We took the theme of this year’s Sydney In Design Project, Ritual: The Art of Tradition, to be a provocation. After all, how can one speak of ‘ritual’ or ‘tradition’ when age-old crafts, ceremonies and even entire cultures are on the wane? Our society is increasingly atomised, our dwellings isolated, our possessions manufactured in factories offshore.
Perhaps, in the absence of communal life and collective belief, it is the routines and habits of the home that constitute our remaining engagement with ritual. In our closed and hidden spaces, we harbour secret superstitions and private rites. Far from being inconsequential, these domestic rituals are our way of affirming our place in the world, of instilling meaning amidst the chaos of contemporary life. While personal and intimate, such rituals – from the way we talk to our plants to how we fold our clothes or awaken for work – assume monumental importance at the scale of the city.
Seen through this lens, every item of furniture embodies the potential for ritual, whether demonstrably through the tilt of a rocking chair or the sway of a pendant or less tangibly, concealed within its materials, form and utility. We would like to draw attention to furniture’s place within domestic life through a piece of spatial theatre. A series of small rooms are inverted and magnified, gathering disparate moments into one grand collective ritual.