Modern Interiors Research Centre


Centre Publications




Shaping the American Interior: Structures, Contexts and Practices, Routledge, forthcoming 2017

Editors: Paula Lupkin and Penny Sparke

Flow: Between Interiors and Landscape, Bloomsbury, forthcoming 2017

Editors: Patricia Brown, Patricia Lara-Betancourt, Gini Lee, Penny Sparke, Mark Taylor

The Routledge Companion to Design Studies, Routledge, forthcoming 2016

Editors: Fiona Fisher and Penny Sparke


Architectures of Display: Department Stores and Modern Retail, forthcoming 2016

Editors: Anca I. Lasc, Patricia Lara-Betancourt, Margaret Maile Petty

Through a series of case studies from the late-nineteenth century to the start of the twenty-first century, this collection of essays considers the historical insights that an analysis of strategies of display in department stores and modern retail spaces can offer design, architectural and art historians. Established scholars and emerging researchers working within a range of disciplinary contexts and historiographical traditions shed light on the core of what constitutes modern retail and the ways in which display, retail and interior designers, architects and artists have built and transformed their practice in response to the commercial context.


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British Design: Tradition and Modernity After 1948, Bloomsbury, 2015

Editors: Christopher Breward, Fiona Fisher, Ghislaine Wood

British Design brings together leading international scholars, designers and journalists to provide new perspectives on British design in the last sixty years, and how it at once looked back to the past with the continuation of traditions that spoke to Britain's design heritage, and looked forwards with the embrace of modernist and postmodernist style. The book responds to and develops new ways of understanding the recent history of design in Britain, with case studies on designed spaces and objects, including domestic interiors, retail spaces, schools and university buidings and transport.

The contributors address significant moments and phenomena in the historical and social history of British design, from the rise and fall of the English Country House style and the Brutalist architectural boom of the 1960s to the modern shopping space, and consider the work of key contemporary designers ranging from Tommy Roberts to Thomas Heatherwick. British Design provides new criticism and analysis on how design, from the immediate post-war period to the present day, has developed and changed how we live and how we interact with the spaces in which we live.

Read more on the Bloomsbury website.



Interiors: Design Architecture Culture 5/2 (2014): 131 -139. Special Issue: Seductive Discourses: design advice for the home

Editors: Emma Hardy and Patricia Lara-Betancourt

This special issue of Interiors examined the role of design advice for the home from the 1870s to 1970, and recognized its significance in shaping contemporary and historical perceptions and representations of the domestic sphere. The volume included articles focusing on the late nineteenth century in Britain, and articles addressing the postwar period in Europe, Africa and the United States. Contributors based in the UK, USA and Germany included a range of scholars across institutions and disciplines: design, design history, gender and social history.



Biography, Identity and the Modern Interior (Ashgate, 2013)

Editors: Penny Sparke, Anne Massey

Through a series of case studies from the mid-eighteenth century to the start of the twenty-first, this collection of essays considers the historical insights that ethno/auto/biographical investigations into the lives of individuals, groups and interiors can offer design and architectural historians. Established scholars and emerging researchers shed light on the methodological issues that arise from the use of these sources to explore the history of the interior as a site in which everyday life is experienced and performed, and the ways in which contemporary architects and interior designers draw on personal and collective histories in their practice.



Performance, Fashion and the Modern Interior: From the Victorians to Today (Berg, 2011)

Editors: Fiona Fisher, Trevor Keeble, Patricia Lara-Betancourt, Brenda Martin

Performance, Fashion and the Modern Interior examines the interior as a stage upon which modern life and lifestyles are consciously fashioned and performed, and from which modern identities are projected by and through design.


Scholars from Europe, Canada, America and Australia present a range of interior environments - domestic interiors, sets for stage and film, exhibition spaces, art galleries, hotel lobbies, cafés and retail spaces - to explore each as an intersection of fashion, lifestyle and performance. Sharing the thesis that the fashionably-dressed body and the interior can be seen as part of the same creative and expressive continuum, the essays highlight the ways in which interiors can give shape to and dramatise modern life.



Designing the Modern Interior: From the Victorians to Today (Berg, 2009)

Editors: Penny Sparke, Anne Massey, Trevor Keeble, Brenda Martin

Designing the Modern Interior reveals how the design of the inside spaces of our homes and public buildings is shaped by and shapes our modern culture. The modern interior has often been narrowly defined by the minimalist work of elite, reforming architects.  But a shared modernising impulse, expressed in interior design, extends at least as far back as the Victorians and reaches to our own time.  And this spirit of modernisation manifested itself in interiors, designed by both professionals and amateurs, which did not necessarily look modern and often even aimed to imitate the past.  Designing the Modern Interior presents a new history of the interior from the late 19th to the 21st century.  Particular characteristics are consistent across this period: a progressive attitude towards technology; a hyper-consciousness of what it is to live in the present and the future; an overt relationship with the mass media, mass consumption and the marketplace; an emphasis on individualism, interiority and the ‘self’; the construction of identities determined by class, race, sexuality and nationhood; and the experiences of urban and suburban life.



Journal of Design History (volume 21, number 1, spring 2008)

Editors: Anne Wealleans (née Massey) and Grace Lees Maffei

This special edition of the Journal of Design History explores the professionalisation of interior design through a series of essays, a number of which were first presented at the annual conference of the Modern Interiors Research Centre in 2006.



The Modern Period Room, The Construction of the Exhibited Interior 1870-1950 (Routledge, 2006)

Editors: Penny Sparke, Brenda Martin, Trevor Keeble

With contributors drawn from a broad range of disciplines, The Modern Period Room brings together a carefully selected collection of essays to consider the interiors of the modern era and their more recent reconstructions from a variety of different viewpoints.  Contributions from leading design historians, architects and curators of the history of the domestic interior in the UK engage with the issues and conventions surrounding the modern period room to expose the conflicting tensions that lie beneath the conceptual and physical strategy of the modern period room's representational technique. Exploring themes and examples by prestigious architects, such as Ernö Goldfinger, Truus Schroeder and Gerrit Rietveld, the authors reveal the specific coding of presented interior spaces. This illustrated new take on the historiography of twentieth century show interiors enables historians and theorists of architecture, design and social history to investigate the contexts in which this representational device has been used. 



Women's Places: Architecture and Design 1860-1960 (Routledge, 2003)

Editors: Penny Sparke and Brenda Martin

This collection of essays asks: What was different about the environments that women created as architects, designers and clients at a time when they were gaining increasing political and social status in a male world? Through a series of case studies, Women's Places: Architecture and Design 1860-1960, examines in detail the professional and domestic spaces created by women who had money and the opportunity to achieve their ideal. Set against a background of accepted notions of modernity relating to design and architecture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, this book provides a fascinating insight into women's social aspirations and identities. It offers new information and new interpretations in the study of gender, material culture and the built environment in the period 1860-1960.

The Routledge Campanion to Design Studies


The Routledge Campanion to Design Studies


Performance, Fashion and the Modern Interior: From the Victorians to Today


Designing the Modern Interior


book cover


book cover