Modelling the Interior:

opening up the doll’s house


  • Ana Araujo University College London
  • Ro Spankie University of Westminster



Domestic interior, Spatial design, Interior design


Unlike the architecture that contains it, the domestic interior is not a solid entity, nor is it empty space. Rather, it is a fluid mobile field, filled with the detail of everyday life. Organic and self-organising by nature, the interior provides an enigmatic site for design research and innovation.

One of the problems facing the designer in discussing the domestic interior is the inability to represent it in three dimensions. What is needed is a modelling tool that shifts the focus from form to function, from whole to the fragment, from walls to wallpaper. This paper proposes to retrieve the doll’s house from the toy cupboard and re-examine it as a potential ‘modelling tool’ for interpreting and fabricating the domestic interior. Using a series of case-studies, we propose to use the doll’s house, firstly, as a critical tool to analyse the possible role of the model in the interior. Secondly, we propose to look at ways that the fabrication of a doll’s house might engage the student or designer in a process of making that is comparable to the practice of interior design.


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Author Biographies

Ana Araujo, University College London

Ana Araujo practises in London as a designer, an educator and a researcher. she teaches at the Bartlett school of Architecture, UCL, and at the Chelsea College of Art & Design. Ana is also the co-founder of Atelier Domino ( Ana is interested in the use of textiles as a means to humanize institutional settings – health-care environments in particular. her practice engages traditional, craft-based methods of fabrication such as weaving, embroidery, gilding and block printing. Ana’s work has recently been shown in exhibitions in berlin, Amsterdam and London.

Ro Spankie, University of Westminster

Ro Spankie has worked as an architect and furniture designer as well as an academic. she is currently establishing the new Interior Architecture Degree at the University of Westminster. Fascinated by the role of the drawing in the design process, she has exhibited and published work related to the interior both in the UK and abroad. her book ‘Drawing Out the Interior’ published by AVA Academia came out in the spring of 2009.




How to Cite

Araujo, Ana, and Ro Spankie. 2009. “Modelling the Interior:: Opening up the doll’s House”. Idea Journal 9 (1):62-71.



Design Research Paper