Bringing together 12 original essays, Shaping the American Interior maps out, for the first time, the development and definition of the field of interiors in the United States in the period from 1870 until 1960. Its interdisciplinary approach encompasses a broad range of people, contexts, and practices, revealing the design of the interior as a collaborative modern enterprise comprising art, design, manufacture, commerce, and identity construction. Rooted in the expansion of mass production and consumption in the last years of the nineteenth century, new and diverse structures came to define the field and provide formal and informal contexts for design work. Intertwined with, but distinct from, architecture and merchandising, interiors encompassed a diffuse range of individuals, institutions, and organizations engaged in the definition of identity, the development of expertise, and the promotion of consumption. This volume investigates the fluid pre-history of the American profession of interior design, charting attempts to commoditize taste, shape modern conceptions of gender and professionalism, define expertise and authority through principles and standards, marry art with industry and commerce, and shape mass culture in the United States.
Introduction Paula Lupkin and Penny Sparke 1. Interior Designers of all Kinds: The Roles of Architects, Craftsmen, Furniture Manufacturers, and Clients in Creating Nineteenth-Century Domestic Interiors Erica Donnis and Susan Porter 2. Dealing in Interiors: How Maison Carlhian and Duveen Brothers Shaped European Spaces in America Teresa Morales and Anne-Marie Schaaf 3. Elsie de Wolfe: A Professional Interior Decorator Penny Sparke 4. Fags, Queens and Fairies: (Re)locating the Professional Gay Decorator in the History and Historiography of Interior Decorating John Potvin 5. For Men by Men: The YMCA Furnishings Bureau Paula Lupkin 6. The Art in Trades Club: Selling Style and Taste Patty Edmonson 7. "Principles Not Effects": The Museum Of Modern Art and the Discourse of Legitimization for Interior Design in Post-War America Lucinda Kaukas Havenhand 8. Demonstrating the Profession: Interior Design on Television Danielle Charlap 9. Co-Eds and T-Squares: Mid Twentieth Century Design Education Patrick Lee Lucas 10. Imaging Interior Design: beneath, beside, and within Architecture Penelope Dean 11. "Apology Areas:" Interior Decoration and the Marketplace in the 1950s Kristina Wilson
The thirteen chapters of Shaping the American Interior, a must read for all students of architecture, interior design, and the history of interiors, provide groundbreaking information about the interior design profession and its pre-history since 1870s. Decisively and definitively moving away from more traditional interpretations of the modern interior as the playground of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century female decorators that impress first and foremost through their sleek biographies, internationally renowned authors position the origins of the profession in a series of contexts and practices that relate, among others, to home economics and mass media, transgressive sexuality and merchandizing, art galleries and college programs. Chronologically organized, the essays zoom in onto interior design as a US-based profession, collectively arguing that a focus on cross-disciplinarity and national stories can help scholars both better understand the history of interior design and formulate its future.
Anca I. Lasc, Assistant Professor of Design History, History of Art and Design Department, Pratt Institute