Caught between architecture and design, interior architecture has long suffered from a lack of autonomy, theorising and consideration. In this essay, Javier Fernández Contreras, Head of the Department of Interior Architecture at HEAD – Genève, offers an original approach to his field of expertise, which he defines as a node between architectural and visual culture.
The author posits that our experience of architecture is shaped as much by a direct relationship as by a network of mediatic representations. If cinema and the web have accelerated the overlapping of these multiple modes of experience and mediation, the author suggests viewing these mutations in the context of a longer history. Hence, he traces the technical mediation of the representation of space back to the Renaissance, with the invention of perspective and projection techniques. In modern times, Le Corbusier was the forerunner of a multimedia architectural experience through a cinematic approach to space and the addition of slogans and images that complemented the experience of the built environment. More recently, other architects such as Rem Koolhaas (OMA) have instituted this practice by posing as building constructors as well as brand image strategists.
Because it is situated between long-term architecture and the ever-faster renewal of the media, interior architecture is one of the most agile and influential areas of contemporary creation. Javier Fernández Contreras’ text, in the form of a historical investigation of the relationships and hybridisations between objects and images, advocates interior architecture as a transdisciplinary laboratory of our late modernity.
The work is accompanied by a rich iconography relating to key moments in the spatialisation of images in art and, at the same time, to new ways of representing architecture from plans for a Palladian villa to the Cubist avant-garde in painting, architecture as propaganda by Albert Speer, or the staging of family life according to IKEA.