Understanding places and non-places through a phenomenological view and there links to decorative art of                                                pattern                                                                                     

We live in an environment of our own construction. Beginning with traversing the idea of place using architectural urban interiors, describing place identity as a “pot-pourri of memories, conceptions and cultural interpretations and accordingly relating back to a place that feels like home. Unlike conventional inhabited places I have also been interested in the term what anthropologist Marc Augé proposed to call as “Non- Places” (2008, pp.63-70 ), a place of being in-between in which he critically claims we experience alienation. In the same way something I like to perceive, but only in a partial and incoherent manner, a place of being in between real and imaginary. It is more likely to say that new places are generated, relations are reconstructed within.

Thinking about the experience of having been cloistered in hotel rooms before being exposed to the outside world is one way to draw out this contrast between spatial experiences which also illuminate my perception to paint interior spaces.

Being a hotel guest, I experience hotel interior like a theatre and myself as an actor in there to play, with the hotel providing the ambience as backdrop to the story. Hotel rooms seems to be designated unnamed or hard to name places through the fact of its lack of characteristics to the non-indicated isolation from the outside busy world. A lot of hotels leaflets suggests this reversal of gaze, by offering the would be images of musing perfect settings. Although it seems like a chance to escape seemingly remote from the concerns and duties of the real world.

Drawing room, Image from magazine (1993)

Above image from the exhibition of silver studio collection titled “The decoration of the suburban Villa, 1880-1940” is an example of ways such guide samples and magazines offered people an intriguing glimpse of how to decorate or modernize interiors.

Hotel Lobby by Edward Hopper (1943)

The painting “hotel lobby” illustrates a non-place , a classic style of alienation, there is no glimpse of outside. It is evident that Hoppers deliberate use of odd angles and rigid lines emphasize this feeling of a waiting room. It makes me feel lonely but does not makes me sad. Perhaps it allows the viewer to witness an echo of dimension of our own existence into this place.

When I use the expression place , I mean the narrative that traverse , a place that is invented and full of idiosyncratic features. “Places and non-places intertwine and tangle together” (2008, p. 86). As also interpreted by D. Trigg (2017), somewhere where a combined experience of coexistence of anthropological place and something which resigns from actuality, since enables the spectator to hypothesize the existence of past experience and produce glimpse of the possibly desired future.

My perception of a given place is imbued by several factors such as when body and world, subject and place combine in a  fashion each shaping and reshaping the other. A sense of place then is not just a physical quality rather a dynamic that emerges in a complex way.  Merleau-Ponty speaks in this sense of “spatial levels” that are arranged and  rearranged in space through the intentionality of the body, which is not always concordant with that of the “visual field” (2012, p. 260).

In architectural psychology it is been stated that a space become place when we get to know it better and endow it with value. Given this human endowment, what could be expected is ways do people attach meaning and organize space and place. It must also be said that how a place appears to human senses is  largely conditioned  on where we are going and where we have come from . Architecture professional  aims to create environment that satisfy the needs of functionality, aesthetics, and cultural identity. That means culture strongly influences human behaviour, moreover how we perceive the environment. Nonetheless, in today’s urban modernity certain cross cultural similarities exist.

The Principal Bedroom (2017)

 

In combination people tend to attach themselves to home, Homebase are most intimate places and each culture has its own definition of intimacy, widely can be recognized by people. My visit to “18 Stafford terrace” (2019), 18th century home in west London of Punch cartoonist Linley Sambourne, is a Victorian house with dark woods, oriental carpets, stained glass and William Morris wallpaper depressed into patterns throughout the walls and the ceilings. To enter the house is a sense of moving into a different world, the world in which art is paramount. The wonderful interior  provides as a rare example of what can be  known as an 'House Beautiful' style.

          William Morris Pomegranate (2019)                                                William Morris Pink & Rose (2019)

The house inhabited by three generations came down to us virtually unchanged. It feels nostalgic to visit to an old house. The resulting culmination, the house was approached with care in order to not to break the solidarity of memories and imagination.

Moreover, Interiors of domestic space is first a geometrical object of planes and right angles in addition, all such intimate spaces are designated by comfort and attraction. Likewise the value of this house intimacy was so absorbing that I was paused to read the rooms  by unlocking a door of day dreaming.

 

“For we are where we are not” ( 1994, p. 211). I often think that our memories of former lived places in homeland are relived as I think of the present and future in my sense.  In the book “the poetics of space”(1994), Bachelard see the house as a sort of initial universal place of intimacy describing them as unitary and complex. This is clearly seen that most meaningful relationship with building takes place inside domestic places – “home”, something we all once has called as the center of our world. In this regard its variant parts evoke different sensation and yet it brings up harmony.

