What would happen if that scruffy bean bag in the corner your dog is slobbering over was replaced with specially designed architecture? That’s the topic of an exhibition in Kensington’s Japan House all about designing artistically appeal dwellings for dogs.
There are a cluster of designs in the main exhibition basement, and then more some upstairs in the main shop. You can even see small scale models in the windows if you don’t fancy going inside.
It’s a curiously fun display, even the white silhouette dog models seemingly playful in their poses, bum poking out in one, climbing up another.
The exhibition is a travelling one, having been in a number of countries already, and was inspired by Muji’s creative director, Kenya Hara, who as a child owned a dog that had taken to Snoopy style sleeping on top of his kennel.
In 2012 he started collaborating with architects to design modern dog kennels, for indoor use.
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Probably just two of the ones on display are what might be called approaching practical — the hanging felt tunnel under a coffee table being a sensible use of space, and one which looks like a long line of poles may be less useful in the UK, but the idea, of a cooling surface to sit on when a dog is hot is inspired.
In a way though, this isn’t architecture for dogs, it’s architecture for dog owners. Most dogs, once they have a favourite spot won’t care what it looks like, but the dog owners have to look at it, and do care what it looks like.
Some of them also look rather more designer than functional, such as the Mount Pug, which looks like modern art, and minus a fluffy cushion inside isn’t likely to attract the attention of the domestic pooch.
If something here does take your fancy though, there are downloadable manufacturing instructions at the exhibition.
The display may spark people into thinking more about where their favourite friend curls up and ponder maybe something more structural – even if in all likelihood, the dog will think you’ve gone barking, and will either dismiss it or more likely, chew it.
It’s a fun display though, and leaving an exhibition with a smile is always a nice achievement.
The exhibition, which is on Kensington High Street, reopens when lockdown ends and is open until 15th January 2021. Entry is free, but tickets will need to be booked in advance when it reopens from here.