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Tuning the space: investigating the making of atmospheres through interior design practices

Sloane, Mona (2014) Tuning the space: investigating the making of atmospheres through interior design practices. Interiors: Design, Architecture and Culture, 5 (3). pp. 297-314. ISSN 2041-9112

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Identification Number: 10.2752/204191114X14126916211184


This article explores the “making of atmospheres” for commercial spaces through interior design practices. Drawing upon Gernot Böhme's framework of atmospheres, it analyzes the knowledges and practices employed by interior designers when transforming an atmosphere into a “thing.” It argues that interior design is primarily a social process which renders visible the strategies of materializing the inherent elusiveness of atmospheres into the form of a concept. This concept is configured in a design-network of humans and materials and defines the conditions under which a specific intermediary status between subject and object can arise. It is also based on mechanisms of reassurance which are played out in applying a design “philosophy” and generating shared economic, cultural, and social understandings. Interior designers anticipate user experiences via images but also through specific material knowledges as a crucial form of cultural capital for “making an atmosphere.” Central human actors in the design-network are clients and their culturally informed judgments which define the boundaries of the atmospheric concept. Drawing on case study research in an interior design practice specialized in hotel design, this article argues that turning an atmosphere into a “thing” is complex and multilayered and goes beyond what is commonly subsumed under “beautification.” It suggests addressing this complexity by studying design from sociological, anthropological, and philosophical standpoints in conjunction with the practicalities of “making an atmosphere.” This approach can renew discussions around aesthetics and trigger new questions in areas like urban planning and architectural theory.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2014 Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Divisions: LSE Cities
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BH Aesthetics
N Fine Arts > NA Architecture
N Fine Arts > NK Decorative arts Applied arts Decoration and ornament
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2014 11:41
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:12

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