A public restroom in Addis Ababa; a DIY skate obstacle event as space making for women, queer, and gender diverse skaters; a temporary home and long-term community for international students studying in New York; these are just a few examples of the thesis projects from this interior design thesis studio. The geographical, cultural, spatial, and physical diversity of these projects represents the manifold potentials of critical and expansive interior design practice.
In this thesis studio, we approached interior design as a practice, a way of doing, a sequencing of actions that work to respond to a particular issue, problem, or opportunity for change. Students sought out and researched an area of interest or opportunity that they were passionate or excited about (including how to listen to trees, the temporal event of lunchtime in midtown as commensality, and the value of hand drawing in interior design pedagogy) and sought to respond to it through interior design practice. The focus here is not on ‘the interior’ as an object or a spatial volume described by architecture but rather, on interior design as a practice, a practice that is critical and experimental, and able to produce a positive contribution to communities, cultures, or ecologies.
Projects ranged in materiality and technology (from exploring the act of weaving as a collective practice of care, to a hi-tech virtual retail fitting room) and scale (one project speculates a new life for the rooftops of New York, expanding into a citywide commuter network), but all the projects are united by a sense of curiosity, experimentation, and the desire to make a positive change in the world through interior design.