Published at Monday, August 12th 2019. by Marie Williams in Decoration.
The interior design profession became more established after World War II. From the 1950s onwards, spending on the home increased. Interior design courses were established, requiring the publication of textbooks and reference sources. Historical accounts of interior designers and firms distinct from the decorative arts specialists were made available. Organisations to regulate education, qualifications, standards and practices, etc. were established for the profession.
As department stores increased in number and size, retail spaces within shops were furnished in different styles as examples for customers. One particularly effective advertising tool was to set up model rooms at national and international exhibitions in showrooms for the public to see. Some of the pioneering firms in this regard were Waring & Gillow, James Shoolbred, Mintons, and Holland & Sons. These traditional high-quality furniture making firms began to play an important role as advisers to unsure middle class customers on taste and style, and began taking out contracts to design and furnish the interiors of many important buildings in Britain.
Art Deco rejected traditional materials of decoration and interior design, opting instead to use more unusual materials such as chrome, glass, stainless steel, shiny fabrics, mirrors, aluminium, lacquer, inlaid wood, sharkskin, and zebra skin. The use of harder, metallic materials was chosen to celebrate the machine age. These materials reflected the dawning modern age that was ushered in after the end of the First World War. The innovative combinations of these materials created contrasts that were very popular at the time - for example the mixing together of highly polished wood and black lacquer with satin and furs. The barber shop in the Austin Reed store in London was designed by P. J. Westwood. It was soon regarded as the trendiest barber shop in Britain due to its use of metallic materials.
A pivotal figure in popularizing theories of interior design to the middle class was the architect Owen Jones, one of the most influential design theorists of the nineteenth century. Jones first project was his most important—in 1851, he was responsible for not only the decoration of Joseph Paxton’s gigantic Crystal Palace for the Great Exhibition but also the arrangement of the exhibits within. He chose a controversial palette of red, yellow, and blue for the interior ironwork and, despite initial negative publicity in the newspapers, was eventually unveiled by Queen Victoria to much critical acclaim. His most significant publication was The Grammar of Ornament (1856), in which Jones formulated 37 key principles of interior design and decoration.
In the mid-to-late 19th century, interior design services expanded greatly, as the middle class in industrial countries grew in size and prosperity and began to desire the domestic trappings of wealth to cement their new status. Large furniture firms began to branch out into general interior design and management, offering full house furnishings in a variety of styles. This business model flourished from the mid-century to 1914, when this role was increasingly usurped by independent, often amateur, designers. This paved the way for the emergence of the professional interior design in the mid-20th century.
There are various paths that one can take to become a professional interior designer. All of these paths involve some form of training. Working with a successful professional designer is an informal method of training and has previously been the most common method of education. In many states, however, this path alone cannot lead to licensing as a professional interior designer. Training through an institution such as a college, art or design school or university is a more formal route to professional practice.
Someone may wish to specialize and develop technical knowledge specific to one area or type of interior design, such as residential design, commercial design, hospitality design, healthcare design, universal design, exhibition design, furniture design, and spatial branding. Interior design is a creative profession that is relatively new, constantly evolving, and often confusing to the public. It is not an artistic pursuit and relies on research from many fields to provide a well-trained understanding of how people are influenced by their environments.
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