The project 101_spinning wardrobe is part of a refurbishment of a Victorian house overlooking Queens Park in North West London. One part of the commission was the general refurbishment of the house throughout all the four floors, and the creation of additional space in conversion of the existing loft space. The second part of the work consisted of drastic changes of three areas through the introduction of three bespoke furniture elements. Firstly the top floor of the building was transformed with the introduction of a stair-loft room element. This was conceived as an independent structure that offered an escape to a newly created space on top of the building providing a view over London.
The ground floor entrance area was completed with the introduction of an organising furniture element under the stairs. The third element, the Spinning Wardrobe, was necessary because the children quickly outgrew the available space.
Using a series of Buster Keaton’s silent movies, works by the Italian designer Bruno Munari and the childrens novel by C.S. Lewis ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ as the main inspiration for the design of two boys’ bedrooms required the room to be divided diagonally. Using this simple manoeuvre each room has the feeling of space along the diagonal without the need for a corridor to the back room, dividing and connecting them through a kinetic object, a ‘play structure’: The Spinning Wardrobe. This object provides them with the ability to pass through the other room. If they wish to be left alone they can lock themselves away from the adult world by blocking off the entrance to both rooms. Both beds are built into the wall with flaps and doors to join or separate the two spaces.
Architects don’t build homes – they design houses. The inhabitant then takes the house that the architect has carefully planned and drawn, and that the builder has built for them, and then makes it their home. As architects, we usually over-identify with the spaces we design for our clients – we see them as our own spaces. As architects we have a lot of discussions with clients about ‘their’ house, and often their understanding of the space and their ideas of how to inhabit it – their future ‘home’- baffles us.
The project attempts to engage the inhabitant and user (two children) with architecture by means of the Spinning Wardrobe. It plays with notions of the adaptability of spaces and the idea of our personal relationship to it on one hand – and the ‘creation of a home’ on the other.