The Clothed Home: Tuning in to the seasonal imagination

Poland explores the ways in which textiles are used to reflect the rhythm of seasonal changes in domestic interiors. It recalls bygone rituals through an artistic installation, seeking inspiration for contemporary climate-responsive design.

Living between centrally heated apartments and air-conditioned offices, we have become in-different to the nuances of nature’s changing cycles. Contemporary design can help us tune into the seasons again. Conceptually rooted in Polish textile designs from pre-electric times, the installation recalls domestic rituals that allow us to cultivate our relationship with the natural world and react more attentively to its continued changes. In manor houses, aristocratic mansions and peasant cottages of pre-modern Poland, textiles were widely used as seasonal clothing for architecture. 

Textiles helped adapt domestic spaces to the twelve phenological seasons characteristic of the Central European climate zone. Their cyclical appearance in domestic interiors allowed for conscious participation in the cycles of nature – in celebrating the passage of time, with an enhanced sense of immersion in the circadian rhythm, and the sequence of light and darkness.

As a result, the ‘clothed home’ functioned as a resonator, helping residents feel the pulse of the natural world. By clothing a room of Somerset House, the installation sets out to offer visitors a similar, multi-sensory experience. The history of Polish domestic textile design researched by the architectural duo Centrala is presented in a contemporary interpretation by artist Alicja Bielawska. 

Produced by local Polish artisans using traditional weaving techniques and natural fabrics, and in a colour palette inspired by year-long observation of a particular Polish landscape, the textile installation encourages visitors to experience the seasonal rhythm of nature. The curatorial concept of the Polish exhibition has been chosen via a nationwide competition organized by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute to select a proposal that would present Polish design thinking in response to the Biennale theme ("Resonance").

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Photography: Ed Reeve

Photography: Ed Reeve


Organised by

The Adam Mickiewicz Institute


Alicja Bielawska


Aleksandra Kędziorek

Concept and Exhibition Design

Centrala (Małgorzata Kuciewicz, Simone De Iacobis)

Visual Identity

Anna Kulachek

Graphic Design

Piotr Chuchla

2021 Exhibitors