The Covid-19 pandemic has led to billions of people being locked down, all over the world, for long periods.
In this context, on top of their historical role as places of refuge and care, domestic spaces have also been turned into schools, gymnasiums, cinemas, offices and workspaces... Although the current public health crisis is not the subject of the exhibition, At home gives visitors a chance to reflect on the meaning of "having a home" in the past, now and in a post-Covid future, and on the way architects and designers are working on it.
This exhibition addresses that scenario from a critical standpoint,through five themes:
Les visions utopiques / Utopian visions of the home show how the media influence our representations of domestic space, modes of consumption and constitute an idealised, but deformed view of the "home".
L'abri / The shelter reminds usthat the primary function of the domestic space is to protect and that that is not just a requirement for all human beings, but also for all living being and organic matter.
Identités / Identities presents the home as a private sphere where individuals constructand express their identity. It shows how architects and designers are looking for alternatives to the commercialisation and standardisation of the home to guarantee this essential function.
Bien-être / Well-being focuses on the way the protective function has gradually been transformed into a desire to maximise our physical and psychological potential: introduction of nature into houses, commitment to sustainable modes of living and the quest for health and happiness.
La maison connectée / The connected house looks at the promises and dangers offered by domestic technologies: "being at home everywhere or being everywhere from home", "seeing and being seen", etc.
Through a historical approach with images, films, 3D objects and installations, At home offers visitors an overview of the challenge that wanting to face up to a bifurcation in our domestic spaces represents for our architects and designers, but also for all of us.
Penny Sparke is a design historian and professor at Kingston University. For almost 20 years, she taught on and then ran the Royal College of Art/Victoria & Albert Museum design history course in London. She has authored over a dozen books on modern design including An Introduction to Design & Culture in the 20th Century (1986), A Century of Design (1999), and The Modern Interior (2008). She has also curated numerous exhibitions.
Jana Scholze is a curator specialising in contemporary design and an Associate Professor at Kingston University where she is Course Director of the MA in Curating Contemporary Design. Jana Scholze worked for over ten years at the Victoria & Albert Museum where she worked on many exhibitions such as What is Luxury ? and Cold War Modern Design 1945-1972. She is also working on the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial entitled A School of Schools in partnership with the British Council.
Catharine Rossi is also an Associate Professor at Kingston University. Her research work concerns design history, post-war Italian design, crafts and contemporary design. She is a curator and author of several publications and exhibitions on club culture past and present, and in particular she was co-curator of the travelling exhibition Night Fever: Designing Club Culture 1960 to Today, presented, among other venues, at the Vitra Design Museum.