Matter of the manor

Belinda Mitchell, Karen Fielder

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Buildings decay and mutate; they are made of hybrid assemblages of material sourced from near and far, “…emergent mosaics of various temporalities, collages of matter characterised by an incessant becoming”.1 We are interested in the “continuity of process - that is with the perdurance or life expectancy of a thing, or how long it can be kept going”.2 This thinking supports us to shift away from a reading of historic buildings as objects analogous to documents inscribed with fixed histories to one where space, time, materials and people are intertwined in an unfolding process. We are interested in matter as material as affective particles, atmospheres, spectral traces, gestures and actions. We are interested in the disciplinary territory that lies in the overlap between interior design and conservation practice by focusing on ways of conceptualising historic interiors as unfinished sites of experience that are loaded with affective capacity. The research aims to examine the representation of space from the inside out, through explorations of interiority and embodied practices and how we can rethink historic interiors. Taking the form of collages, our design work uses an uninhabited 16th-century timber-framed manor house as a case study. Here we propose that the house is experienced all the more poignantly as it hangs in a transitional state prior to any programme of restoration and reuse that aspires to implement a unifying scheme leading to a static end point.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-63
JournalJournal of Interior Design
Issue number1
Early online date12 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018


  • Matter
  • assemblage
  • historic interiors
  • REF-Linked-outputs


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