• Dialects of design education: Exploring an appropriate approach to contemporary interiors in historical buildings.

      Slabbert, Barend; Jordaan, June; Cape Peninsula University of Technology (Leadership Forum on Education, 03/12/2013)
      Due to economic adversities brought on by the global recession, rapid urbanisation of the developing world and the need for sustainable design, a pressing need has arisen to incorporate appropriate and meaningful contemporary interiors in historical buildings. Initial informants of this study identified a need for interior design students to develop awareness and suitable skills to design such regenerating contemporary interiors and that interior design curricula include these critical-analytical skills. This paper provides a conceptual framework that hopes to assist students to achieve the desired coherence contemporary interiors owe their historical environments through the design of multisensory environments. This will be done by exploring the notions of small narratives, neo-plasticism, stratification and detailing. By probing how these principles may be found in two case studies, Castelvecchio in Verona and Museum van de Caab outside Cape Town, this study hopes to indicate how multisensory environments may be analysed and designed.
    • Igniting imagination through darkness: discovering fear and fantasy through shadows, silence and the invisible.

      Slabbert, Barend; Jordaan, June; Cape Peninsula University of Technology (Inter-Disciplinary Press, 2016)
      Darkness invites imagination. On the one hand, it creates intimacy. It has been observed by many artforms that we feel the need to close off our vision during intense emotional experiences, during dreaming, listening to music, or caressing our loved ones. Shadows can be seen to do this for us, as they dim vision and entice unconscious peripheral vision and tactile fantasy. On the other hand, darkness entices fear. A person, who is afraid of the dark, writes Finnish architect Palasmaa, has no factual reason to fear darkness as such; he is afraid of his own imagination. Darkness, or the lack of light, is also often accompanied by silence and has the ominous ability to render the visible invisible. To probe the experience of darkness, this paper will refer to the philosophical position of phenomenology. In this regard, darkness is seen as a phenomenon that is experienced through our bodily senses. The phenomenology of darkness will be investigated be making reference to the way we project ourselves onto architectural spaces, also known as ‘mimesis of the body’. Furthermore, it will be investigated how our perceptions, memories and imaginings of past experiences influence such projections. This paper hopes to show how the relation between imagination, our mental faculty that forms images of external concepts not present to the senses, and darkness, can be understood by interpreting spatial narratives of architectural interiors. A selection of evocative interiors will be interpreted in terms of three factors that contribute to the phenomenology of darkness: shadows, silence, and the invisible. By doing so, this paper hopes to indicate how darkness has strong existential expressions that can be incorporated into spatial narratives in architectural interiors.
    • Sustainable ARTiculation: Adapting significant interiors to contemporary art galleries.

      Slabbert, Barend; Jordaan, June; Cape Peninsula University of Technology (International Education for Sustainable Development Alliance, 2016-12)
      Historical interiors can certainly be seen as repositories for cultural sustainability. They have diachronic aesthetic value and provide us with cultural identity. Their physical materials and methods of construction offer us a connection to the past. These interiors and their functions often become obsolete and require new functions more suited to our modern-day society. Historical interiors commonly get converted into contemporary art exhibition venues. The re-programming of historical interiors helps to keep these places relevant. It becomes a sustainable alternative to desertion or demolition, and ruination. However, in many cases old interiors are adapted to contemporary white box galleries, which compromise their internal meaning and significance. Heritage legislation offers protection in this regard. However, these guidelines are vague and do not offer concrete methods on the responsive adaptation of historical interiors into contemporary exhibition spaces. To address this concern, additional methods for responsive adaptation are highlighted and investigated in this paper. This will be done by making reference to various art installations at the bi-annual Venice Bienalle. Through these cases we hope to provide insight to interior designer by showcasing the practical implementation of culturally sustainable approaches to historical interior conversions.