Animal studies: the shared space between species

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Detail of Duplex by Constance Guisset

As the New York Times reports on the increased interest in Animal Studies courses, we investigate how pet habitats are becoming more integrated with our own, and speak to industrial designer Constance Guisset about how best to share our space.

Detail of Duplex by Constance Guisset
Guisset has twice considered the living space of animals. Her Duplex and Mezzanine designs place fish and birds alongside one another, creating a surprising species mix. In Mezzanine, the fish bowl lives within the bird cage while in the freestanding Duplex, birds can fly up into the fish's environment.

Duplex prototype by Constance Guisset
Guisset was driven to create the pieces because, "It is very clear to me that we share the same world, and we as humans need to respect animals and their worlds. I was interested in the idea of mixing two worlds - creating visual surprise."

"Duplex is the story of an impossible encounter, of feathers and scales being superimposed, of two strangers being reassembled occasionally. Animals living in two different elements embody extreme difference. And yet, they are vectors for the imagination because they are in places no human can reach easily."

Another example of our increasing interest in animals and just how they fit into our lives is the rise of small-scale aquaponics - food production systems which uses plants to filter fish tanks and fish waste to fertilise plants.

Matthieu Lehanneur's Local River was one of the first design-led adaptations of the process, while Eric Jourdan's Castle separates each element, creating a pared-back design which directly references human architecture.

Castle by Eric Jourdan

Subscribers can read more about the integration of fish scapes into interiors, and view the full interview with Guisset in Constance Guisset: poetry for pets.