EOI deadline extended for idea journal (Extra) Ordinary Interiors: Practicing Critical Reflection, 2021


 (Extra) Ordinary Interiors: Practicing Critical Reflection idea journal 1, no. 01 2021

guest edited by Julieanna Preston and Luke Tipene


 (Extra) Ordinary Interiors calls for contributions from academics, research students and practitioners that demonstrate contemporary modes of criticality and reflection on specific interior environments in ways that expand upon that which is ordinary (of the everyday, common, banal, or taken for granted).

This theme has two agendas: First, the desire to amplify critical reflection as a key practice of the disciplines associated with this journal’s readership. In short, to prompt interior designers, interior architects, and spatial designers to be more proactive and experimental in asserting their specialist knowledge and expertise as critical commentary. This asks authors to reconsider the role of critique and criticism in their scholarly and creative works, or, to demonstrate how to reflect critically upon a design and to locate the design’s relation to material, political, social, cultural, historical and geographical concerns. Such an enterprise may reveal whether models of criticality centred on judgement, authority and historicism are relevant, constructive, insightful or generative, or, as Bruno Latour poses, have they  “run out of steam”?1 This exercise may prompt some to revisit key thinkers who pose new discursive, visual and temporal models for critical practice in this recent age of criticality. We draw your attention to Critical Spatial Practice by Nikolaus Hirsch and Markus Miessen, which asks for thinking “about ‘space’ without necessarily intervening in it physically, but trying to sensitise, promote, develop and foster an attitude towards contemporary spatial production, its triggers, driving forces, effects and affects… [to] speculate on the modalities of production and potential benefits of the role of ‘the outsider’”.2


We also look to Jane Rendell’s introduction to Critical Architecture, which asserts that criticism and design are linked together by virtue of their shared interests in invoking social change.3 Whether it takes written, built or speculative form, criticism is an action, which according to Roland Barthes, is a calling into crisis, a moment where existing definitions, disciplinary boundaries and assumptions about normativity are put into question.4

The second agenda of this journal issue takes heed of the ordinary, and how, in its intense observation, what is normal or often taken for granted exceeds itself, becomes extra or more ordinary. Everyday spaces such supermarkets, service stations, laundry mats, hardware stores, parks and four-way street intersections, and banal gestures such as washing the dishes, walking the dog or street sweeping become subject to critical scrutiny and introspection.  Xavier de Maistre’s Voyage Around My Room, Julio Cortázar’s Around the Day in Eighty Worlds, and Virginia Woolf’s The Waves are but a few historic examples that draw out critical depth and aesthetic meaning about ordinary interiors, interiors understood in the most liberal sense.5 What new actions to the crisis of critical commentary lurk restlessly in ordinary interiors?

While a nostalgic or romantic response to this journal’s theme may dwell on interior situations with no special or distinctive features, or explore the persistence and abundance of ordinary interiors, even commonplace spaces, noticed or not, it can not be denied that recent pandemic events world-wide have flung the many facets of everyday life  into crisis, including long-standing notions of proximity, intimacy, hapticity, privacy, freedom and rights to access ‘essential’ services. For many, the world has become home and home has become an internal world, an interior contaminated or augmented by virtual technologies serving as lifelines to a previous highly social and diversified lifestyle. As the interior of one’s domestic space finds coincidence with one’s isolation bubble, many are finding that interiority and interiors are conflating to take on new meaning, new function, and new configuration. Ordinary scenes of dead flies on windowsills, sun rays pointing to poor house-keeping habits, mounting bags of uncollected rubbish and recycling, shuffling of mattresses, improvised work surfaces, revised chores rubrics, commandeering of the bathroom, and the commodity of headphones and adapters highlight an intensified condition.


Authors are prompted to practice a form of critical reflection on one (extra) ordinary interior.

Contributions for this issue can take one of the following forms:

DESIGN RESEARCH PAPERS that demonstrate development and engagement with interior design/interior architecture history, theory, education and practice through critique and synthesis. The focus is on the documentation and critical review of both speculative research and practice-based research.

PROJECT REVIEWS that critically evaluate existing built and un-built design-based works which seek to expand the nature of spatial and theoretical practice in interior design/interior architecture and associated disciplines.

VISUAL ESSAYS that use a combination of visual and graphic imagery (with or without text) to describe, communicate or represent an interior space or experience through a specific lens, approach or critical position.

INTERVIEWS with prominent theorists, scholars, academics, practitioners or other experts from the interior design/ spatial design/ interior architecture their associated fields.

REFEREED STUDIOS incorporate the creative and investigative work of a collaborative team made up of academics and students researching through design activity on a specific issue in detail. Rather than simply reporting the results, the article articulates questions, methods, historical and/or theoretical background and reflects critically on the design process and design responses.

PROPOSALS FOR BOOK REVIEWS to encourage debate into the emerging literature dedicated to the expression and expansion of the theory and practice of spatial design, interior design/interior architecture.


Authors are invited to register their interest by 1 September 2020. An EOI is a 1-page PDF document that includes the author(s) name, affiliation (if any), email address, working title, the form the contribution will take, one key image of the interior, and a brief statement describing the specific interior and outlining the approach, question or issues that will be explored. The EOI is reviewed by the guest editors only; it is not refereed. The EOI is a signal of the author’s intent to submit a full draft; it provides the editorial team with a sense of the topics being addressed and the scope of the review process. Guidelines for the full submission can be found on the idea journal website: http://idea-edu.com/journal/index.php/home/index.

EOIs and questions specific to the idea journal and/or this themed issue can be directed to Chief Editor Julieanna Preston: j.preston@massey.ac.nz.

Important dates:

15 May 2020                       CFP distributed

15 Sept 2020                      EOI due

1 Oct 2020                           Acknowledgement and editors’ comments on EOI sent out

15 Jan 2021                         Full draft for review due (late drafts will not be accepted)

16 Jan – 1 Mar 2021          Double-blind peer review process

15 Mar 2021                       Notification

15 May 2021                       Revised articles submitted

1 June – 1 Aug 2021          Copy editing, proofing, layout, check permissions, layout

15 Sept 2021                      Journal issue published



1Bruno Latour. “Why Has Critique Run Out of Steam? From Matters of Fact to Matters of Concern.” In Critical Inquiry - Special issue on the Future of Critique. Vol 30 n 2,  pp.25-248, Winter 2004.

2Nikolaus Hirsch and Markus Miessen, “Architecture and Critical Spatial Practice.” Accessed 1 May 2020. https://www.criticalspatialpractice.org.

3Jane Rendell, Jonathan Hill, Murray Fraser and Mark Dorrian (Eds), Critical Architecture (Oxon UK, USA and Canada: Routledge, 2007), 4.

4Roland Barthes, Criticism and Truth, Translated and Edited by Katrine Pilcher Keuneman (London and New York: The Althone Press, 1966).

5Xavier de Maistre, Voyage Around My Room, Translated by Stephen Sartarelli (New York: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1994); Julio Cortázar, Around the Day in Eighty Worlds, Translated by Thomas Christensen (San Francisco: North Point Press 1986); Virginia Woolf, The Waves [1931] (California: Harvest Books, 1978).