, we get the phenomenon of the gold telephone. And when I say culture I don’t mean academic knowledge, I mean information: information about what is happening in the world, about the things that make life interesting.
Taken from “Design as Art” by Bruno Munari.