Studio Int 03: Portraits D’Intérieurs

Studio brief

“Rooms are autobiographies written by their inhabitants – they hint (in their bookshelves, in their laundry baskets, in their stained carpets) at how and why a particular life took on its particular form.” Tom Morton, 01 Jan 2004, Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Frieze

Taking the notion ‘room portrait’ – the idea that a room may describe an individual as well as a portraitist might – the studio will develop designs for a series of rooms that are representative or evocative of a person, or a particular character, of each student’s choosing. Through extensive and quality research of their chosen character, and by collecting and making objects that their character might own, each student will generate a narrative that they will use to develop a series of rooms, or enfilade, that reflect the public and most private faces of that character.

The studio will begin by looking at the work of artists such as Marc Camille Chaimowicz, particularly his installation Jean Cocteau – an imaginary bedroom of the poet, inspired by the décor as described in his 1929 novel Les Enfants Terribles – reprised in 2014 for the group exhibition Portraits D’Intérieurs; and at the Grayson Perry/FAT Architecture collaboration, A House for Essex, described as a shrine to fictional character Julie Cope.

The studio will investigate the semiotics of material and colour, and there will be a particular emphasis on experimenting with physical material and model making. The studio will foster an active engagement with colour; we will interrogate the pervasive and subtle values associated with colour – this would include examining “the fear of corruption or contamination through colour”* in the Western cultural tradition, as well as challenging the ‘neutrality of white’.

We will examine what makes a good room, and conversely a bad one; how the sensual qualities of space (sight, sound, touch, smell) affect us; and the ways in which we, sometimes inadvertently, express personality through the choices we make in colour, material and detailing for the spaces we occupy.

* David Batchelor, Chromophobia, 2000. 

A diverse collection of objects on shelving to represent Studio 03


Course Interior Design BA (Hons) 
Tutor Cecilia Sjoholm
Iain Hales
Where Calcutta House
Studio 3, first floor
When Tuesday and Friday

Interiors Studios


Cass Studios archive by year