online: 16 october 2004
modified: 15, 16 october 2004

15 october 2004 indoors and out

1. Too rainy and thundery to walk on the heath but nevertheless I go out with umbrella and old jeans letting the second hand of my watch determine direction at street corners.

2/3. Loud thunder overhead in second street where I see no one but a cared-for looking cat that is keeping dry on a windowcill. It appears to be washing its face with its saliva and paws.

4. Looking down into an illuminated basement I see a sink unit in the centre of a room. Reminds me of the peninsula sink unit I designed for a kitchen joined to a living room...

5. Torrential shower at the next corner...

6/7. I see a second island sink unit in another basement and then a kitchen with units round the walls and a dining table in the middle.

When designing house interiors I felt it was essential to question the segregation of spaces for cooking, eating and relaxing - the island or peninsula sink units were the logical consequences of removing the walls between specialised rooms in which to cook, eat and relax. The absence of servants and the presence of dishwashers (too noisy as yet) also made a difference. I thought then (and think now) that interior design is the strongest and most significant part of architecture. Designing exteriors is more fanciful, less formative of how we live.

8. I give up walk at the fourth corner as my feet and legs are getting wet... and I return home past gurgling street drains and full, or over-full, gutters and floating leaves.

9. Transcribing this from scrappy pencil notes in a dry and warm interior provokes the image of a prehistoric cave dwelling in which cold and damp pervades both living space and outside... and now I imagine Nietzsche's post-humanist Zarathustra at the entrance of his cave - and a smokey fire inside that chokes more than it dries or heats... regardless of philosophy (or making it impossible)!

10. Noticing this return of design-thinking in the rain I realise that it's not trivial but transformative of everything - from what one can do (moment-to-moment) to how or what one is able to think... inside or outside the comforts and dangers of deserts or forests, or caves or roofed spaces with windows, doors and even passwords and sentries and locks and keys and what next?... The 20th century return to undivided interiors was a most significant change, contradicting the specialisations of 19th century life. But now... that trustful unifying newness of the modernists... is it lost?

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