Shaping the American Interior: Structures, Contexts and Practices
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.