I recently received a marketing email from IKEA, inviting me to take a look at the company’s new SVÄRTAN range. I was struck by the incongruity of the use of the Swedish word for "river" to name a collection inspired by and co-designed in India. As a matter of fact however, the adoption of design ideas, appropriated, adapted and sometimes even stolen from elsewhere has long played a role, certainly in British interior design and decoration.
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the choice of the Orient as a means of styling the interior was a fashionable practice for the well-to-do. More recently, the post-modern and twenty-first century deployment of "exotic" motifs can be seen in British shopping centres, for example. Acquiring themes associated with the glamour or mystery of foreign lands has a long history as a tool in the interior designer’s repertoire.
This studio will examine, reflect upon and critique this history, also reviewing theories around global-flow, translocation and post-colonialism.
Arjun Appadurai, Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy in Theory Culture Society 1990; 7; 295
Emmanuelle Gaillard, Marc Walter, A taste for the Exotic: Orientalist Interiors, Thames & Hudson, 2011
Gervase Jackson-Stops, Views of the Royal Pavillion, Pavillion Books, 1991
John Potvin, (ed.) Oriental Interiors: Design, Identity, Space, Bloomsbury, 2015.
Edward Said, Orientalism, Penguin Books, 2003
Michael Turner, Osborne, English Heritage Guides, 2014
Outline of the first seven weeks of study
Week 1: Introduction: aims, outcomes and overview
Week 2: Visit to the Royal Pavillion Brighton
Week 3: Review of photos and drawings of the Royal Pavillion, presentations and class discussion
Week 4: Visit to Leighton House, Kensington
Week 5: The ‘Exotic’ in interior design, talk and class discussion
Week 6: How to construct a dissertation using ideas developed during this studio series
Week 7: Brief presentation and dissertation proposals, class discussion
Studio 1: Another India
Studio 1: Another India will examine, reflect upon and critique the historic use of "exotic" motifs in design.
Studio 3: Music is the Weapon: Performance, Culture and the Music Industry
Studio 3: Music is the Weapon: Performance, Culture and the Music Industry is an exploration of race, gender, class and more in music.
Studio 4: What Not to Wear?
Studio 4: What Not to Wear? will investigate the roles that dress and fashion play in our workplaces.
Studio 5: Imperfect Theories
Studio 5: Imperfect Theories allows you to critically examine any work that can be seen as theory or presents an interesting relationship with theory.
Studio 6: Curating Contemporary Art: From the Wunderkammer to Installation art
Nico de Oliveira
Studio 6: Curating Contemporary Art examines the impact of curatorial practice on art.
Studio 7: Fashioning culture: clothing and the shaping of identity
Dr Lesley Stevenson
Studio 7: Fashioning culture will examine critically the links between fashion, clothing and identity.
Studio 8: Pleasure, Excess and Dirt
Studio 8 explores ideas of category, definition, identification and belonging through the examination of a series of objects and behaviours that appear to be in the wrong place instead of the right place.
Studio 9: The Continuing Lives of Objects
Studio 9: The Continuing Lives of Objects uses debates about change and preservation explore ideas within architecture.
Studio 10: Critical Theory and Critical Design. Artefacts, Images, Sites, Processes in Graphics and Illustration
Dipti Bhagat with Christopher Emmett
Studio 10 requires deep commitment and completion of critical theory and design for graphic design and illustration.
Studio 12: London Walking
Studio 12: London Walking looks at walking as a mode of creatively appropriating the city, with particular attention to our own city, London.
Studio 14: All in the best possible Taste
Dr John Cross
Studio 14: 'All in the best possible Taste' examines the historical influencers of taste, style and fashion.
Studio 15: Music, Technology and Ideas
Studio 15: Music, Technology and Ideas encourages you to explore how and why we make music, including its origin, relationship to technology and more.
Studio 16: Narrative and Storytelling
Studio 16: Narrative and Storytelling will see you produce storygraphs, storyboards and various forms of narrative analysis in the seminars.
Studio 17: Knowing Audiences
Studio 17: Knowing Audiences will encourage you to study an audience group using qualitative research methods in your investigations.
Studio 19: Material in Motion
Studio 19: Material in Motion will explore why an audience will put time, money and thought into acquiring an object.
Studio 20: Image ethics: Form, meaning and context
Dr Nick Haeffner
Studio 20: Image ethics: Form, meaning and context explores the aesthetics of the image and its role within fantasy, desire and social memory.
Studio 21: The Nonsensical Realm III
Studio 21: The Nonsensical Realm is a cross-disciplinary studio. This year it will engage with the idea of metaphor in art, architecture, design and music.
Studio 22: Meaningful work
Studio 22: Meaningful work explores the value of making and the idea of craft as meaningful work.
Studio 23: A Common Thread
Studio 23: A Common Thread examines the relationship between textiles and everyday life, including its design, trade, sustainability and more.