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The exhibition Home Stories: one Hundred years, 20 indoor visionaries was opened in the Vitra Design Museum on February 7, 2020. Pointing out this last fact is not merely informative: very shortly after, the coronavirus came to Europe and large part of the population was forced to seek refuge in their homes. The chance was that the theme proposed by this exhibition, the domestic space, the redoubt where they would have to spend our lives for long weeks, acquired an unexpected prominence.

An obligation forced

suddenly, the facts evidenced by the forced obligation to reflect on how is structured our life in the interior of our homes –how we relate to the environments we inhabit, the differences between the quality of the domestic space in function of the social status of the inhabitant– and to recognise what type of transformations have been revealed as mandatory if you want to make the house, the home, a territory flexible, able to combine a dimension closed, intimate and private, with other public, ready for penetration of the connection with the reality and the activity outside. This intense relevance of the house and the dwell that the pandemic has put the focus gives even now the most interest and significance to this shows that the day of his inauguration.

The changes in social, political and technical, that happened over a century have impacted deeply in the shaping of the contemporary dwelling

From the slogan “Our home is the expression of our lifestyle, influences our daily lives and determines our well-being”, the show looks at the swift evolution of the interior design private over the last hundred years, illustrating how the social changes, both political and technical, that have occurred over this period have impacted deeply in the shaping of the contemporary dwelling. A route that passes through the open floor plans of the 1920s , the entrance of the home appliances in the domestic life during the 50s, the “culture of the home, light-hearted” of the 60’s and the fascination with the loft in the 70’s, until the present day.

The “House of the Future” (1956), Alison and Peter Smithson

The exhibition does not omit critical that have been made to that evolution, for example, through the obligatory reference to the master Mon Oncle, the highly intelligent criticism of Jacques Tati to the hazards of modernity and technologisation extreme of our everyday life. Is aware of the critical issues affecting the design and use of the interior in the present, and that, as before pointed out, the pandemic has underscored with intensity: the scarcity of space and the gradual blurring of the boundaries between private and working life.

Even so, in his formulation of game, Home Stories preferred to deviate from the discussion with respect to these issues, considering them to be already active enough, to claim “a social analysis seriously around the interior design” . There is also an intention to confront the monotony of the scenarios home that is proposed by the manufacturers of furniture (identify here a direct criticism of the concept Ikea, encouraging a perception of furniture as a piece of easy consumption, cheap and disposable, but, of course, incompatible with ecological sustainability).

Exaltation of the radical

So, many of the cases shown are exaltations of the extremely radical, the unique and even eccentric : interiors, whose configuration was strongly influenced by art, fashion or stage design or spaces that were inhabited by personalities unique. This is what is posed by examples such as the work of Elsie de Wolfe , the house of Karl Lagerfeld in Monte carlo, a temple furnished with the design of the Memphis Group ; the concept of “vivre à l oblique” introduced by the architect Claude Parent and the philosopher Paul Virilio at the beginning of the seventies, seeking to be opposed to the anonymity of the room cubical or Factory warholian. Cases that demonstrate to what point you can reach the creative potential of interior design.

Image of the Factory of Andy Warhol

however, are those examples in which it reflects how the issue of housing has become a field of experimentation based on a desire for pragmatic innovation, attentive to social realities and the human condition, which emphasizes the need to return to review the recent history of the configuration of the domestic space from the architecture. References of this type of proposals are the Villa Müller Adolf Loos (1929-30) or the Villa Tugendhat of Mies van der Rohe (1928-30); or the experiences on the fluidity of spatial Lina Bo Bardi the Casa do Vidro (1950-51) or the vision of the Home of the Future, created for the Ideal Home Exhibition by Alison and Peter Smithson (1956).

This intense relevance of the house and the dwell that the pandemic has put the focus gives even now the most interest and significance to this shows that the day of his inauguration

In these one hundred years, the housing and the ways of living have evolved but also, due to speculation, have lost contact with the individual inhabitant. The idea corbusierana of the living machine, created to achieve a democratization of the housing, ended up being the perfect excuse to submit your surface to the dictates of the market and lead them to seek solutions that encogieran more and more the space that they offered for life. The attractive experimental that could present concepts such as the capsules of the Tower Nakagin of Kishō Kurokawa (1970-72) or the nearest proposed “Yojigen Poketto”, the study of madrid Elii (2017), today, after the experience of confinement, is put deeply into question.

Home Stories that is why, now, a mirror reaction. The route that proposes, through its exhibition and catalogue is not so much a historical synthesis, to contemplate at a distance, but a point from which to observe, review and make from new and needed analysis on how to dwell and how to live.

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