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  • Series: Studies in Design and Material Culture x
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Material culture and tangible labour

With the increasing digitisation of almost every facet of human endeavour, concerns persist about ‘deskilling’ and precarious employment. The publishing industry has turned its energy to online and electronic media, and jobs continue to disappear from printing, publishing and journalism. The replacement of human labour with computerised technologies is not merely a contemporary issue; it has an established history dating from the mid-twentieth century. What is often missing from this record is an understanding of how the world of work is tightly interwoven with the tangible and affective worlds of material culture and design, even in ‘clean’ computerised environments. Workplace culture is not only made up of socio-political relationships and dynamics. It is also bound up with a world of things, with and through which the social and gendered processes of workplace life are enacted and experienced. Understanding how we interact with and interpret design is crucial for appreciating the complexities of the labour experience, particularly at times of technological disruption. Hot Metal reveals integral labour-design relationships through an examination of three decades in the printing industry, between the 1960s and 1980s. This was the period when hot-metal typesetting and letterpress was in decline; the early years of the ‘digital switch’. Using oral histories from an intriguing case-study – a doggedly traditional Government Printing Office in Australia – this book provides an evocative rendering of design culture and embodied practice in a context that was, like many workplaces, not quite ‘up-to-date’ with technology. Hot Metal is also history of how digital technologies ruptured and transformed working life in manufacturing. Rather than focusing solely on ‘official’ labour, this book will introduce the reader to workers’ clandestine creative practices; the making of things ‘on the side’.

The visual culture of a new profession
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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
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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.

Domestic design and suburban Modernism

Bodies, emotion, and material culture
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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.

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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.

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Activism and design in Italy
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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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J.M. Richards, modernism and The Architectural Review
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Jim Richards thought that architects should be anonymous experts who served their communities, not ‘giants’ designing buildings to express their own individual creativity. He pursued this idea throughout his forty-year career as an architectural critic, journalist and editor. This book traces Richards’s ideas about anonymity and public participation in modern architecture and how they weathered the changing contexts of architecture in the mid-twentieth century. This is a story of shifting relationships between the architectural profession, public audiences and the media. The Architectural Review (AR) was first published in 1896 and by the 1930s was closely aligned with modern architecture. James Maude Richards (Jim to his friends) was the longest serving editor of the AR working from 1935 to 1971, with colleagues including Hubert de Cronin Hastings, Nikolaus Pevsner, Hugh Casson and Reyner Banham. Richards developed a specific approach to architectural criticism, which was based on promoting architecture to a public audience. He used criticism as a bridge between architects and their patrons and users. This book explores the changes and continuities in Richards’s work in the context of broader cultural shifts between experts and the public during this period. This is a history of modern architecture told through magazine articles, radio broadcasts and exhibitions, rather than buildings. Richards’s career and his position among a network of journalists, architects and artists, shows the centrality of media and promotion to architecture. It also shows how ideas about public participation, vernacular design and popular culture were key to defining modern architecture.

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The material and visual culture of the Stuart Courts, 1589–1619
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This book analyses Anna of Denmark’s material and visual patronage at the Stuart courts, examining her engagement with a wide array of expressive media including architecture, garden design, painting, music, dress, and jewellery. Encompassing Anna’s time in Denmark, England, and Scotland, it establishes patterns of interest and influence in her agency, while furthering our knowledge of Baltic-British transfer in the early modern period. Substantial archival work has facilitated a formative re-conceptualisation of James and Anna’s relationship, extended our knowledge of the constituents of consortship in the period, and has uncovered evidence to challenge the view that Anna followed the cultural accomplishments of her son, Prince Henry. This book reclaims Anna of Denmark as the influential and culturally active royal woman that her contemporaries knew. Combining politics, culture, and religion across the courts of Denmark, Scotland, and England, it enriches our understanding of royal women’s roles in early modern patriarchal societies and their impact on the development of cultural modes and fashions. This book will be of interest to upper level undergraduate and postgraduate students taking courses on early modern Europe in the disciplines of Art and Architectural History, English Literature, Theatre Studies, History, and Gender Studies. It will also attract a wide range of academics working on early modern material and visual culture, and female patronage, while members of the public who enjoy the history of courts and the British royals will also find it distinctively appealing.

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Artisan culture in London, c. 1550–1640

This book explores artisanal identity and culture in early modern London. It demonstrates that the social, intellectual, and political status of London’s crafts and craftsmen was embedded in particular material and spatial contexts. Through examination of a wide range of manuscript, visual, and material culture sources, the book investigates for the first time how London’s artisans physically shaped the built environment of the city, and how the experience of negotiating urban spaces impacted directly upon their own distinctive individual and collective identities. The book identifies and examines a significant cultural development hitherto overlooked by social and architectural historians: a movement to enlarge, beautify, and rebuild livery company halls in the City of London from the mid-sixteenth century to the start of the English civil wars. By exploring these re-building projects in depth, the book throws new light on artisanal cultural production and self-presentation in England’s most diverse and challenging urban environment. Craft company halls became multifunctional sites for knowledge production, social and economic organisation, political exchange, and collective memorialisation. The forms, uses, and perceptions of company halls worked to define relationships and hierarchies within the guild, and shaped its external civic and political relations. Applying an innovative and interdisciplinary methodology to the examination of artisanal cultures, the book engages with the fields of social and cultural history and the histories of art, design, and architecture. It will appeal to scholars of early modern social, cultural, and urban history, and those interested in design and architectural history.