Carl Turner

Related Project:
Home from Home

Carlos Porfirio

It’s easy to confuse the two. A house is a simple vessel or container, and as a verb means ‘to store’. The idea of home is more emotive, evoking memory, security, family and possessions. A home also needs to reflect personal taste and so be open to customisation. This creates a difficult challenge for designers. How to make memorable places that are also neutral, awaiting the marks made by future occupants creating their homes? Does this mean housing should be understated, in the background, nondescript?

Rather than focus on space standards and regulation, we think of home as a stage where events take place and conjure up memories of childhood to help remember what’s important. The obvious ones for me were Bonfire Night, Christmas, Easter and so forth. Less obviously, Saturday evenings with home baked bread and syrup, and the whole family around the TV in winter.

In simple terms it’s worth having these memories to hand when thinking about the design of homes: where will the Christmas tree fit? We took this thinking further with our Home From Home: Em Casa  installation where we broke the idea of home into pieces, each reflecting on certain key domestic spaces within an idealised suburban British home.

By subverting these spaces, each became an object taking on new forms. The staircase, normally a transitory space, became a lookout tower, a portal, and a den. The bed became a day bed, testing the resolve of strangers to share a private space. Although intended to be provocative, the lessons we took from the project were about the shared experiences of space and how a subversion of those ideas could throw up clues about the home. We have come a long way since houses were thought of as ‘machines for living’.