Bringing it all back Home
Forget the Utopian future. This year the Ideal Home Show has drafted in
an architectural couple to demonstrate how the homely virtues of the
past can improve the way we live today, says Tom Dyckhoff
It seems strange to find the proclamations of the German Marxist
cultural critic Walter Benjamin at the Daily Mail Ideal Home Show. Rarer
still are the musings of the French philosopher Gaston Bachelard,
famous, as I’m sure you recall, for his searing work on the
“epistemological break” and spatial phenomenology. Strange, because the
official “faces” of this year’s fair are Ainsley Harriott, Carol Smillie
and Fearne Cotton (famous, as I’m sure you recall, for her searing work
on ITV’s Love Island ).

Earls Court’s gaping halls and billboards and buses across the capital
are hung with banners daubed with their gurning faces, each in the
throes of orgasmic pleasure after the purchase, it’s suggested, of the
latest fitted kitchen. But, yes, come Friday, when Earls Court opens its
arms again to the masses in pursuit of domestic ecstasy, there beside
Ainsley, Carol and Fearne you’ll find banners quoting Walter and Gaston,
giving a surreal twist to today’s oft-bemoaned blurring of high and low
culture. “Now that’s what I call subversion,” laughs Patrick Lynch.
“Walter Benjamin at the Ideal Home Show.”