Completion: September 2018

Client: Sir John Soane Museum


A project for London Design Festival 2018.

In 1812, John Soane wrote ‘Crude Hints towards an History of my House’, a strange and perplexing text in which he imagined his home as a ruin centuries in the future, inspected by visitors who speculate on its origins and function. In particular Soane suggested that visitors might infer the Museum to have been inhabited by four characters: a Lawyer, a Monk, a Magician and an Architect.

Over 200 years later, Studio MUTT has brought these characters to life as architectural compositions of ornament, colour and form. The four characters have then been installed as ‘inhabitants’ in different locations in the Museum. Soane’s original manuscript of ‘Crude Hints’ is displayed in the Foyle Space alongside a series of wall hangings, each illustrating the peculiar and fantastical narratives behind the characters, with extracts from the text.

Brightly coloured, rich in decoration and drawing from the wealth of source material in the Museum and Soane’s work, the characters are designed to communicate with the spaces they inhabit and the visitors who encounter them, revealing how ornament, colour and character can give life to buildings of all scales.

Curated by Owen Hopkins

Fabricated by Mike Smith Studio