1st Edition

Architectures of Display Department Stores and Modern Retail

    312 Pages 74 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    310 Pages 74 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Through an international range of case studies from the 1870s to the present, this volume analyzes strategies of display in department stores and modern retail spaces. Established scholars and emerging researchers working within a range of disciplinary contexts and historiographical traditions shed light on what constitutes modern retail and the ways in which interior designers, architects, and artists have built or transformed their practice in response to the commercial context.

    Architectures of display: An introduction  PART I Displaying Modernity  1. "A world of furniture:" The making of the late Victorian furniture shop  2. Displaying dreams: Model interiors in British department stores, 1890–1914  3. Home economies: The T. Eaton Company’s Thrift House, 1926–1950  4. The art of window display: Cross- promotion at Bonwit Teller and MoMA  5. William Pahlmann and the department store model room, 1937–1942 6. Baroque lines in a modern world: The retail displays of Dorothy Draper  PART II Technologies of Display  7. "The Age of Show Windows" in the American department store: Techniques and technologies of attraction at the turn of the twentieth century  8. Drawing power: Show window display design in the USA, 1900s– 1930s  9. Automatic show windows: Frederick Kiesler’s retail technology and American consumer culture  10. Prop art: Harald Szeemann and the Warenhaus Gebrüder Loeb AG, Bern  11. From retail stores to real- time stories: Displaying change in an age of digital manufacturing  PART III Contested Identities/ Contested Displays  12. Exotics to erotics: Exploring new frontiers of desire within Parisian department store décors  13. Dovetailed displays: Show windows, habitat dioramas, and bird hats  14. Department stores and their display windows during the prewar Third Reich: Prevailing within a hostile Nazi consumer culture  15. The cultured corporation: Art, architecture and the postwar office building  16. "Knife/ Fork/ Spoon:" The Walker Art Center and the design and display of "Contour" sterling flatware service, 1949–1951  17. Galerías Preciados (1943–1975): A Spanish cathedral of consumption and its display strategies during the Franco years


    Anca I. Lasc is Assistant Professor of Design History in the History of Art and Design Department at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York.

    Patricia Lara-Betancourt is a design historian and research fellow at The Modern Interiors Research Centre, Kingston University, London, UK.

    Margaret Maile Petty is Professor and Head of the School of Design in the Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia.


    "Architectures of Display is an important and welcome addition to the scholarship of interiors, retailing, and consumption. The rather neglected topic of merchandising displays is examined through international examples ranging from Victorian and later model rooms to contemporary digital fashion retailing. The fascinating case studies in the volume, not only engage with particular historic moments in retail design, but as a volume emphasize the crucial importance of the visual when engaging with consumers." Clive Edwards, Emeritus Professor of Design History, Loughborough University, UK

    "Recounting the ways that show-window designers have piqued consumer desire, Architectures of Display reveals a major portal through which modernity entered everyday life. Covering more than a century of practice with detailed case studies, it suggests the breadth of approaches to retail presentations as well as their shared goal of creating visual narratives that shape our relationships with material objects. In doing so, Architectures of Display provides an historical perspective on our current era of unrelenting self-presentation." Sandy Isenstadt, Professor of History of Modern Architecture, University of Delaware, USA

    "In its interrogation of the architecture of display, and display as integral to architecture’s cultural impact, this collection moves far beyond conventional studies of consumption. Its contributions are multiple and compelling: it situates the emergence of the display window and the department store within an expanded history of architecture’s material effects; it argues that techniques and technologies of display have been at the core of artistic experimentation; and it shows that the arrangement of consumer goods is nothing if not political." Charles Rice, School of Architecture, University of Technology Sydney, Australia

    "Generously illustrated and historically adventurous, Architectures of Display is a scintillating exploration of how wealthy societies have been seduced by a world of commercial retailing. By concentrating on the dazzling and inventive theatrics of department stores this volume is an essential guide to the aesthetics of commodity culture. It is highly recommended to anyone wanting to understand our love affair with things." Ben Highmore, Professor of Cultural Studies, University of Sussex, UK