Monday, September 13, 2010

[Sir John Soane] Sir John Soane House

The Statement

Using elements from Neoclassical and Picturesque design, Sir John Soane created unique interiors within his own home, using primarily natural light to illuminate the spaces as well as draw focus to his collection of classical artifacts. The sweeping light and the artifacts highlighted within both connect to the interest in antiquity the world around during the age of Enlightenment, an apt concept for this personal residence, now a public museum.

The Residence

The object of the Sir John Soane House, is The idea of harmonizing Neoclassical elements and light within interiors in the house, also known as Lincoln Field’s Inn, reflect Soane’s interests in travel and collecting, activities in which many of his contemporaries engaged in the late eighteenth and the early nineteenth century.
He utilized classical elements domes, arches, columns and decorative details, specifying a more streamlined manner than then elaborate ornamentation of Robert Adam – a simplification to enhance better display the antiquities in his own personal museum. Natural light, a particularly focused design strategy in the decades before the advent of electrical lighting, came to the spaces through oculus and large multi-pane windows, as well as glass domes.


Of all the materials commonly used in the Neoclassical era (wood and plaster in abundance), glass represented the material most crucial to the success of Soane’s interiors. The onset of the industrial revolution brought along the availability of electric lighting but also made the use of glass and other reflective material more accessible and inexpensive. By placing flat panel and convex circular mirrors and windows in the breakfast room, dining room, and library, Soane effectively lightened these spaces, their contents to their full potential.

Architecture and Interior Design from the 19th Century
Harwood (p. 73-78 & 715)
Interior Architecture(p. 78-80)
Roth (p. 130-131)

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