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Interior Reuse

Rita Louis

I'm an artist and designer currently based in London.

My lived experience as a bicultural individual torn between Kuwait and India puts me in a unique position to seamlessly straddle cultures. This eclectic background, I believe gives me a particular deftness when it comes to problem-solving to small, actionable challenges within bigger questions, especially when it comes to designing spaces.

In my practice, I seek to explore themes and concepts that have a strong rootedness in place. Not confined by a single method, medium or style, my obsession lies in creating narratives with an emphasis on poetic interpretations, progressions, language and musicality.


Degree Details

School of Architecture

Interior Reuse

Waste House

‘A house is a machine for living in’ was a prominent slogan coined by Le Corbusier in his 1927 manifesto ‘A Vers Une Architecture’. From this point on machines have profoundly impacted architectural discourse ever since the dawn of Modernism. In response to this, and drawing inspiration from Ben Nicholson’s project Appliance House, I propose the Silo, and use this architectural typology as a departure point, envisioning it as a symbol that recalls the aesthetic and ethos of a bygone era.

Waste House is a speculative project centered around domestic waste. It proposes 3 silos: E- Silo, Textile-Silo and Jewelry Silo - each reworking redundant material brought to the site. Acting as an architectural sculpture, the triptych of silos aims to display various housing scenarios that shift like dreamscapes between recalled and future images of the home. Within each silo, exists a peculiar inhabitant, a fictitious character obsessed with collecting retired objects within the city. The character is interested in reconstructing these retired objects to transform the way they are understood and ultimately give them new values.

This project questions our nature of collecting, consumerism and occupancy drawing attention to the huge environmental consequences of discarding everyday domestic objects.

It asks: What is the role of waste in our domestic lives? What are ways you can allow your paradigm to be shifted for the sake of less waste in our world? How can we reconfigure our perception of waste to employ it into the fabric of our future homes?

Notes on Domesticity — Based on research from 15 paintings of the inhabited interiors expressing melancholia, loss, displacement, tranquility, passion and hope.. This text includes abstractions of both rooms that are etched in my memory and those I dream of living in the future.
Abode I
Abode I
Abode II
Abode II

In Gaston Bachelard's Poetics of Space, he proposes that one's dwelling is a place that makes dreaming and imagining possible.

He offers a vertical image of the house which is created by the polarity of the attic and basement which denote, for Bachelard, irrationality and rationality respectively. The attic is a metaphor for clarity of mind. The basement, on the contrary, is the darker, subterranean and irrational entity of the house. Both these sites appear in our dreams and produce varying kinds of them.

My journey from painting to collage is an exploration of this dichotomy of emotional states one experiences within a dwelling. The red and blue lines behave as a compositional device and suggests a source from where various thresholds emerge...

Have we taken the red or the blue pill in our domestic lives?

Medium:

Digital Collage

Size:

1189 x 841 mm
Research_ E-waste_Retired Objects
Agblobloshie - World's largest Electronic Graveyard

According to an article by the Natural History Museum, The UK is currently one of the largest producers of household e-waste in the world. When broken or unwanted electronics are dumped in landfill, toxic substances like lead and mercury can leach into soil and water.

Electronics also contain valuable non-renewable resources including gold, silver, copper, platinum, aluminum and cobalt. This means when we dispose of them without recycling, we are throwing away precious materials. Current e-waste recycling solutions are exporting the problem to developing countries.

In a similar vein, Textiles represent a significant proportion of the household waste stream in the UK. An estimated £140 million worth of used clothing goes to landfill in the UK every year.

This is a project where waste is not only seen as a valuable resource but it also acts as a catalyst to drive meaning into our homes..

Medium:

Digital Collage

Size:

