Sensorial worlds and atmospheric scenes in Terence Conran’s The House Book

Highmore, Ben (2021) Sensorial worlds and atmospheric scenes in Terence Conran’s The House Book. In: Potvin, John, Marchand, Marie-Eve and Beaulieu, Benoit (eds.) The Senses and Interior Design. Manchester University Press, Manchester. (Accepted)

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The aim of this chapter is twofold. Initially the task is to suggest that a historical sense of what an interior ‘feels’ like, whether it feels ‘homely’, ‘fabulous’, ‘convivial’, ‘sacred’, and so on is dependent on a synaesthetic mix of sensorial materials, and that these are perceived (though this term will need some nuancing) through orchestrations of the visual, the haptic, the auditory, and olfactory. In other words, while emphasis has been placed on the look of interiors, we need to also attend to the whole somatosensory experience of interiors: the way that our feet ‘touch’ and move through a space; the way warmth, coolness, and humidity are felt by the skin and in the body; the way that scale (vastness, intimacy) is heard and felt; and so on. The second task is to suggest an approach that tries to grasp the synaesthetic effect and affect of space through a vocabulary that is capacious enough to register multisensory affects. Through the terms ‘atmosphere’ I want to suggest a way of grasping the gestalt of the sensory scene of the interior. But sensing is an interactive affair, and while atmospheres are active agents in interiors so too are the subjects that congregate there: ‘attunement’ names the symbiotic assemblage of attuning environment and attuned and attune-able subject. To give material form to these approaches I use the case-study of Terence Conran’s The House Book (from 1974) and the domestic aesthetics that Conran and the shop Habitat developed from 1964.

Item Type: Book Section
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Arts and Humanities > Media and Film
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2022 10:16
Last Modified: 24 Aug 2022 10:44

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