Doctoral Project
The Playful Cabinet. Role-Play and Self-Representation in Carlo Mollino’s Interiors.

Doctoral Project
Gerlinde Verhaeghe
Prof. Dr. Maarten Delbeke
since 2018

Carlo Mollino (1905-1973), often depicted as an eccentric and dandyish figure, was for a long time marginalized in architectural history. However, more recently, Mollino is increasingly recognized as a proponent of sexual exploration and self-expression. This reputation can be connected to the series of secretive interiors he created for himself and others throughout his career. This study proposes a reading of these male domestic interiors from the point of view of the cabinet, referring to the typological term of a small, private room. In other words, it sets out to explore the self-representation of the artist-architect in relation to the development of the historical cabinet typology. This study thus proposes to interpret Mollino’s persona as an aesthetic object, which is constructed, mediated and represented in the space of the cabinet. It advances the idea that Mollino radicalizes the historical cabinet and interprets it in the context of surrealism as a playful cabinet centred around play, display and role-play.