A designer and architect by training, and artist by heart, I strive to impact lives, challenge norms, and create art through my work. My foundation lies in the design and execution of commercial and residential projects as a part of corporate architecture companies, small design firms and as a freelance Architect. I have brought diversity into my work through creating illustrations, working on community restoration projects, and contributing to social service organizations. As I pursue advanced studies in Interior Design, I endeavour to incorporate elements of research and exploration into my design process.
Make Room – Body | Furniture | Space
This work delves into the nuanced relationship between furniture, space, and the body, questioning conventional perceptions and interactions with elements of the interiors. The exploration is carried out by eliminating, abstracting, and interacting with the form of furniture, and examining the impact on space and body. Elimination of form introduces voids in space that make room for different interpretations for the same furniture. Abstraction simplifies the object form and encourages the participant to provide meaning and context to it. Interaction with furniture under constraints forms new associations with the way body inhabits space. Through these experiments, an ebb and flow between creativity and conformity emerges, highlighting the delicate balance designers must strike between novel aesthetics and functional requirements. Drawing from various historical and contemporary references, from Le Corbusier’s type-objects to the Merzbau, this report underscores the interplay of conventional boundaries and creative outbursts.
Keywords: space, furniture, body, creativity, conformity, perception
Furniture becomes an integral part of the interiors through which designers assert their unique vision and take forward the ideas of Gesamtkunstwerk – the total work of art.1 In doing so they challenge the perception of the viewer by creating distinct forms of site-specific elements that sit cohesively with pre-existing objects.2 The interior views devoid of furniture are reminiscent of looking at paintings within an art gallery. They depict the essence of the space without revealing its intended function. The introduction of furniture instantaneously imparts purpose to the interiors. Layering the intended furniture over its corresponding interiors forms a cohesive and picturesque composition. The juxtaposition of furniture over interior that don’t naturally correspond generates intriguing scenarios. When furniture is placed in an environment that it typically wouldn’t inhabit, it inspires new possibilities and narratives, sparking a dialogue between familiar and the unexpected. When the furniture cutouts are turned over, they become voids. These voids invite playful imagination and creative thinking. This makes room for interpretation, even in a known and iconic space. It tantalizes the imagination and engages the viewer to make their own sense of the unknown.
The Abstraction Experiment aims at understanding how interpretation of an object and its space is based on the perception of a form. By abstracting the form of an object, this experiment removes the crutch of definition, and encourages participants to view the form through their own unique lens. The participants of this experiment are 18 MDes. Interior Design students from the Glasgow School of Art.
The responses of the Abstraction Experiment range from the predictable to the incomprehensible. Beyond commonalities, the responses run the gamut of imagination. The results highlight the key role context plays in interpreting an object from a form and a space from an object. This is evident in the abundance and variety of unique responses. However, the significant number of repeated responses indicates a common thread of interpretation, which exists even in the absence of context, coordination or expectation.
Since the experiment relies on representation of space by the participants, the unprompted illustration of the room itself gives us the opportunity to crosscheck this observation. Above are 8 specific responses. On the left two columns, we see the same object in completely different spaces, and on the right, different objects in the same space. However, hints of conformity are to be found in each similar space as well. All kitchens have square sinks, all bathrooms have round fixtures, the garden must be bound by a fence and the streetlights must be elevated from the poles. Even in creative thinking, there are common threads binding our definitions of what a living room, bathroom, kitchen entails. On the other hand, the unique responses exhibit divergent thinking in creative practitioners. Participants not only break away from established patterns but also stretch their imagination to envision scenarios and form connections that challenge conventional thinking.
Furniture in its inert state resembles sculpture, poised for observation and activation. It’s through interaction that these objects are animated into functional elements within a space. However, this transition is not unidirectional. Deviating from convention encourages imaginative solutions to utilize the same furniture.
The board game is designed with the triad of space, furniture, and body at its core. The space is the board with ‘walls’ on two adjacent corners, hinting at the formation of a space in 3D. The furniture pieces are scaled down to match the wooden mannequins. Here the lack of abstraction forces the user to be creative with the limitations of actual furniture. The body manifests in two parts – actual mannequins and action cards. Georges Perec suggests that the functional divide of an apartment is unequivocal, sequential and nycthemeral!3 The actions are inspired by his model of activities that might take place in a nuclear family.
Certain actions become intrinsically linked to specific pieces of furniture due to habit, functionality and tradition. This experiment predetermines action and furniture. It thereby encourages players to interact with furniture in an unconventional way. One is inclined to pick the bed for sleeping. However, it finds a way to realize the act of sleeping with a coffee table and chair. Not only do the participants end up redefining the relationship between body and furniture but also discover the human form’s adaptability in unfamiliar situations.
The introduction of furniture inherently initiates the definition of space. In this experiment the space becomes the stage where actions are performed. Due to the constraints posed by limited furniture pieces, the space itself is also employed to execute the action. When tasked with the action of washing up with a dining table, one participant used the walls to form a shower cubicle by placing the dining table upright against the intersection of the walls. This highlights the intrinsic human ability to adapt and re-imagine spaces, even when bound by constraints.
We find that the drive for creativity challenges resource constraint, provides avenues for innovation, flexibility in use, and unique aesthetics. However, this is tempered by the conformity which stems from our traditions, necessity of daily functions, and restrictions of spaces and objects. The constraints of our body are also transformed into the constraints of the interiors. This push and pull defines the framework in which an interior space must be designed. This work encourages interior designers to question the familiar and embrace the unfamiliar. Its application can go beyond furniture to include objects, fixtures and other elements of interior design. Apart from the design aspect, this approach may kindle environmental considerations, societal impacts, and efficient resource utilizations.
