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Author: John Potvin

Richly illustrated with over 110 colour and black and white images, the book productively contests the supposedly exclusive feminine aspect of the style moderne (art deco). It explores how alternative, parallel and overlapping experiences and expressions of decorative modernism, nationalism, gender and sexuality in the heady years surrounding World War I converge in the protean figure of the deco dandy. As such, the book significantly departs from and corrects the assumptions and biases that have dominated scholarship on and popular perceptions of art deco. The book outlines how designed products and representations of and for the dandy both existed within and outwith normative expectations of gender and sexuality complicating men’s relationship to consumer culture more broadly and the moderne more specifically. Through a sustained focus on the figure of the dandy, the book offers a broader view of art deco by claiming a greater place for the male body and masculinity in this history than has been given to date. The mass appeal of the dandy in the 1920s was a way to redeploy an iconic, popular and well-known typology as a means to stimulate national industries, to engender a desire for all things made in France. Important, essential and productive moments in the history of the cultural life of Paris presented in the book are instructive of the changing role performed by consumerism, masculinity, design history and national identity.

The visual culture of a new profession
Author: Anca I. Lasc

This book analyzes the early stages of the interior design profession as articulated within the circles involved in the decoration of the private home in the second half of nineteenth-century France. It argues that the increased presence of the modern, domestic interior in the visual culture of the nineteenth century enabled the profession to take shape. Upholsterers, cabinet-makers, architects, stage designers, department stores, taste advisors, collectors, and illustrators, came together to “sell” the idea of the unified interior as an image and a total work of art. The ideal domestic interior took several media as its outlet, including taste manuals, pattern books, illustrated magazines, art and architectural exhibitions, and department store catalogs.

The chapters outline the terms of reception within which the work of each professional group involved in the appearance and design of the nineteenth-century French domestic interior emerged and focus on specific works by members of each group. If Chapter 1 concentrates on collectors and taste advisors, outlining the new definitions of the modern interior they developed, Chapter 2 focuses on the response of upholsterers, architects, and cabinet-makers to the same new conceptions of the ideal private interior. Chapter 3 considers the contribution of the world of entertainment to the field of interior design while Chapter 4 moves into the world of commerce to study how department stores popularized the modern interior with the middle classes. Chapter 5 returns to architects to understand how their engagement with popular journals shaped new interior decorating styles.

A history of corporate landscapes from the industrial to the digital age
Author: Helena Chance

From the 1880s, a new type of designed green space appeared in the industrial landscape in Britain and the USA, the factory pleasure garden and recreation park, and some companies opened allotment gardens for local children. Initially inspired by the landscapes of industrial villages in the UK, progressive American and British industrialists employed landscape and garden architects to improve the advantages and aesthetic of their factories. In the US, these landscapes were created at a time of the USA’s ascendancy as the world’s leading industrial nation. The factory garden and park movement flourished between the Wars, driven by the belief in the value of gardens and parks to employee welfare and to recruitment and retention. Arguably above all, in an age of burgeoning mass media, factory landscaping represented calculated exercises in public relations, materially contributing to advertising and the development of attractive corporate identities.

Following the Second World War the Americans led the way in corporate landscaping as suburban office campuses, estates and parks multiplied. In the twenty-first century a refreshed approach brings designs closer in spirit to pioneering early twentieth century factory landscapes.

This book gives the first comprehensive and comparative account of the contribution of gardens, gardening and sports to the history of responsible capitalism and ethical working practices from multiple critical perspectives and draws together the existing literature with key primary material from some of the most innovative and best documented of the corporate landscapes; Cadbury, the National Cash Register Company, Shredded Wheat and Spirella Corsets.

Bodies, emotion, and material culture
Author: Joanne Begiato

Manliness in Britain offers a new account of masculinity in the long nineteenth century: more corporeal and material, more emotional, more cross-class, and less heteronormative than other studies. Using diverse textual, visual, and material culture sources, it shows that masculinities were produced and disseminated through men’s bodies, very often working-class ones, and the emotions and material culture associated with them. It analyses idealised men who stimulated desire and admiration, including virile boxers, soldiers, sailors, and blacksmiths, brave firemen, and noble industrial workers. Also investigated are unmanly men, such as drunkards, wife beaters, and masturbators, who elicited disgust and aversion. The book disrupts the chronology of nineteenth-century masculinities, since it stretches from the ages of feeling, revolution, and reform, to those of militarism, imperialism, representative democracy, and mass media. It also queers these histories, by recognising that male and female desire for idealised male bodies and the gender attributes they embodied was integral to the success of manliness. Imagined working-class men and their materiality were central to broader ideas of manliness and unmanliness. They not only offered didactic lessons for the working classes and made the labouring ranks appear less threatening, they provide insights into the production of middle-class men’s identities. Overall, it is shown that this melding of bodies, emotions, and material culture created emotionalised bodies and objects, which facilitated the conveying, reproducing, and fixing of manliness in society. As such, the book will be vital for students and academics of the history of bodies, emotions, gender, and material culture.

