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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Student Interior Designers Often Learn About The History of Their Profession

In their training, student interior designers often learn about the history of their profession. This can be a really important way to give context to their subsequent careers. In this article, I will draw on my experience as an interior designer and educator to discuss the history of this exciting field.

The earliest professional interior designers were based in London – the British had become intrigued by Egyptian techniques of decorating household objects and wanted the same for themselves. London families became desperate to employ an interior designer to create magical spaces and accessorise their interiors. As interior designers came to be recognised as professionals, they increasingly found a need to draw on history to create fabulous results. This was particularly true when creating designs for historic London mansions or listed buildings – they saw historical reflections as a way of preserving the past while also looking to the future.


In Ancient Rome, citizens demanded comfort, luxury and wealth. These elements are still important in the work of interior designers across the world today. The lavish decorations, tapestries and iconic stonework today remain as timeless and popular in London as in Tokyo or Sydney. The Ancient Romans adored bespoke furniture and loved quality textiles and expensive fabrics.


After the collapse of Roman rule, the church assumed power and largely discouraged the most creative interior designers. Opulent interiors were taken out and interior designers were instructed to install quiet and simple oak panels with dark lines and sharp edges. This influence was felt throughout Europe – from London all the way to Florence.


The Renaissance saw the emergence of professional French or French-inspired interior designers. It was a new age of elegance and sophistication, which saw the rebuilding of the London Interior Designer community and a fresh take on creative and beautiful living spaces. A “palatial” feel was rediscovered, and interior designers began to take advantage of new transport axes going through London to the continent and to the Americas in order to rediscover their profession and herald the next generation of design.

This brings to an end my article on how the work of interior designers has changed over the ages. In my next article, I’ll reflect on how interior designers use interior fashions for great effect.


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