Memory Room: The Inklings

The Brief

To create a model of a room in which an event of historical or cultural import took place. The creation could be speculative, using elements of the known history to influence the architecture and the viewer’s interaction with the piece. The purpose is to capture a moment in history in a spatial representation and to explore the way in which we may remember a significant event.



I was interested in exploring ideas that arose on a visit to the London Metropolitan Archives. We discussed how the space available for users of the archive appears mundane and lacks inspiration. This is in contrast to what we imagine lies beyond the public threshold. The idea of thousands of old, fragile documents and artefacts that contain a plethora of information about past events and moments through history is a tantalising thought, and somewhat frustrating that it is all hidden away.

I considered this crossover between the physical realm and the imagined space in the creation of my memory room. The model is focused around the meetings of The Inklings which took place in the Eagle and Child, Oxford during the 1930s-40s. The most prominent members of this literary group are J.R.R Tolkien and C.S Lewis. Here, the two friends would discuss their own writings, their approaches to Christianity and encourage each other in the development of myths and fantastical worlds.

The model introduces the private pub room in which the authors sat as a fairly mundane, drab environment, showing little evidence of the fascinating conversations being had. The room that lies beyond the cabinet, however, is full of ideas shared by Tolkien and Lewis, and alludes to the impact that these meetings had on one another’s work. The use of mirrors in the space removes any tangibility of the images that have been inspired by the authors’ writings. With the introduction of light into the space, the room seems to come to life with the colour and clutter of an imagination teeming with ideas.

Reflection and Feedback

  • The creation of an invisible/imagined space within an existing space is successful.
  • Look at Olafur Eliasson’s set design for The Tree of Codes ballet.
  • For further exploration, take forward the idea of illusion and light, perhaps making use of two way mirrors and back-lighting to reveal the hidden elements in a piece where the space of imagination becomes activated.
Reflection on imagination
Illusion and light
An imagination teeming with fragmented ideas
Focus on an idea
A private room in the Eagle and Child

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