“Place is a type of object, places and objects define space giving it a geometric personality” (2003 p. 17). On employing tranquil places in my paintings I want to address the notion of observation, often laced with extreme control of colour, spatial dimension plus engaged with the fundamental principles of formalism  as well as design. I am certain these invented interior in my work reveals something of my encounter of such  places where I desire to live once. I am interested in how places takes shape. Having in common if furniture could talk, I would have pulled a seat and paid attention. Furniture are a witness to the evolution of interior space. How difference if world have made if I had a chance to learn the history this way.

Akiko Busch (1999) unveil fascinating insights into the study of design, and define the hidden meanings of places in home. In the same manner this process of designing plays in the way I structure my work that develops in the process of finding sense of order build upon lines and architectural shapes that interact with geometry of pattern and decoration borrowed across different culture and used over each other at varying angles, while layers of flat colour holds the surface.

Colour range leaflet, by Patrick Baty  (2019)

In a lecture “the quest for colour standards in 20th Britain” (2019) by Patrick Baty. He elaborate on the impression of a colour is of utmost importance in creating the psychological mood that supports the function of an interior. He further informs how colour standards differ across different countries due to cultural factor and style of particular era. What is interesting to know is how colours are appropriated from historic wallpaper and decorative art in order to be reproduced in future.

 

Pattern and designing Space.

Virtues of Unity, by Halima Cassell (2019)

Firstly, I want to consider the example of Hamina Cassell dynamic ceramic sculptures at Manchester art Gallery.  One of the most thought-provoking pieces of the exhibition is her latest work is Virtues of Unity, a work in progress, each element is composed of clay from a certain country. Each pattern is unique and portrays a specific positive aspect of the country’s culture. Her aim in Virtues of Unity is to reflect upon humanity’s shared nature through the metaphor of the ceramic vessel. But not just one ceramic vessel – her ambition is to work with clay from 195 countries around the world.  The carved organic geometry of her work is captivating not just due to her use of Islamic pattern but also because it reflects her international and local cultural heritage.

 

Coming back to the process of creating my painting I’ve came to an understanding that the overall body of my work reflects more than just an idea of patterns, forms and geometric interior spaces, but it looks into how I perceive the places I live in and the issues of pattern that reside in my life.

I am intrigued towards symmetry and thus to the repetition and changes obtained when images are mirrored, in short, engaged in  creating an inventory of patterns.  For Indian art pattern has always carried the aura of craft, a ritual and a folk artistry. Moreover, Patterns for me has never been only an aesthetic affair. I believe this sense of self-consciousness has developed through looking at paintings and architecture associated with local heritage and decoration. Unlike painting patterns does not conceal mystery rather it reveals surprising conclusions and complexities within it.

Thus, these patterns in domestic spaces and patterns in the overall design and architecture of places  have led the curiosity to study aspects of society’s relationship with their inhabited places.

In tune with my interest to understand what is the use of patterns means to me, I find myself influenced by the significance of wallpaper design and its use in British home. Wallpaper, once old fashioned and forgotten, has in the last few decades become an art style that artists can create limited edition pieces of art that provides a timely exploration of possibilities and influence of print.  However, It is usually meant that pattern is the repetition of a  motif, but  it isn’t. It is a rhythm, thus agreeing to Amy Goldin statement “ the crucial determination of pattern is the constancy of the interval between motifs.” (2019 p.41). Yet this does not clasp me to any single assumption about pattern making. Because in effect, pattern can vary the way depending on what I decide to call a pattern. This means a single pattern can have variant forms, and this could be made possible by maintaining  changes in design motif, size or colour. As a result the feel of the pattern may not be a mirrored image but  juxtapositions of variant patterns  support a sense of same family resemblance.

Furthermore  I have impelled myself forward in understanding the use of pattern.  I have done this by questioning the breakdown of spaces simply through colour, forms and  patterning which displays the integrating of fine art with decor, and has helped me bridge the gap between the design world and the art world. As a whole interior places have been societal classified as aesthetic bonuses to the built environment.

As asserted throughout the essay  the scope of the mutual relation between spaces and non- places on  the occupier is so wide, that is due to the multiple interaction with aesthetics, cultural, physical and environmental factors. Ultimately, to inhabit an interior location in my work is same as if inventing a place that is gone in past and a place that is yet to be discovered. Where I am constantly re-imagining its reality, this also means developing an illusionary psyche of a place.  

 

 

 

Reference

 

Auge, M. (2008) Non-places, Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity. London: Verso, pp. 63-70.

Auge, M. (2008) 'From Places to Non- Places', Non-places, Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity. London: Verso, p.86.

Bachelard, G. (1994) The poetics of space. Boston: Beacon Press.

Bachelard, G. (1994) 'The Dialectics of outside and inside', in Stilgoe, J.R. (ed.) The poetics of space. Boston: Beacon Press, p. 211.

