Furnishings and Interiors 1850-Present
Interiors and furnishings reflect a changing domestic culture over the last one hundred and sixty years. The domestic environment is now considered to be an essential part of the quality of life. From the mid 19th century cheaper methods of production made furnishings available to most Western homes. The Victorian middle classes celebrated new wealth with a glut of historically themed decoration. This apparent superficiality prompted reformers to propose more honest alternatives; Aesthetic beautification of the interior, and Arts and Crafts return to creative integrity.
British 'common sense' in design inspired Continental designers to formulate a theory which prioritised function over decoration: Modernism, adopting different modes according to national cultures and progressively embracing new forms and technologies. The post-modern debate reintroduced conceptual associations into furnishings and the domestic interior. Today designers are challenged by new domestic technologies, compressed living and environmental concerns.
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