Salone 2024 Preview: Thinking Room by David Lynch

Salone 2024 Preview: Thinking Room by David Lynch

It’s no surprise that David Lynch’s installation for Salone—”Interiors by David Lynch. A Thinking Room.”—involves the theme of the doppelgänger. Given the film director’s oeuvre, which features such darkly-probing works as Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet, Lost Highway, and Mulholland Drive, his design sensibility might logically follow suit, engaging dichotomies like light and darkness, ego and id, wakefulness and dream states.

Photo of David Lynch

David Lynch. Photo by Dean Hurley.

Just so, the installation, which opens to the public on April 15 and 16, features two identical mirrored “Thinking Rooms,” “adorned with around a dozen 56-inch screens, onto which sequences from his films will be projected, which show how he uses scenery and furniture. They’re wrapped in a sort of blue velvet curtain reminiscent of his famous film. In the middle, there’s a chair—a huge wooden armchair above which are suspended an assortment of brass tubes.”

David Lynch's Wire Chair

Wire Chair. Designed by David Lynch for Lost Highway (1997)

For the time being, we’re left in suspense about the overall effect. However, the above description, from exhibit curator and co-creator Antonio Monda, highlights the theme of transformation: from the lighted halls outside the exhibit into the darkness of the rooms, from the wakeful state of the observer’s reality into the dream fugue of the film clips, and from the hard reality of white walls into the soft, tenuous, enticing interface of dozens of blue velvet curtains—the curtain itself a potent emblem of mystery, surprise, and dark revelation.

A rendering of Thinking Room with film clips and people standing in line

Thinking Room rendering.

Lynch isn’t new to design. As Monda says, furniture isn’t a passing fancy for him, but rather an enduring discipline that’s centrally important to his films. In fact, Lynch is an accomplished furniture builder. Monda relates how meticulous he can be, “I’ve seen him planing, filing, measuring. For this exhibition, he’s entrusted the installation entirely to the brilliant set designers and builders at the Piccolo Teatro.”

Madison House exterior from Lost Highway. Designed by David Lynch.

So what exactly does one do in a “Thinking Room”? Lynch, who regularly practices transcendental meditation, is quick to draw a distinction between thinking and meditating. Perhaps we should also acknowledge the difference between so-called logical, linear thought and the automatic unveiling of the subconscious displayed in and fomented by Lynch’s films. Given Monda’s description, Lynch’s “Thinking Room” would seem to aspire toward the latter, the kind of impulsive glimpse we experience when the curtains part and all goes dark. If only for a split second.

Imagining what this may look like.

David Lynch’s “Thinking Room” unveils itself on April 15 and 16 at Salone del Mobile.Milano. Read more here.

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