In galleries and museums, design objects are frequently displayed on pedestals or in glass vitrines but rarely in something resembling the everyday living environment for which they were conceived. The Norfolk House Music Room in the British Galleries provides a theatrical backdrop for Scholten & Baijing’s “The Dinner Party”, where visitors are invited to interrupt a dinner party in session. This seemingly lived-in but recently deserted ‘stage set’ creates a more natural and adventurous way of viewing designed objects, particularly glassware, ceramics, polished steel, textile, furniture and carpets.
The sharp contrast of the contemporary tableware, all designed by the Dutch studio Scholten & Baijings, against the historic French-styled panelled interiors leads a visitor to ponder what once may have taken place in this room. As well as being used for music, the Norfolk House Music Room was also used by the original household for card games and general social intercourse before the V&A acquired it after Norfolk House’s 1938 demolition.
“The visitor enters just seconds after the guests have left to smoke a cigarette in the garden. One can use this unguarded moment to look at the luxurious dinner table and interior undisturbed. The music is still playing softly…”
- Stefan Scholten, Scholten & Baijings
Audible Fingerprints of Objects by Moritz Gabe and Henning Grambow
The composers Moritz Gabe and Henning Grambow created a composition exclusively made out of the sounds of the exposed objects. What you see on the dinner table by Scholten & Baijings is resounding in the piece of music you hear. The sounds were revealled by letting the objects resonate in different ways. In the studio the objects where „played" and processed. Samples of the sounds were converted to digital instruments and added to the composition. In summary the soundscape can be described as an audible musical fingerprint of the exposed objects.