Interiors is an evolving yet slippery discipline. Whilst the interior is everywhere, it is nevertheless ephemeral and difficult to define. The interior domain is itself saturated with the everyday artefacts of consumption; it's a platform in which to project lifestyle; a place to benchmark fashionable social mores, to test patterns of behaviour and ritual; and the place of dwelling, sanctuary, memory and association. Interiors is becoming an increasingly diverse field of spatial design enquiry which - through education at least - operates without that familiar artefactual framework so common to partner disciplines of art, product and fashion. Interiors education operates within, and is limited by, paper space abstraction of visualising rather than doing. Whilst others have identifiable notions of disciplinary craft, what is the craft of interiors? Within education and practice, interiors occupy multiple identities, yet its historical, theoretical and contextual framework remains patchy, and is frequently contested and unclaimed territory in comparison to those of other disciplines. How, therefore, might we speculate about the role, validity and purpose of interiors in the twenty-first century? Thinking Inside the Box: A Reader in Interior Design for the 21st Century is an interior theory reader designed to enable students, academics, researchers and practitioners access to the broad and evolving nature of interiors thinking today. This collection of essays, by prominent thinkers, practitioners and key authors in the field from Australia, the UK, Italy, New Zealand, Turkey, Canada and the USA addresses an eclectic range of issues: the theoretical and conceptual nature of ‘doubleness’ between an interiors choreographed image and its actuality in the emergence of the interior; the slow home; textiles and feminism; branding the discipline; the relationship between the interior and the enclave in the contemporary age of terror; the regulation of the profession of interiors and deregulation of education; rereading theories of interior space; Hertzian interior space describing the lived traces of use, occupation and environment, amongst many others. This publication emerged initially from the international interiors conference and exhibition `Thinking Inside the Box: Interior Design Education in the 21st Century: New Visions, New Horizons & New Challenges' at the Lighthouse, Scotland's Centre for Architecture and Design held in March 2007, and organized by the Interiors Forum Scotland. Established in 2005/06.
This reader resulted from continued discussion and a shared concern and passion for the field of interior design. Like the earlier conference and exhibition, this reader is designed to provoke within the international community of interior designers and interior architects a desire to rediscover, reframe and perhaps reclaim the field of interior design; and, through the IFS, to establish an annual conference platform which places interior design / interior architecture firmly at the centre of critical debate, rather than on the margins of other design disciplines. In reading this publication one may sense that interiors, for all its diversity and indeed doubt, is re-emerging as a dynamic spatial activity with shared concerns and challenges: identity, anxiety over unregulated expansion, challenging perceptions, sharing good practice across an international interior community, advocacy, philosophy, reflecting and rethinking our discipline and issues of gender, amongst others. Very early on the IFS explored thinking inside rather than outside the metaphorical box as a vehicle for an event for the interiors community. Thus, began a number of free-ranging discussions about the nature, theory and practice of interior design, about the educational vision driving our institutions, the international dimension, the impact radical practice may have on visionary teaching, the emerging of recent interior research communities and theories, and how we might best promote, support and advocate excellence within this unique discipline. What we all shared, to some extent, was a feeling that, when compared to many design disciplines, interiors is somewhat hazily defined, perhaps undervalued and yet, as a result, full of possibilities. What has made both the IFS and Thinking Inside the Box possible is the relative intimacy of scale of the higher education interiors sector within Scotland, within which there exists a surprising diversity of programmes.
At the time of writing, Scotland supported six honours degree courses in interiors, compared to some two hundred in England and Wales combined. This meant that it was relatively easy for the Interiors Forum Scotland to get started, to get talking and to get doing. However, it would be wrong to mistake small numbers for uniformity. The interiors degree courses of Scotland, situated as they are in different institutions and different cities, represent a wide range of viewpoints on the discipline. Post-industrial, style-conscious Glasgow, where interiors is driven by retail and hospitality, is a world (and fifty minutes on the train) away from staid, bourgeois Edinburgh, where museology, conservation and heritage are only now giving way to other disciplines. The Fine Art traditions of Duncan of Jordanstone, Glasgow School of Art, and Edinburgh College of Art have a very different pedigree to the more practical and professional focus of the former polytechnics. And of course, staff and students, attracted by these combinations of place and ethos, serve to reinforce and exaggerate these characteristics.
The Interiors Forum Scotland (IFS) is a unique collaborative research group!Interiors Forum Scotland (IFS) was initiated, and co-founded by Andy Milligan, Programme Director of Interior & Environmental Design at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design(DJCAD). Other co-founders are Edward Hollis, (IFS Secretary), who leads the Interior Design undergraduate and postgraduate programmes at Edinburgh College of Art; Joyce Fleming is an Interior practitioner and Head of Interior Design at Glasgow Caledonian University; Frazer Hay is Programme Leader!for Interior Architecture at Napier University and Drew Plunkett is Head of Interior Design at The Glasgow School of Art. The editors are all IFS members.
This publication emerged initially from the international interiors conference and exhibition `Thinking Inside the Box: Interior Design Education in the 21st Century: New Visions, New Horizons & New Challenges' at the Lighthouse, Scotland's Centre for Architecture and Design held in March 2007.