Interior Architecture: The Unfixed and The Becoming
‘Interior Architecture is never removed from the architectural condition… an Interior Architecture manifests itself as the meaning embedded within the building inside as well as out’ 
In the UK, the uncodified status of Interior Architecture affords it an expedient critical substance, propagating a culture and a knowledge base that is expansive and one that is essentially fluid. In other words the definition and cultures of practice, research and education in the subject are yet to be unequivocally consolidated and explicitly systematized. In this short essay I will describe this condition as ‘Unfixed’. Hildebrandt captures the essence of the unfixedness of Interior Architecture in the essay The Gaps Between Interior Design and Architecture. Cited at the start of this essay, he suggests that meaning in Interior Architecture is embedded inside, as well as outside, of the building. In doing so he corroborates the notion that the subject as one that is engrained within the architectural matter, appearing to be part of an established condition. Yet it is as reliant on what lies outside the building as much as that, which is rooted within it. Perhaps inadvertently, Hildebrandt supports the notion that in any description of meaning in the subject the ambiguous qualities of Interior Architecture are still forcefully prevalent. The suggestion of capturing meaning within as well as outside the building, in order to offer a broad context from which to derive the substance of Interior Architecture, offers a limitless context from which to derive the meaning of the subject. On this basis the complexities of Interior Architecture, its uncodified yet embedded condition in the matter of the building, affords it the opportunity to continually redefine and experiment with its own meanings and processes of origination. This situation always offers the opportunity to reiterate and redefine its fundamental and essential cultures of practice, research and education, a process that incorporates an analysis of its relevance to the design and construction of the contemporary built environment.
The unfixed condition of the subject ensures that a unique disciplinary sensibility prevails; an approach that is defined by receptivity to that what is found or already on-site. This responsiveness is characterised by its agents in the field. I use the term agents to describe the disciplines representatives for two reasons. Hildebrandt stated in The Gaps Between Interior Design and Architecture that the Architectured interior is always amalgamated with the building that it is a part of. It is never entirely removed from the building. Hildebrandt’s suggestion is that the architectured interior is a composite construction of both the existing and new elements that make up a space. If this is so then the agents of these processes are usually well versed in working within the confines of an existing environment or building. Their sensibilities are based upon the aptitude to question and challenge the qualities of the matter they are dealing with and the amalgam of the construction that is then proposed and constructed. This propensity for examining found or extant material, in my view, shapes the sensibility of the agent of the interior and their responsiveness to the matter with which they are adapting. The second reason for using the term agent is that the exploration of such existing matter recalls the work of a forensics analysts or even a detective as they examine the matter that a case presents, before formulating any appropriate strategies for dealing with it. In this context I use the term ‘becoming’ as it evokes the purpose that resides in the sensibility involved in the process of formulating Interior Architecture. That is, it stresses the importance of contingencies as a way of thinking about space, as well as legacies as productive instruments for the formation of an architectured interior. In other words the ‘becoming’ suggests something, a place, and object, matter that is always in a state of flux as new material is uncovered, edited and is either valued for reuse or not. The agents of Interior Architecture are experts in the becoming as they anticipate the unexpected in a found matter approach to making interior space they and are agile and adept at editing what is found on site, matter that is either discarded or incorporated into the processes of making new and embedded architectured interiors.
The acceptance and ultimately a willingness to accept the challenge of the unexpected defines an approach to the subject that foregrounds a propensity for redefinition. It encapsulates and the capacity to interrogate the discipline’s ever changing borders. Whilst the condition of the becoming leads to phases of shifting-sands, it is a condition that I suggest is hard-wired into the DNA of the discipline and the agents within it. Without wishing to engage in the terminal and overstated debate of territories between Interior Architecture and Design, the propensity to interrogate the existing is a condition that is particular to the architectural emphasis of the design of interior space. Hildebrandt’s eloquent and thoughtful words on the subject neatly define this fundamental difference between the two nuanced elements of the design of the interior. He states;
‘While the design processes of architecture and interior design share the same procedural sequence and a core discipline vocabulary, interior design, both as a discipline and in its product, is (or can be) free of the weight of the architecture’ 
The ‘unfixed and becoming’ quality of Interior Architecture attracts a variety of creative specialists with which to undertake its creation. Designers, architects, decorators, installation artists, and many other discipline specialists practice, research and educate within this subject. For some, the appeal lies in the escape from the prescriptions of more regulated built environment subjects for others it provides the freedom to test different ideas within the context of a built environment subject. This is often with a view to realizing ideas with detailed matter, surfaces and materials to create new identities. Undeniably the appeal of the logic and rigor of Interior Architecture resides in the well-worn description of Interior Architecture/Design/Decoration, as a complex and fluid discipline, and one where its boundaries dissolve into other areas. This unfixedness defines one of its most important strengths: this is a discipline that is constantly immersed in the negotiation and provocation of its boundaries, meanings and therefore its identity.
Because of its unfixed conditions the becoming of Interior Architecture leads to an emerging confidence within this discipline, specifically in the UK but also across the world. Interior architecture and design is no longer compelled to relentlessly measure itself against other disciplines. Arguably it is the discipline against which others may measure themselves. This new confidence is an on-going project and is a process of continuous substantiation. It is a progression that can be found manifesting itself globally, especially in academia.
Manifestations of an emerging confidence can be seen within research and publishing in this field. Within the last decade the development of the theoretical base of the discipline has been exponential. Many new books on interiors underpin the history, theory and processes of interior architecture/design and also decoration.  Energy in new research signals a willingness to formalise the discourse of the discipline and to externalise discussions on the boundaries, territories and the language of this subject. The development of the subject’s own diverse and varied history, the exploration of its own processes and practices, the distinction of its particularised skills is now in full flow. The subject now has a large, loud and well thought out sense of its own unique identity. The unfixed and the becoming promotes a restless energy of enquiry that is fundamental to the disciplines intellectual and critical substance a situation that allows it to flourish in its variation and range.
 Henry Hildebrandt. The Gaps Between Interior Design and Architecture. March 15 2004. Design Intelligence Update News Letter.
 Henry Hildebrandt. The Gaps Between Interior Design and Architecture. March 15 2004. Design Intelligence Update News Letter. P4
 In the last 10 years books by Brooker/Stone (2005, 2008, 2009, 2010), Scott (2007), Taylor/Preston (2006), Weinthal, (2011) Plunkett (2009, 2011), Edwards (2010), Littlefield (2007), Hollis (2010), Sparke (2008, 2009), Rice (2006) and many others have covered extensive material on interiors.