Setting the Scene: Considering the Concept of Staging in the Consumption of the Interior during the 1920s and 1930s in Britain
Vanessa Vanden Berghe, Kingston University, London
The interwar period in Britain saw a rapid increase in the dissemination of images of well-photographed buildings and interiors in a variety of journals and magazines. Varied titles, such as The Architectural Review, Country Life, Vogue and The Sketch, all published seductive images of newly built architecture and its interiors. Taking a selection of contemporary images as a starting point this paper aims to look more closely at the consumption of the work of Oliver Hill (1887–1968), a quintessential architect and interior designer of the period, in contemporary media.
This paper will use an analysis of the interactions between the interior as space and the interior as staged in images as a way of expanding our understanding of how the interior was consumed during the 1920s and 1930s. To date, less thought has been given to how the visual languages, as seen by the public on stage or in the cinema, helped to influence and create "the modern interior." By analyzing images of Hill’s interior designs for what they "do" rather than for what they "are," this analysis can offer an expanded view of what contemporary British audiences saw and how they were invited to see and experience those interiors.
Vanessa Vanden Berghe is a PhD candidate with the Modern Interiors Research Centre at Kingston University, London. Her research interests mainly focus on interwar design and the relationship between architecture, art and design. Vanessa is currently writing up her thesis on the interior designs of the architect Oliver Hill (1887–1968) in which she explores the concept of atmosphere in relation to the modern interior as "staged."