The House Lab studio, taught by then Assistant Professor of Interior Design Lois Weithal* at The University of Texas at Austin, was comprised of a series of projects that culminated in a final project: the dining room. The studio looked at the the work of Hella Jongerius, Droog Design, Adolf Loos, and many other dining references to frame our reexamination of the conventions of a dining room.
I actually looked at how the practice of dining is portrayed in literature. I chose to look at an exert from Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Miss Havisham shows Pip the banquet room that had been set up for her wedding feast. The wedding never happened because her groom abandoned her. So Miss Havisham stopped all the clocks in the house and left everything set up for the wedding feast just as it was for decade after decade. I found the idea of dining being a way of marking time very intriguing. In Victorian times, people would never leave the table set up after they finished dining. When the meal was over, the table was cleared and the chairs pushed back against the walls. So considering that every time there was a meal, the dining room should change, the fact that Miss Havisham never changed her dining room is more acutely strange.
To make a long story short, the above research was an inspiration for me in the dining table project. My classmates Rachel James, Haley Townsend and I volunteered for the task of designing and building the dining table for the class dining room installation. We chose to use reclaimed wood as our material and were able to build the final product with about 70 percent reclaimed materials. Because the top of the table was being dealt with by another group, we chose to provide an experience for underneath the table. We studied the way people sit comfortably at the table and developed a system of footrest louvers at different heights. The result is that the table makes a record of the people who have used it and marks through time as the louvers are set in line and then moved, set in line and then moved, each time the table is used.
the relationships between objects in space, the adjacency of one object to another, transitions from space to space, the dynamics or contrasts between materials, the human scale of built environments, the creation of open or closed boundaries, etc. etc. etc. . .