Urban, Interior, Architecture, Design


The conjunction ‘urban + interior’ brings together two conditions which are often posed as dichotomies. Here rather than a relation of either/or – either interior or urban – the relation is one of addition, of putting together in a propositional manner.

Making relations between interior and urban is not new, and especially not in the discourse of interior design and interior architecture. The writings of the philosopher Walter Benjamin are often cited in histories and theories of interiors – dynamics between interior and urban expressed in the relation between the private interior of the collector and the urban industrial city; the flâneur’s urban meanderings and outside-in gaze. Over a hundred years later, the question of how to inhabit the urban is still pertinent but the conditions are different. Delineations of private and public, spatial and temporal relations inflected by industrialisation, globalisation, migration and digital technologies have transformed interior and urban environments.

The proposition of the conjunction urban + interior posed in the current issue of this journal invites consideration and experimentation in relation to questions of inhabitation in urban environments and how might the urban infiltrate interior environments. This involves not only thinking about the conjunction coming from interior design in relation to the urban but also the transformation of the interior by the urban. The photographs and writings of Mark Pimlott, addressing the issue of interior territories and the public interior, and the architectural historian Charles Rice and his work on interior urbanism are significant contemporary contributions to and examples of the criticality and potential of this conjunction.



Author Biographies

Suzie Attiwill, RMIT University

Suzie Attiwill’s research practice poses questions of interior and interiority in relation to contemporary conditionsofliving,inhabitation,subjectivity,pedagogyandcreativepractice.Theresearchisconducted through a practice of designing with a curatorial emphasis that focuses on spatial, temporal and material relations. Suzie is an associate professor of Interior Design and deputy dean of Learning & Teaching, RMIT School of Architecture and Design, Australia. From 2005 to 2012, she was program director, Interior Design. Suzie is a member of the Affective Environments Laboratory – http://aelab. org/. From 2006 to 2012, she was chair of IDEA (Interior Design/Interior Architecture Educators Association). She holds a PhD by research practice (Interior Design), RMIT University.

Elena Enrica Giunta, Politecnico di Milano

Elena Enrica Giunta, PhD, is a designer. Her research interest is focused on the specific implications, arising from places and artefacts, of intangible assets (both social and cultural) and their use toward the innovation of systems and the empowerment of communities. She is a member of GIDE (Group of International Design Education) and coordinator of the international Master in Urban Interior Design (MUID) at Politecnico di Milano. Since 2003, she has been involved in research programs, both national and international, on topics addressing interior design at an urban scale and design strategies for cultural heritage enhancement. Recent publications include Pro-occupancy (2012) and Design Research on Temporar y Homes – Hospitable Places for Homeless, Immigrants and Refugees (2014).

Davide Fassi, Politecnico di Milano

Davide Fassi is an associate professor in the Design Depar tment, Politecnico di Milano and Tongji University (Shanghai) where he is director of the Master in Product Service System Design. Davide is an architect and has a PhD in Technological Innovation for Architecture and Industrial Design from the Politecnico di Torino. He teaches in the BSc Interior Design and MSc Product Service System Design programs at the Politecnico di Milano. Davide is co-ordinator of GIDE (Group of International Design Education) and a member of the international co-ordination committee at DESIS Network (Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability). Publications include In-Trattenere (2010) and Temporary Urban Solutions (2012). Davide conceived Coltivando, the convivial garden at the Politecnico di Milano (see IDEA Journal 2014 for an article on this project) and Il sabato della Bovisa, two social design projects in Milan.

Luciano Crespi , Politecnico di Milano

Luciano Crespi, architect, is a full professor of design in the School of Design at Politecnico di Milano, president of the Interior Design program, a member of the PhD Faculty Board of Design, head of the postgraduate international Masters in Urban Interior Design and of the postgraduate Master in Exhibition Design. He is also coordinator of the DHOC (Interior Design for Hospitable Cities) research group at the Department of Design, Politecnico di Milano, which addresses the design of interior and exterior urban spaces. Among Luciano’s projects are Soncino Square in Cinisello Balsamo, near Milan and the redevelopment of Lambruschini Street, Milan. Recent publications include The City As (2011) and Da spazio nasce spazio. L’interior design nella riqualificazione degli ambienti contemporanei (2013).

Belén Hermida, Politecnico di Milano

Belén Hermida is a practising architect and educator from Spain with an international education. Her current PhD thesis is The Design of Urban Space: Three Squares by Rafael Moneo, with whom she worked between 1989 and 2007. Since 2013, she has been a partner at Urban Networks

in Madrid, a firm whose main task is the creative transformation of cities. She also teaches and researches in the group Re-thinking Cities, at Universidad CEU San Pablo in Madrid, Spain. She coordinates the Bilingual Program in Architecture and co-directs (MUID) Master in Urban Interior Design: Public Living Spaces in Contemporary Cities taught at CEU Madrid and Politecnico di Milano, where she is a visiting faculty member.


How to Cite

Attiwill, Suzie, Elena Enrica Giunta, Davide Fassi, Luciano Crespi, and Hermida Belén. 2015. “URBAN + INTERIOR”. Idea Journal 15 (1):2-11. https://doi.org/10.37113/ideaj.vi0.266.