340 x 190 mm
Scheme Overview - 23/24 Leinster Gardens — The 3 silos are the main characters, which are responsible for transforming the waste that is brought into the site. Within each Silo, one person inhabits the upper dwellings of these architectural sculptures. Beneath, there is a heat extraction system , extracting the heat which is supported by the structure of the Fireplace. The 5 element is the Ghost Facade of Leinster Gardens. These 5 moves make up the Waste House and it functions like a well-oiled machine.
I - Journey of Waste — I was interested in looking at the site as a way of understanding the process of bringing in these retired objects and their destruction. I introduced a volume that behaves as a sorting and dismantling facility on one edge (left) and an e waste recycling system on the other edge of the site (right).
Edge Condition I — The objects are collected from a drop off point placed outside the site and is then sorted, vetted and cleaned. In the E Silo, the E- waste is translated into E sculptures which are then archived along the Ghost Facades buttresses. The remaining e components are sent their separate ways to the other silos to find new meanings and values.
Edge Condition II — The movement and recycling of the objects is a celebrated activity and it is done through an elevated destruction line. The movement of these objects through the public space creates a spectacle and is visually accessible from all points within the site.
Triptych of Silos
E Silo_
Textile Silo_
Jewel Silo_
E Silo_Destruction Chamber
ESilo_Study — The study on the mezzanine floor, overlooks the studio below.
ESilo_Pneumonic Device — The inhabitant in-house transforms the e-waste into sculptures which are then archived along a vertical mnemonic device. This was done to develop a close connection with the re appropriated objects but also as a reminder of the waste that is brought into the site and their life's journey. Our brains remember images much more easily than words or sounds. The device helps translating the raw vocabulary of e sculptures into tactile fragments in the textile silo serving as a guide for the tapestries.
Materiality _ Detail I — A landscape of e components inhabit part of the structure with accents of brass studs and wireframes, referencing cityscapes and details found on a circuit board. This encourages the inhabitants to engage with their surroundings and discover the retired objects.
Dwelling I / Room for Oneself — The steep pitched form and glazed lantern roof create this striking form, while natural light is drawn into the double height living spaces. Windows of varying sizes frame views to the sky and the surrounding activity, creating a playful dialogue. between the house and its unique setting.
Dwelling I / Room for Oneself
Dwelling II / Room for Light — The private dwelling of the E Silo and Textile Silo are independent yet connected, continuing the language, the T shaped volume sews the 2 silos together in an embroidery of semi public and private space.
Taspestry_Detail II — The E sculptures form the guide for these artisanal tapestries, re materializing the raw vocabulary of e sculptures into tactile fragments. In this form, a seemingly mundane form of life is sealed and given permanence.
Dwelling II / Room for Light — The artisanal quality of the tapestry called for an unveiling of this tapestry as a foreground supported by the façade behind through brass rods. I was interested in accentuating the horizontality and verticality of the T shaped volume. The tapestry detail empowers a hands-on relationship with the material.
Against Planned Obsolesence of Technology — This philosophy is reflected in the Jewelry Silo, Jewelry pods designed to create meticulously hand-crafted pieces that endure and stands in opposition to the planned obsolescence of technology. The recycled metals start their new journey here..

There was an ambition from the outset to curate the sequence of spaces to reflect the individuality of each Silo. It was important to do this whilst by keeping in mind the industrial nature of the existing site and the textures, colors of the waste being brought in.

Spatially, it is translated into the 3 silos where the Silo for E waste dismantles e-components and reduces it to its basic raw materials. The inhabitant in-house transforms the e-waste into sculptures. The remaining components are sent their separate ways to the other silos to find new meanings and values.


One of the main fundamentals in driving the design is the artist live/work situation with the intention to manifest a cinematic quality to any framed views the building could offer. This is reflected in the spatial organization where there is a hierarchy of spaces moving from the public work spaces on the ground and first floors against the private-semi public areas on the upper floors. The was a need to address the relationships between the silos and their material dependencies.





Medium:

Digital Collage

Size:

Dimensions Variable
The Hybrid Fireplace — Paintings from the period provided an intellectual basis for the design of the fireplace. This collage represents the robust form of a traditional Victorian fireplace, a curiosity cabinet and a shallow fire bowl.
Heat Extraction System
Heat Extraction Unit

Unlike a traditional fireplace that’s tucked away, I reimagine it to form a spine along the site.

Waste heat from the underground is extracted via these hoods and brought to ground level through pipes. The structure is supported on framework of metal grate flooring adding to the haptic qualities of the scheme.

At night, the translucency offered by the polycarbonate cladding illuminate the skyline and expose the machinery within.

Here the fireplace is not just symbolic but it is also a generator of power for the silos and a sources for remaking material.


Ghost Facade _ Leinster Gardens
Ghost Facade _ Leinster Gardens — A series of punctures in Corten allowing for the play of light creating a range of lightness to darkness.

Occupying a cut and cover industrial site above the tube, the street is fronted by the Ghost Façade of Leinster gardens. The façade of the scheme takes its expression from the collage. The intent was to create an element of surprise with an inert façade concealing the activity and intriguing moments within.

The puncture in Corten steel offer vistas to the world outside but also peeks into a collection of archetypal domestic space - the room, the study, the workshop, the basement, the staircase, the attic threaded along the façade. Each one linked to the memory of the archetype of these spaces, expressing a range of lightness to darkness.