Spatial Theory: Photographer Franziska Sinn makes an art of de-cluttering - Friends of Friends / Freunde von Freunden (FvF)

Spatial Theory: Photographer Franziska Sinn makes an art of de-cluttering


There’s something deeply gratifying about witnessing a transformation, whether it’s a remodeled interior or an onscreen ugly duckling turning into a shiny manicured doll.

We just can’t peel our eyes away from a good metamorphosis. Throw in a bit of time acceleration – the binding ingredient that triggers ocular addiction – and you’ve got yourself some binge-worthy visuals. Not unlike the rest of us, the photographer Franziska Sinn is also an overhaul enthusiast, changing the characters of spaces and the furniture that inhabits them. Through her photographic work – and the series Rooms in particular – she’s been looking into the nature of spaces, how we choose to arrange objects, and how predefined functions of certain rooms can completely alter just by shifting things around. “I was curious to enter unfamiliar spaces and just let my instincts drive me, just to see what happens,” Sinn tells us.

“I started with hotel rooms as they’re neutral spaces to which I had no connection at all. They were just play environments existing in their own bubbles. Later on I experimented with different, more personal, rooms for my series. I had an urge to tidy up, stack items, and build caves.” Sinn wanted to show the playful character of her rearrangements and therefore decided to translate her work into GIFs – the animated images originating in proto-internet times that we all love to hate sometimes. Aside from obnoxious memes and op art capable of inducing epileptic seizures, GIFs can in fact be used as an artistic medium. Just think of the master of locomotion, Eadweard Muybridge, and his galloping horses that have been turned into GIFs countless times and are now running ad infinitum. In Sinn’s case, the animated image accentuates the interplay between order and disorder as well as static and moving elements. “It’s not only interesting but also funny how differently people choose to arrange things. Sometimes it’s really special, sometimes it feels wrong and other times it’s just how I would do it. It can be surprising, disturbing or relieving. Rooms have characters – they can go from really assertive to inconspicuous. A single alteration makes a huge difference and I enjoy highlighting that.”

Three creatives based in Berlin let Sinn into their homes to rummage around and rearrange certain elements for a set of FvF-inspired compositions.

“Imagine being a object in a room and always having to sit still at the same place – I think it’s not fair. Out of respect to an object living in your space, you should make sure to rearrange it every now and then.” – Sven Hausherr, Graphic Designer

“I embrace disorder but only for a limited period of time. Just give me five minutes after entering a hotel room and my stuff is all over the place. In general, though, I lean towards order. Cleaning up is great – it can inject you with a sense of achievement pretty easily.” – Susanna Kim, DJ

“Disorder in spaces can be very interesting. It leaves something for the imagination – something to explore and discover. Perfect order seems neurotic and triggers destructive thoughts, so I personally find most comfort somewhere in the middle.” – Sigurd Larsen, Architect

Many thanks to Franziska for sharing her vision and also to Sigurd Larsen, Sven Hausherr, and Susanna Kim for welcoming us into their homes.

This feature has been produced in collaboration with Berlin-based shoe and accessory brand Zign, on the occasion of their Spring/Summer 16 campaign. To accompany their new collection, Zign joined forces with product designer and previous FvF guest Sigurd Larsen on the creation of an exclusive shoe shelf.

Photography: Franziska Sinn
Text: Effie Efthymiadi