Brief 18


 The Salon


Salons are political spaces. Traditionally held in the private parloursof grand houses, groups met to engage in the art of conversation. The sharing of ideas between unique and vibrant guests is at the heart of TheSalon.Salons were originally aristocratic, taking place in France between the 16th and 18th centuries. Early salons had a polite flavour, but could be used to chew out the issues of the day. Their interiors were resplendent. Fine chairs the rooms, where guests could lounge and view walls full of paintings.The original Salon is widely considered the Salonniére Madame de Rambouillet of French Socialite and Society HostessCatherine de Vivonne, who filled her famous Chambre Bleue (Blue Room) with thinkers, writers, diplomats, nobles, and prelates[1].She was the first in a long series of accomplished woman who directed their energies to developing the art of sociability, throughhosting these intellectualgatherings.Today Salons still continue across the world. Theycontinue to playroles in culture literature, feminism, and humanrights. Many are accessible to everyone.


Conversation is more present in our lives than ever before. The way we communicate is particlized, drip fed digitally.TheSalonwas an idea about the integrity of conversation. The spaces whereit took place were inspiring, beautiful, and refined. The brief asks you what role The Salon could play today? It is not necessarilya digital answeras human beings arestillfundamentally the sameas in 17thC France. However, thedigital conflictions shouldn’t be ignored;both in itsaidof richer conversational sources, and its reduction of the quality of dialogue.

[1] The Age of Conversation, Benedetta Craveri, 2002

Brief Written by Jonathan Wren