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The Dreamers’ Institute: Rewriting Narratives of the Bed

Sarah Harding


Distinction, Corobrik 2nd Prize, RIBA President's Medals Nomination, Examiner's Choice Award, Unit Choice Award


Thiresh Govender, Jiaxin Yan Gong,

Ngillan Faal-Gbadebo


14 - Rogue Economies: Producing Leisure

The Dreamers’ Institute is a project of subversion, of rewriting dominant cultural myths, of introducing new ways of seeing and understanding architecture, of iterations, accumulations, process, progress and experimentation, of challenging how we think about architecture, the bed and the programming of the body in space, of finding agency fully implicated in embodiment.

Investigating, navigating and dancing around an everyday space that, at first glance, seems to be politically neutral, the project asserts that the bed is a device through which political ideology operates. These ideological functions, such as surveillance, privacy and sexuality, are in turn controlled by systems of representation, such as theory, literature and cinema. Thus, the project unravels the operations and tactics of the bed, with the intention of building an inventive architectural vocabulary that challenges conventional means of representation.

The work aims to dissolve ideological tensions, envisioning spatial solutions that allow the construction of new rituals and codes that don’t rely on stereotypes and destructive hierarchies. It develops drawings, devices and corporeal performances that manipulate sensory perceptions, programmes and sites, suggesting the bed can be altered and reconfigured, to imagine alternative forms of resistance and social agency.

The Dreamer’s Institute implies that there are multiple narratives and ways to transform the bed, and that these are only a few examples of subversive bedroom architectures.