Hollis is magical on the layers of myth and history in the classical world… an engaging, erudite and readable book
– FINANCIAL TIMES on THE SECRET LIVES OF BUILDINGS
In ancient times, people remembered the stories they had to tell by imagining them as rambling palaces, each room of which contained objects that stood for a chapter or a point to recall. In Ed Hollis’s MEMORY PALACE, he recalls the lost rooms of five real palaces: The Palatine, Westminster, Versailles, the Crystal Palace, and Studio City. Each of them is not, perhaps typical, but they are all instrumental in understanding the interiors of their time. All of them have disappeared, leaving behind them, respectively, fragments of architecture, ritual, scenery, furnishings and images.
Go to the interiors section of any bookshop and you will countless lavishly illustrated guides to style. Attempts to give the subject weightier consideration have treated the interior as the inward extension of Architecture, banishing wallpaper and comfort in the name of structural integrity. Others have defined the interior as the realm of private life, excluding from its history any account of the public interiors we inhabit. The interior is neither fashion nor architecture, nor private life, but an elusive and slippery entity all of its own. THE MEMORY PALACE is an attempt to preserve something of the ephemeral splendours of this fleeting art, and, like the rhetorical palaces of the ancients, to meditate on the nature of memory itself.
Ed Hollis is an architect who now lectures at The Edinburgh College of Art. As an architect, he worked with Geoffrey Bawa in Sri Lanka before spending five years with the Richard Murphy Practice in Edinburgh. An academic for the past five years, he has a blend of experience ranging from designing and building to teaching and writing.