Published at Monday, 12 August 2019. Decoration. By Marie Williams.
In England, Syrie Maugham became a legendary interior designer credited with designing the first all-white room. Starting her career in the early 1910s, her international reputation soon grew; she later expanded her business to New York City and Chicago. Born during the Victorian Era, a time characterized by dark colors and small spaces, she instead designed rooms filled with light and furnished in multiple shades of white and mirrored screens. In addition to mirrored screens, her trademark pieces included: books covered in white vellum, cutlery with white porcelain handles, console tables with plaster palm-frond, shell, or dolphin bases, upholstered and fringed sleigh beds, fur carpets, dining chairs covered in white leather, and lamps of graduated glass balls, and wreaths.
In America, Candace Wheeler was one of the first woman interior designers and helped encourage a new style of American design. She was instrumental in the development of art courses for women in a number of major American cities and was considered a national authority on homedesign. An important influence on the new profession was The Decoration of Houses, a manual of interior design written by Edith Wharton with architect Ogden Codman in 1897 in America. In the book, the authors denounced Victorian-style interior decoration and interior design, especially those rooms that were decorated with heavy window curtains, Victorian bric-a-brac, and overstuffed furniture. They argued that such rooms emphasized upholstery at the expense of proper space planning and architectural design and were, therefore, uncomfortable and rarely used. The book is considered a seminal work, and its success led to the emergence of professional decorators working in the manner advocated by its authors, most notably Elsie de Wolfe.
Interior designers must be highly skilled in order to create interior environments that are functional, safe, and adhere to building codes, regulations and ADA requirements. They go beyond the selection of color palettes and furnishings and apply their knowledge to the development of construction documents, occupancy loads, healthcare regulations and sustainable design principles, as well as the management and coordination of professional services including mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and life safety—all to ensure that people can live, learn or work in an innocuous environment that is also aesthetically pleasing.
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