A Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2010. Designing the Modern Interior reveals how the design of the inside spaces of our homes and public buildings is shaped by and shapes our modern culture. The modern interior has often been narrowly defined by the minimalist work of elite, reforming architects. But a shared modernising impulse, expressed in interior design, extends at least as far back as the Victorians and reaches to our own time. And this spirit of modernisation manifested itself in interiors, designed both by professionals and by amateurs, which did not necessarily look modern and often even aimed to imitate the past. Designing the Modern Interior presents a new history of the interior from the late 19th to the 21st century.
Particular characteristics are consistent across this period: a progressive attitude towards technology; a hyper-consciousness of what it is to live in the present and the future; an overt relationship with the mass media, mass consumption and the marketplace; an emphasis on individualism, interiority and the 'self'; the construction of identities determined by gender, class, race, sexuality and nationhood; and the experiences of urban and suburban life.
Penny Sparke is Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research & Enterprise) at Kingston University and author of Elsie de Wolfe: The Birth of Modern Interior Decoration and An Introduction to Design and Culture: 1900 to the Present. Anne Massey is Professor of Design History at Kingston University and author of Designing Liners: A History of Interior Design Afloat and Interior Design since 1900. Trevor Keeble is Head of the School of Art and Design History at Kingston University. Brenda Martin is the Curator of the Dorich House Museum at Kingston University.