This study considers an inward development of the interior starting from the body. It acknowledges the confines of architecture but allows for a creative outlook, independent of its structures. As the world progresses, it becomes necessary to re-imagine spaces, rethink associations to furniture, and find better homes for our bodies. It becomes necessary to make room.
The Host – Community Garden
“Atithi devo bhava,” an ancient Hindu adage, equates guests to gods, emphasizing their supreme importance. However, “hosting”, while a privilege, can also become burdensome, requiring selfless service and accommodation of guests’ needs. In the “host-parasite” relationship, exemplified in horror movies, malevolent spirits target individuals in moments of vulnerability, granting supernatural powers through possession, despite the disturbing nature of the experience. This union provides extraordinary strength and abilities, fulfilling desires for superhuman powers. Both relationships with the host bring simultaneous advantages and disadvantages, akin to thorns accompanying roses or shadows with light, embodying life’s dualities and their harmonious coexistence.
The Gantry, composed of concrete, steel, and stone, contrasts with the surrounding unkempt grass and moss, creating a captivating interplay between rigidity and fluidity, order and chaos, man-made and natural elements. This mirrors the concept of hosts where opposing elements coexist harmoniously.
The research on Host and the Site has given rise to a concept of duality—a fusion of opposing elements. The aim is to create a communal space, reminiscent of the lost St. Vincent Loch (present before the construction of the railway lines), where nature and man-made structures harmonize, offering a place for rejuvenation, learning, and a sense of ownership—a Community Garden.
Nestled within Finnieston’s urban context, the garden offers a unique perspective. To the North, Victorian architecture stands in contrast to the modern steel and glass structures in the South. Despite the disparity, this steel and glass structure allows one to embrace both vistas simultaneously. Steel girders serve a dual role by supporting the structure, concealing drainage, and offering support to the climbers. Bloomframe windows serve as both balconies and picturesque viewing points. The garden merges indoor and outdoor spaces with its adaptable retractable glass roof.
The material board highlights shades of green, from girders to flooring, and incorporates plant elements like wall creepers and terracotta herb pots. Warm materials like wood and veined marble enhance the interior ambiance, accentuated by golden touches in railings and lampshades.
Nature & Man-Made. Inside & Outside. Host & Guest. Organic & Rigid. Temporary & Permanent. Dynamic & Static.
The Community Garden,, is a space that exalts these dualities. It not only peacefully coexists with nature but revels in it, blurring the lines between interior and exterior, enabling versatile use and evoking varying moods. It extends a welcoming hand as a host, but, in return, it craves the tender care and affection, akin to a guest. Inside its structured framework, one discovers organic shapes, sparking contemplation on the distinction between temporary and permanent. Nature, with its ever-changing leaves and blossoms, paradoxically embodies the essence of enduring continuity. While the design might appear static, the dynamic interplay of plants ensures that it’s in a perpetual state of transformation. This exemplifies the Harmony of Opposites.
Pause – A Wellness Centre
Sauchiehall Street may reminds one of a favourite grandparent at first glance. Having an active and exciting prime as a hub of activity, one can’t help but feel a pang of sadness on noticing how it’s a mere shade of it’s former self. One may catch the occasional glimpse of the fancy tearooms, shops that sold the latest fashion or remnants of the cinema that played new releases weeks ahead of the district cinemas. However, the impact of tough years and the pandemic is impossible to overlook.
Block 5 is an interesting amalgamation of rich history and modern trends. It has witnessed immense popularity and horrible accidents. This block constitutes of the once famous O2abc building, the Jumpin Jaks, McLellan Works formerly known as the McLellan Galleries, fast food chains and local shops. This block has taken a hit after the fire and pandemic, but is gradually picking up. It’s location, at the center of Sauchiehall Street makes it a prime location for anyone passing by and provides great potential for any intervention.
A pause can be a welcomed change in today’s busy lifestyle. While people rush to get ahead of the rat race, it takes a toll on their mental, physical and emotional health. Situated amidst an active street, this wellness centre provides a space for peace and calm. It is a slice of tranquility amongst the hustle bustle of the city. The tea room allows people to rejuvinate, the yoga rooms help in maintaining the body balance and the bath let’s people relax and unwind. This wellness centre encourages people to take a moment and pause.
Yoga Room 01: The Yoga Room in the basement can accomodate upto 25 people. The combination of lighting and water provide a unique sensory experience.
Rception: The reception is cozy and inviting awith a dramatic moment from the ceiling lights.
Tea Room: The tea room is minimalistic yet playful. The level difference allows people to choose between sitting on the floor or the chair according to their convenience.
Yoga Room 02: This Yoga Room has a smaller capacity. It has two beautiful arches that are used for storing equipments and a highlight feature – a ceiling hung gong that doubles up as a sculpture.
Massage Room: The Massage Rooms are situated on the mezzanine floor. The floor doesnt have any other function therefore allows privacy.
Bath: The Bath is situated on the top floor to allow maximum sunlight to enter through the arched windows. One can relax and wind down in the water below the arcade (reminiscent of the trusses seen in Glasgow bath gouses)
Utilities: Washrooms are provided for men, women and disabled people. There are seperate changing rooms and showers. The space between the two blocks is used as storage.
The circulation core is situated at the far end of the building, encouraging a linear flow of movement, making it easier for people to navigate the building. The core is also placed adjacent to the Scott Street to allow privacy, as one can easily peep inside the top floor (bath house) while climbing up the hill.
The wellness centre is inspired by the bath houses in Glasgow. An essential part of any bath house is water. Water also has a soothing and calming effect that is expected out of a wellness centre. This concept is used in Yoga Room 01 where the floor is surrounded by water. It not only gives a light, floating look to the room but the sounds from the water movement lend to a peaceful environment. Adding some lights at the bottom gives a heavenly aura and creates a dynamic pattern on the walls.