What defines the British home – a battered armchair, an umbrella stand or perhaps a mug tree?
It’s a question the team at Carl Turner Architects asked themselves during The British Council’s New Architects: Portugal-UK exchange programme which saw three young UK consultancies go over to Lisbon and three Portuguese practices come to England to discover the differences in housing within the two countries.
Carl Turner Architects originally applied for the exchange programme because of its experience in small, residential projects and interesting in how spaces a developed to maintain work-life balance and the growing trend to work from home, says director Carl Turner.
During the exchange the practices visited each country’s exhibitions on housing and workspaces and shared working practices and industry issues.
They found that younger practices in Portugal seem to have more opportunities to work on public projects – as in the UK prerequisites of previous experience often prevent new firms working on anything but private projects – the financial backing for public projects has prevented this from happening since the country’s economic crisis, says Turner.
Following the exchanges, the three UK consultancies were asked to pitch for an exhibition at the Museu do Design e da Moda in Lisbon.
Carl Turner Architects’ plans for ‘Home from Home’, an installation that recreates a stereotypical British home and its domestic rituals, impressed the judges and won the commission.
Turner says, ‘The gallery is full of high-end design so we wanted to show “everydayness” and things that go into the average British home.’
For the installation, the practice has designed five freestanding artefacts – items symbolic of the British home, like a staircase, hot water bottle, bed and kermode – on wheels and so can be cleverly slotted together to make up a house shape.
The doll’s house-style sculpture will be made of industrial materials to fit the feel of MUDE, and will be first displayed at the gallery on 21 April.
Turner says, ‘We liked the idea that it be read one way as a whole or another as separate pieces.’