Decorating Diversions: Industrial Design, Consumerism and the Production of Spaces

The history and practice of Decorative Arts, Industrial Design and the Design of Interiors are intrinsically intertwined and at times indistinguishable. The more recent rubric of \”Design\” has tended to ignore the differences between these fields, while historians and critics have exaggerated their disparities in the search of defining areas of academic study. This course will study the vicissitudes of each discipline simultaneously as a means of analyzing how the consumption of objects in modern society has come to materialize, anticipate or resist societal changes in Europe and America. The course will thrive on the contradictions and coincidences between theory and practice. \”Designer\” movements and stylistic fashions will be tested against cultural, economic and political trends. We will study specific manufacturing techniques and technological developments, together with their impact on social ideals. In addition, the course will use marketing and advertising as a means of understanding how objects were conceived, manufactured and ultimately grouped in space.