Published at Friday, August 09th 2019. by Marie Williams in Decoration.
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.
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.
It was not until later that specific representation for the interior design profession was developed. The US National Society of Interior Designers was established in 1957, while in the UK the Interior Decorators and Designers Association was established in 1966. Across Europe, other organisations such as The Finnish Association of Interior Architects (1949) were being established and in 1994 the International Interior Design Association was founded. Ellen Mazur Thomson, author of Origins of Graphic Design in America (1997), determined that professional status is achieved through education, self-imposed standards and professional gate-keeping organizations. Having achieved this, interior design became an accepted profession.
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.
Jones was employed by some of the leading interior design firms of the day; in the 1860s, he worked in collaboration with the London firm Jackson & Graham to produce furniture and other fittings for high-profile clients including art collector Alfred Morrison as well as Ismail Pasha, Khedive of Egypt.
Other areas of specialization include amusement and theme park design, museum and exhibition design, exhibit design, event design (including ceremonies, weddings, baby and bridal showers, parties, conventions, and concerts), interior and prop styling, craft styling, food styling, product styling, tablescape design, theatre and performance design, stage and set design, scenic design, and production design for film and television. Beyond those, interior designers, particularly those with graduate education, can specialize in healthcare design, gerontological design, educational facility design, and other areas that require specialized knowledge. Some university programs offer graduate studies in theses and other areas. For example, both Cornell University and the University of Florida offer interior design graduate programs in environment and behavior studies.
In the 1950s and 1960s, upholsterers began to expand their business remits. They framed their business more broadly and in artistic terms and began to advertise their furnishings to the public. To meet the growing demand for contract interior work on projects such as offices, hotels, and public buildings, these businesses became much larger and more complex, employing builders, joiners, plasterers, textile designers, artists, and furniture designers, as well as engineers and technicians to fulfil the job. Firms began to publish and circulate catalogs with prints for different lavish styles to attract the attention of expanding middle classes.
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