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Interior Design (MA)

Alexandra Ellerkamp

The physical world is at risk of becoming obsolete as society increasingly relies on the digital world to be the hard drive storing the knowledge we have been accumulating over the entire existence of mankind. The traditional crafts and skills are not being passed onto the next generation, driving the world towards homogenized global culture and a possible dark age.

My research this year has been on the future of craft and how to preserve culture when we rely on the digital world to hold all information including what used to be physical. With the rapid speed of advancement, many things are left to the wayside and forgotten about. How do we preserve things which are seen as redundant due to technology? How do we integrate technology in a way which does not remove the human quality all together? How to we design for a future while considering all that we are bringing with us from the past?

The Allegorist's Archive is a cultural center built in the year 2047 which questions our value and worth systems of the material items we surround ourselves with. It celebrates the sentimentality of objects we have loved, while also providing an opportunity for objects which no longer serve a purpose to one person, to find a new life with another.

photo of chair models, cast shadows, miniatures

Alexandra is a spatial designer from Brooklyn, whose work gravitates to the intersection of story-telling and story-making – the interstitial space between what has been and what can be. She believes that immersive space has the ability to make narratives and histories tangible. Her previous research and work can be placed in the intersection of craft and science. In her first year at the Royal College of Art, she researched how memories are both captured and expressed in space through various media. The projects produced include a written text about her grandparent’s pepto bismol pink bathroom – which was never actually pink, a sonic fiction of very real events created through manual manipulation of cassette tapes, and design for a staircase constructed from plastiglomerates and geological layers containing fossils of technological devices – a warning against the direct impact consumerism is having on the earth. 

The Futures Platform provided a framework to explore ideas on the future of the human experience and the relationship people have with the physical world. The platform emphasized narrative strategies in order to create a future world in the near future, placing storytelling and research at the forefront of the design process.

Prior to studying at the Royal College of Art, Alexandra received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn NY in 2020. During her studies, she spent a formative year in Copenhagen focusing on exhibition design and adaptive reuse. Following her undergraduate degree, she worked in Brooklyn as a residential interior designer and exhibition designer for a design gallery in Chelsea.

line map of charleston site
fig. 01 Charleston Estate, FirleThe site is nestled in the rolling chalk hills of East Sussex about an hour and a half south of London by train.
gif of film photographs of Charleston Estate
fig. 02 Charleston Estate Captured on FilmDuring the 20th century, Charleston was home to the Bloomsbury group, whose members included Vanessa Bell, Virginia Woolf, Duncan Grant and David Garnett, where they were free to explore ideas centered on sexuality, craft, and society. Since 1986, Charleston's doors have been open to the public. The house has been preserved as it was when the Bloomsbury group resided in it -- frozen in time.
diagram of future timeline and sequence of space
fig. 03-04 Timeline and Sequence
renders of drop off and overpass
fig. 05-06 Drop Off and Overpass
gif of ground floor plan and first floor plan alternating
fig. 07 Ground and First Floor Plan
model of office tower
view into office
view into analysis room
top view of office
fig. 08-12 1:25 Model of Allegorist's Office Tower
gif of underpass to the archive, archival drawers pulled out to reveal collections of items
fig. 13 Underpass to the Archive
line drawing of section
fig. 14 Section of Archive
fig. 15 Archive of ObjectsObjects are displayed as collections in set structures -- a limbo between their past lives and future use. As visitors approach objects in the archive, a light begins to narrow -- focusing in -- and the story of the object begins to play.
model of monument
fig. 16 MonumentCeramic panels are created everyday by the caretaker and mounted onto the revolver and each day one panel rotates enough to fall onto the lancet below -- shattering into pieces and plummeting to the shallow water below where the clay is rehydrated and used in the following days to craft new panels.
image of caretaker's instruments, ladder, trowel, bucket, pan
fig. 17 Caretaker's InstrumentsSet of tools crafted for the caretake to maintain the monument -- bucket to retrieve water from outdoor folly, ladder to descent into the void, trowel and pan to collect rehydrated clay that has been submerged in the water.