Urban interior: interior-making in the urban environment

Attiwill, S 2011, 'Urban interior: interior-making in the urban environment', in Yeng-Horng Perng (ed.) Proceedings of the 2011 IDA Congress Taipei Education Conference, Taipei, Taiwan, 24 - 26 October, 2011, pp. 217-224.

Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: Conference Papers

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Title Urban interior: interior-making in the urban environment
Author(s) Attiwill, S
Year 2011
Conference name 2011 IDA (International Design Alliance) Congress Taipei Education Conference
Conference location Taipei, Taiwan
Conference dates 24 - 26 October, 2011
Proceedings title Proceedings of the 2011 IDA Congress Taipei Education Conference
Editor(s) Yeng-Horng Perng
Publisher Taiwan Design Center
Place of publication Taipei, Taiwan
Start page 217
End page 224
Total pages 8
Abstract Engaging interior design with questions of urbanism opens up new ways of thinking about how to address the increasing density occurring within cities globally. It is an often cited fact that for the first time in history there are more people living in cities than rural areas. This is expected to continue to increase, transforming cities and people’s lives. It is said that the twenty-first century will be known as the century of the city (Tibaijuka 2010). While interior design and urbanism may seem an unlikely connection, the idea of positioning interior design as a practice engaging with an outside as distinct from addressing the inside of a building finds connections historically and theoretically. This requires a different way of grasping the discipline of interior design from one which assumes it as a spatial discipline which happens inside built form. While ideas of the occupation of empty spaces within the built environment as urban rooms are immediate examples, there are also other potentials especially in the movement away from thinking about interior design as taking place in three-dimensional space. This paper moves to consider interior design as a spatial and temporal practice where the temporal/time is the dynamic context within which interior design practice is situated and involves a process of interior-making in relation to these forces. As an emerging practice through the twentieth century, interior design has been shaped by the forces of contemporary technologies which have challenged and transformed relations between inside and outside, interior and exterior, both spatially and temporally. Concepts of interior and interiority are encountered in contemporary critiques of the modern city. The writings of Mark Pimlott focus on the 'interiorised territory’ of mega shopping malls and other urban developments where there is only within: ‘the antagonistic exterior disappears; one is in a potentially endless environment that offers perpetual itinerancy and an illusion of freedom from which there is no escape’ (Pimlott 2010: 46). This makes one think of the fully functioning ski slope located inside a mall situated in the desert (Emirates Mall, Dubai) and the 24-7 city where there is no night as the lights are never turned off. Pimlott and others point to the increasing individualism that pervades contemporary societies and shapes urban fabrics. Intimate Metropolis is the title of a collection of essays on the modern city where the ‘choice of the word “intimate” reinforces the extent to which the modern city is predicated on the concept of the private individual, and on the sanctity of the individuals; inmost thoughts and feelings’ (di Palma et al. 2009: 1). Interior designers are well placed to critically address the process of interiorization and conditions of interiority and individualism. Interior design as a practice addresses the relation between people and their surroundings/environment specifically as one of inhabitation which addresses both physical and mental conditions. This paper will consider what this positioning of interior design will bring to the question of urbanism through an attention to not only spatial planning but also temporal, social and aesthetic concerns. These ideas have been explored and investigated within a university interior design program working with undergraduate and postgraduate students to test these ideas through design research and scenario-based propositions. Research through design: through different scenarios, propositions and speculations which enable one to think ‘what if?’; through design studios, exhibitions and projects. This approach is critical to design as a practice positioned as an agent of change and transformation. The outcomes from an undergraduate design studio called Urban Rooms which tested different kinds of theoretical approaches to thinking about interior-making; a Masters by Research project which collected and analysed street vendors in Singapore and Taipei in relation to interior design techniques; and projects by a research group called Urban Interior will be presented. This paper will open up the potential of interior design as a critical urban practice for the twenty-first century, ‘the century of the city’.
Subjects Interior Design
Architectural History and Theory
Keyword(s) Interior Design
Interior Making
Urban Environment
Research through Design
Copyright notice © 2011 Author and Taiwan Design Center
ISBN 9789868281738
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