2016 Inception Award | MEANING(FULL) interiors

Emiko Carter


the universe according to MoMA


A not-so gentle manifesto…

I am for meaning(full) interior architecture.
That is complex in the density of its intertextual references. Laden with historical and theoretical reminders; but with a clarity of purpose. Explicit in the recognisability and implication of its symbols and forms that engage one’s focus and endorse a heightened state of awareness.

I believe interior architecture has a responsibility to facilitate change. Revealing and re ecting perhaps unfavourable truths about the rich and diverse qualities of this human existence. Opening a provocative space where social contradiction may sit side by side, rather than being resolved in a mythic synthesis of white walls and endless light; that questions the controlling and constructed nature of our interior reality.


The white cube typology for galleries/museums provided for my thesis a site through which I could examine the current nature of the human condition. Imagined as a kind of microcosm, almost like a doll house, or maze; where one’s autonomy is negated by its interior design.

In other words, I found galleries are spaces where arguably our whole social discourse is and so provided something of a metaphor, to expose in an Orwellian sense how passive and homogeneous

a society we have become, and how that is encouraged through our gallery interiors. I found that society today is driven by predominantly super cial and insecure motivators and that we’ve become more attached to some contradictory notion of comfort over freedom. So much so that we allow our behaviours to be dictated in response to interior features and conditions.

As a consequence, the gallery in its current state, produces human relationships and behaviours
that mimic their seamless and monotonous appearance. And hence promote a sole sense of reality, consciously engaging in duplicity to maintain systems and hierarchies of power. Again reinforced by their transparent, timeless and ideal structures that rely on our insecurities to promise obedience.

In light of this, I chose the site MoMA New York as an example of the white cube gallery and my research sought to theorise an interior condition that may disrupt this phenomenon gallery interiors propagate of sole reality; through the design of an unsettling speculation that more accurately re ects the temporality, and dynamic realities of this human experience.

Through processes of literature review, grafting, collage and comparison I investigated the abstract architectural possibilities of “revolution” through a split interior.

I hoped to reinstate elements of time to a previously contextless space, to expose the hyper controlled nature of the interior environments we inhabit. Drawing on and re ecting historical precedents, key moments in popular culture and thinkers including Pink Floyd, Andy Warhol and Guy Debord, Interior Architecture design processes are engaged as narrators; intervening to literally and metaphorically open up a physical and psychological “other” reality that exaggerates, like a gentle satirical comedy, the humans’ paci ed state.

Ultimately, the hyper controlled and homogenous nature of the interior environments we inhabit
is exposed and the nal interior intervention is translated through the ready made symbolism

of a gallery divided. To trigger realisations of our desensitisation to the reality architecture favours, and inspire a change in the way we practice and approach design.