An interior history as a concept brings together history and interior design with a particular emphasis on addressing the spatial and temporal qualities that are implicit in both practices. Titled ‘Towards an Interior History’, this paper focuses on a process of making, hence the word ‘towards’ an interior history. It is not yet in a position to define what an interior history is – to answer the question ‘what is an interior history?’ – and may never be. By the end of the paper, it is hoped that questions such as ‘How does an interior history work?’ ‘How does it function?’ will be understood as more useful to pose. Why? Because dominant models of history and interior design have produced particular kinds of histories of interior design – ones which privilege the visual, hence objects and permanent architectural elements, as well as structures of enclosure and containment. An interior history as a concept celebrates the role of history in the production of the new and seeks to respond to current forces emerging in the design of interiors – for example, temporality, movement, change, encounters. The position here is not one of criticism and a quest for a better history, an attempt to re-write the past in order to re-right. The term ‘inter-story’ – formed from a conjunction between interior and history – is introduced as a technique for re-thinking history and interior design and as an approach to be taken up in a movement towards an interior history in the making of an interior history.

Published: 2004-05-29