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Diagramming the interior

Taylor, Mark (2009) Diagramming the interior. In The Diagrams of Architecture. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, pp. 134-141.

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Abstract

Mark Taylor's new essay assesses the impact of the diagram on interior design from the late 19th century to the present. Taylor identifies the pop-cultural discourse of advice writing in both books and magazines as a starting point for his analysis. Drawing on diverse sources, his analysis focuses on texts relating to the dynamics of use and flexibility by Catherine Beecher, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Melusina Fay Peirce, Mary Haweis and Christine Frederick among others. The examples in these texts use the home, domestic housekeeping and kitchens as the sites and practices of intervention through which interior design innovations can be enacted. Taylor's analysis identified the innovations in both the social and the political aspects of space and the critique of static space behind these seemingly amateurish and innocuous texts. Identifying these contributions as early precursors of Modernism's open-plan and flexible, dynamic spaces, Taylor also interprets them with a critical concern for the oppositions and hierarchies that can exist in spatial design, and which are the hallmarks of recent Postmodern, phenomenological approaches to interior design and its theorisations. The progressive and subversive "paradigms for living" implicit in these diagrams can be argued to present a model of greater economic, social and political equality as well as representing a more balanced set of power relations in the home. Progressing through the 20th century to the present, Taylor's analysis shifts byond the dressed body and on to the more intimate rituals of the revealed body to further examine how diagrams of the interior, and the interior as a set of diagrams, are also mediators, sites and grounds for the design of social and sexual intimacy. Through a consideration of the link between design, indentity and intimacy (whether of the invisible, fashioned or sexualised body), the diagrms of interiors are reconfigured as radical and critical tools for an animate, material and emancipatory "redressing" of the balance between the body, identity, sexuality, gender, function, mis(use), aesthetics and the interior.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 31078
Item Type: Book Chapter
Keywords: Interior Design, Aesthetic Theory, Diagrams
ISBN: 9780470519448
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > ARCHITECTURE (120100) > Architectural History and Theory (120103)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > ARCHITECTURE (120100) > Interior Design (120106)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Past > Schools > School of Design
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Deposited On: 12 Apr 2010 11:12
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2012 00:08

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