Author: Jim Cheshire

This book presents a study that is an attempt to understand the phenomenal increase in the production and demand for stained glass between about 1835 and 1860. The book provides both history and context for thousands of Victorian stained-glass windows that exist in churches across the country. It aims to: ask why people became interested in stained glass; examine how glass-painters set up their studios; and understand how they interacted with each other and their patrons. To understand why so many windows were commissioned and made in the Victorian period, readers need to understand how buying a stained-glass window became a relatively ordinary thing to do. In order to examine this, the book focuses on those who wrote or spoke about stained glass in the formative years of the revival. It is important to look at the production of stained glass as a cultural exchange: a negotiation in both financial and cultural terms that was profitable for both glass-painter and patron. The history of Victorian stained glass allows an examination of many other areas of nineteenth-century cultural history. Readers can learn a lot about the aesthetics of the Gothic Revival, ecclesiology, the relationship between 'fine' and 'decorative' art, and the circulation of art history in the 1840s. While many interesting glass-painters have necessarily been omitted, the author hopes that the case studies in the book will provide a point of reference for the research of future scholars.

Domestic design and suburban Modernism

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Activism and design in Italy
Author: Ilaria Vanni

Precarious objects is a book about activism and design. The context is the changes in work and employment from permanent to precarious arrangements in the twenty-first century in Italy. The book presents design interventions that address precarity as a defuturing force affecting political, social and material conditions. Precarious objects shows how design objects, called here ‘orientation devices’, recode political communication and reorient how things are imagined, produced and circulated. It also shows how design as a practice can reconfigure material conditions and prefigure ways to repair some of the effects of precarity on everyday life. Three microhistories illustrate activist repertoires that bring into play design, and design practices that are grounded in activism. While the vitality, experimental nature and traffic between theory and praxis of social movements in Italy have consistently attracted the interest of activists, students and researchers in diverse fields, there exists little in the area of design research. This is a study of design activism at the intersection of design theory and cultural research for researchers and students interested in design studies, cultural studies, social movements and Italian studies.

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The creation of a global industry

The fashion industry has long been a particular victim of the borders between academic disciplines that have pursued their own agendas and employed their own language with minimum dialogue with outsiders. This book represents a sustained interdisciplinary and global assault on such artificial constraints which have constrained much research on the fashion industry in the past. Many historical studies have heavily focused on the ecosystems of Paris, Milan, New York, and other fashion hubs. It breaks new grounds as the authors trace the actors involved, from the luxury conglomerate LVMH to retailers, including the iconic Swedish firm H&M. The book also emphasizes the work of fashion professionals who worked behind-the-scenes as intermediaries: trendsetters, retail buyers, stylists, art directors, advertising executives, public relations agents, brand managers, and entrepreneurs. It examines the transition from the old system to the new in a series of case studies grouped around three major themes. The book deals with the transformation of Paris from a couture production centre to a creative hub for design and brand management. It examines the special role of retailers and retail brands in promoting European fashion, with reference to transnational exchanges between Europe, America, and the wider world. The book explores seminal developments in a select group of global fashion hubs on the European periphery or entirely outside of Europe, and their roles in critiquing the mainstream fashion system with heritage marketing, vintage aesthetics, ethical brands, and local styles.

Open Access (free)
Design and material culture in Soviet Russia, 1960s–80s
Author: Yulia Karpova

The major part of this book project was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 700913.

This book is about two distinct but related professional cultures in late Soviet Russia that were concerned with material objects: industrial design and decorative art. The Russian avant-garde of the 1920s is broadly recognised to have been Russia’s first truly original contribution to world culture. In contrast, Soviet design of the post-war period is often dismissed as hackwork and plagiarism that resulted in a shabby world of commodities. This book identifies the second historical attempt at creating a powerful alternative to capitalist commodities in the Cold War era. It offers a new perspective on the history of Soviet material culture by focusing on the notion of the ‘comradely object’ as an agent of progressive social relations that state-sponsored Soviet design inherited from the avant-garde. It introduces a shared history of domestic objects, handmade as well as machine-made, mass-produced as well as unique, utilitarian as well as challenging the conventional notion of utility. Situated at the intersection of intellectual history, social history and material culture studies, this book elucidates the complexities and contradictions of Soviet design that echoed international tendencies of the late twentieth century. The book is addressed to design historians, art historians, scholars of material culture, historians of Russia and the USSR, as well as museum and gallery curators, artists and designers, and the broader public interested in modern aesthetics, art and design, and/or the legacy of socialist regimes.

Material culture, luxury, and the avant-garde
Author: Ory Bartal

This book tells the story of critical avant-garde design in Japan, which emerged during the tumultuous 1960s and continues to inspire contemporary designers today. The postwar avant-garde milieu gave rise to a ground-breaking popular visual language and garnered tremendous attention across the fields of product design, graphic design, fashion design, and architecture. It created conceptually challenging artefacts and made decisions that radically altered the course of Japanese design history. The avant-garde works that were created in the sphere of popular culture communicated a form of visual and material protest inspired by the ideologies and critical theories of the 1960s and 1970s, which were concerned with feminism, body politics, the politics of identity, and, later, ecological, anti-consumerist, and anti-institutional critiques as well as an emphasis on otherness. These designers were driven by passion, anger, and a desire to critique and change society and introduce the avant-garde political thinking of the 1960s and subversive visual and material practices into the heart of consumer culture starting from the 1980s. Their creations thus combined two seemingly contradictory concepts: luxury and the avant-garde. By presenting the new arena of avant-garde Japanese design that is operating as a critical sociopolitical agent and involves an encounter between popular culture, postmodern aesthetics, critical theory, and new economic rules, the book carries the common discourse on Japanese design beyond aesthetic concerns and especially beyond ‘beautiful’ or ‘sublime’, revealing the radical aesthetic of the designed objects that forms an interface leading to critical social protest.