With the other, beyond confusion : a critical analysis of the Anglo-Saxon academic discourses concerning identity + position of the interior discipline
Faculty of Design Sciences
Engineering sciences. Technology
The international journal of interior architecture + spatial design
, p. 22-32
University of Antwerp
Supporting the idea of embracing the position of the Other and introducing the concept of nearness-in-interior-architecture1, this paper will show the potential for the interior discipline to go beyond the confusion concerning its identity, name, position and domain and thereby to go beyond the historical polemic with architecture. In 2007 during the conference Thinking inside the Box, organized by Interior Forum Scotland, the president of IFI (International Federation of Interior Architects/Interior Designers) Shashi Caan presented a paper entitled Consensus or Confusion. This manifest was a call for a unity of voice and for the recognition of interior architecture as an autonomous and mature academic discipline. The conference was exemplary for the accelerated emancipatory tendency of the last fteen years, shown internationally by the interior community. However, the discourses of English speaking research groups (IDEA, MIRC, IFS, IFW, IFI) and vision texts of international interior organizations (IFI, IE, ECIA, IDEC) produced during this period indicate that a consensus on how to solve the so called identity crisis of the interior discipline has not yet been reached. This paper explores the dierent points of view brought forward by these researchers and organizations through the lens of the theoretical construct of the Other, considered as a crucial agent within the polemic about the evolution, identity and position of the discipline. By deconstructing the binary hierarchical opposition within its concept, a balanced and more positive reading of the Other can counter this impasse. If Otherness is experienced as complementary rather than oppositional, this will aect both the content and form of the interior discipline. Finally, this paper will explain the concept of nearness, as approach and attitude, to advance the re-evaluation and paradigm shift of the interior discipline.