The Unheimliche Approach in the Making of Interiors

Karel Deckers


‘The (Re)Creative Workings of Existential Anguish in Interior Architecture’ aims to understand, and potentially incorporate, the unheimliche into interior-architectural design teaching. My inquiry addresses a paradoxical and disquieting force inside interiors that does not intimidate, but rather stimulates, the growth of imagination and creativity through design. How can one define the limits of one’s own certainties and how to overcome them even if they cause existential anguish? I will argue that existential anguish in interiors emerges in the tension between a particular belonging to existing affiliations and the fresh unfamiliarity of unexpected encounters. My inquiry complements prevailing values and norms in interior architecture as preset by society (identity, commodities, light, sight, and so on). Interior-architectural unheimlichkeit may engage in a disruptive design approach that triggers and allows the growth of other values, such as empathy, in interior architecture. The unheimliche may specify a small yet existential part of interior architecture as a discipline. How can existential anguish become a (re)creative agency in design teaching? It can be argued that a series of pedagogic experiments entitled ‘Onheimelijk Studios’, as collectively organized with and by student co-researchers at the St Lucas School of Architecture, Belgium, contributes to the research of existential anguish through the designing and making of interiors.

Emneord (Nøkkelord)

unheimliche, anguish, interior architecture, emerging, (re)creative


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Copyright (c) 2013 Karel Deckers

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