Baty, P. (2019) Colour ranges. Available at: http://patrickbaty.co.uk/colour-advice/colour-ranges/  (downloaded: 7 February 2019).

Baty, P. (2019) “ the quest for colour standards in 20th Britain”[Lecture talk], ICON Painting Group. 27 February.

Boehle, E. Ammer, M (2019) Patterns, Grids, and Painting', in Goldin, A. (ed.) Pattern and Decoration, Ornament as Promise. Manchester: Cornerhouse Publications Ltd, p. 41.

Busch, A. (1999) Geography of Home. New York: Princeton Architectural Press.

Halima Cassell: Eclectica-global Inspirations (2019) [Exhibition]. Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester. 2 February 2019- 5 January 2020.

Hopper, E. (1943) Hotel Lobby  [oil on canvas]. Available at: https://www.edwardhopper.net/hotel-lobby.jsp (Assesesd: 27 April 2019).

 

Merleau-Ponty, M. (2012). Phenomenology of Perspective. Trans. Donald Landes. NewYork: Routledge, p. 260.

Moran, K. (2017) The Principal Bedroom. Available at: https://www.pooky.com/inspiration/we-love-interiors/amazing-interiors-18-stafford-terrace-kensington (downloaded: 15 March 2019).

Saini, M. (2019) Pink & Rose [ wallpaper on wall ]. 18 Stafford terrace- Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London.

Saini, M. (2019) Pomegranate [ wallpaper on ceiling ]. 18 Stafford terrace- Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London.

“The decoration of the suburban Villa, 1880-1940 exhibition” (1993) [Exhibition]. London.

Trigg.D. (2017) 'Place and Non-place: A Phenomenological Perspective', in Janz, B. B. (ed.) Place, Space and Hermeneutics. USA: Springer, PP. 127-136. Available at: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-52214-2_10 (Assesed: 21 April 2019).

Tuan,Y.F. (2003) 'Experiential Perspective', Space and place the perspective of experience. Minneapolis: Third Printing, p.17.

 

 

 

Bibliography

 

Auge, M. (2008) Non-places, Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity. London: Verso.

Arte (2019) Textures and Techniques: the making of extinct animals [Design Installation] London Design week, Design centre, Chelsea Harbour, 11 March 2019.

Bachelard, G. (1994) The poetics of space. Boston: Beacon Press.

Baty, P. (2017) Anatomy of colour, the story of heritage paints and pigments. London: Thames & Hudson. 

Boehle, E. Ammer, M (2019) Pattern and Decoration, Ornament as Promise, Ludwig Forum Fur Internationale Kunst Aachen, September 21, 2018- January 13, 2019 and at Museum moderner Kunst Stifttung Ludwig Wien  February 23 - September 2019 [Exhibition catalogue].

Botton, A.D. (2006) Architecture of happiness. New York: Pantheon books. 

Busch, A. (1999) Geography of Home. New York: Princeton Architectural Press.

Keedwell, P. (2017), Headspace: The psychology of City Living. Great Britain: Quarto Publishing PLC.

Living with Buildings (2018) [Exhibition]. Welcome Collection. 4 October 2018 - 3 March 2019.

 

Leighton House. (2019) house tour [Interior design]. The royal borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London. Available at:  https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/subsites/museums/leightonhousemuseum/visitus.aspx, (Assess: June 2019)

 

MODA. (2019) Silver Studio Collection [Wallpaper samples]. Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture, London.

 

Netflix (2013) The great gatsby. Available at:  https://www.netflix.com/search?q=thegreat%20&jbv=70244437&jbp=2&jbr=0 (Accessed: 27 April 2019).

 

Netflix (2014) The grand Budhapest Hotel. Available at: https://www.netflix.com/search?q=the%20grand%20bu&jbv=70295915&jbp=0&jbr=0 (Accessed: October 2017).

Seamon, D. (2013), Place Attachment and Phenomenology: The Synergistic Dynamism of Place. In Place Attachment: Advances in Theory, Methods and Research. New York: Routledge.

 

Todd,P. (2005) William Morris and the Arts & Crafts Home. London: Thames & Hudson. 

 

Teynac, F. Nolot, P. and Vivien, J.D. (1982) Wallpaper a history. Great Britain: Thames & Hudson. 

 

The Whitworth (2019) Bodies of Colour: Breaking with Stereotypes in the Wallpaper Collection [Exhibition] The Whitworth art gallery, University of Manchester, Manchester, 8 March 2019.

 

Trigg.D. (2017) Place, Space and Hermeneutics. USA: Springer.

Tuan,Y.F. (2003) 'Experiential Perspective', Space and place the perspective of experience. Minneapolis: Third Printing.