Muji Hut, Japan
As a Philosophy major in college and a lover of anything to do with one’s home/intimate space, I was intrigued by this article about a class at UChicago called A Curating Case-Study: The Hut taught by Dieter Roelstraete. In conjunction with an exhibition at the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society last spring, Hutopia, both explored three philosophers and their construction of their huts, real and figurative. Wittgenstein and Heidegger had physical huts where they liked to retreat to think and write, but Adorno did not and instead a sculpture was made by artist Hamilton Finlay to represent his hut.
The idea of using a place as inspiration, whether for creative or intellectual endeavors, is alive in anyone who cares about the physical space around them – their room, apartment, house, hut, cabin, etc. It doesn’t have to be a faraway remote place that you escape to, although perhaps part of the inspiration lies in the escaping; it is something you can construct wherever you are.
It’s exciting and freeing to think that we can make choices about our space that can affect not only how we feel, but also potentially our productivity. If you were to build yourself a hut, what would it look and feel like? Would the colors on the walls be light or dark? Or would you have patterned wallpaper? Would you want light streaming in through the windows or dark curtains blocking it out? Would you put art or other decorative pieces on the walls, or do blank walls allow you to stay more focused? How about adding some plants for visual interest and air purification, or a cozy rug to feel beneath your toes. Where will you place things like a sofa or chair or writing desk so that it has a good view of the room or out the window? What kind of lamps/lights will you choose and where will you put them to create an ambiance that feels perfectly cozy and balanced? In other words, how will you strive for the hygge that will allow your thoughts and feelings to do what they need to do?
When trying to picture my hut, I can think of a million countless possibilities. It’s hard to even attempt to define one vignette before thinking of another that feels just a little bit better. While this can be frustrating because it seems like nothing will ever be quite right, it’s also part of the beauty of creating our hut – that it can constantly evolve along with our desires.