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In The Studio: Adrienne Bennie – MA Interior and Spatial Design

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Published date
07 September 2017

MA Interior and Spatial Design student Adrienne originally comes from Auckland in New Zealand. As we lead up to the show she tells us about the trans-disciplinary nature of her work and how her work tackles the concept of homelessness through an interaction with microbial cultures.


Describe your experience at Chelsea in 3 words

Challenging, Unique, Gratifying


Please tell us about your work over the last year

My practice this year was an extension of my final undergraduate degree in New Zealand.

An active intervention which comments and informs the public of the conditions of homelessness, rough sleeping and transience within the urban realm. The study attempts to explore and construct a narrative that is informed by issues involving homelessness. My work occupies a trans-disciplinary territory between fashion textiles, spatial design and more participatory practices. It uses microbiological processes as a way for it to sit autonomously within the urban realm.


Please tell us about your work for the final show

My work for the show depicts my interest in the concept of homelessness and how it has led me to further investigate the microbial cultures that the people of the street endure. From swabbing pavements, benches and building facades to growing micro cultures in petri dishes I have determined a need to emphasize the surfaces they endure.

The method by which this becomes a realization is through a process called bacterial celluloses, whereby organisms can grow fabric. This allowed me to design a wearable structure that will enable a dialogue to test our habituated ways of seeing and understanding the problem.

I am interested in the unknown that lies within the surfaces. The ambiguity of the notion of itinerant movement and its relation to microbiology

What was your greatest challenge in working towards the degree show?

The greatest challenged I faced working towards the degree show was trying to design a wearable structure that is not about solving a social problem, it is about changing the way we think. It is crucial to understand that, there is a field of design research that deals with this notion of speculative design and this is my approach and contribution to highlight the social issues on the streets of London.


What do you see yourself doing after you graduate, what are your career ambitions?

After graduating I hope to continue to investigate the notion of living futures and the role science plays within the creative industry. Maybe pursue a PhD or teach. Ideally, I would love to work for a company that deals with these issues.

What have you enjoyed most about studying at Chelsea?

The work shop and the staff. They are extremely helpful and fun. They encourage you to test the limits of whatever you are attempting to make regarding materiality.


What have you most enjoyed about the area around Chelsea? Any tips?

The area around Chelsea is wonderful. It is within great proximity to Westminster, The London Eye and much more. The fact that the Tate Britain is a stone throw away is wonderful too. It is on the Victoria Line which gets you around London very quickly.

DO IT! The course allows you to develop a practice that is not bound to the limits of the creative industry. You are encouraged to push the boundary and create your own personal representation of interior and spatial design. The teaching staff are extremely knowledgeable.


Check out more of Adrienne’s work

Read more about MA Interior and Spatial Design

Check out more of this year’s artists and designers on