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ADRI research seminar: Deborah Sugg-Ryan
Thursday 28 February at 17:30 in room G230, The Grove, Hendon Campus

ADRI research seminar with Deborah Sugg-Ryan (Falmouth University):

The Interwar Home and Suburban Modernity: The Modern Movement, the Moderne and the Modernistic

This paper considers the popular appropriation of the Modern Movement in the suburban interwar home. It examines instances where modernist architects, designers and critics brought their ideas about ‘good design’ to the wider public in articles in the popular press and women’s magazines, radio broadcasts, lectures and exhibitions. However, the builders who produced modernist houses and retailers who stocked modernist furniture were not necessarily wholesale converts to the cause of good design and continued to build and stock other styles that were deemed ‘bad design’. Furthermore, Modernism was often watered down, or ‘bastardised’, according to critics, and combined with elements from (what we now call) Art Deco to create the ‘moderne’ or ‘modernistic’. This appropriation of masculine rationalism was denigrated as feminine and trivial, especially in the ways it signified the luxury, escapism and consumer desires of the Odeon cinema and 1930s Hollywood. A suburban modernity emerged that addressed the needs of new homeowners living in small houses without servants through modern Tudorbethan houses filled with labour-saving devices and metamorphic furniture that made the most effective use of limited space.


About the presenter:

Dr Deborah Sugg Ryan is Senior Lecturer in histories and Theories of Design at Falmouth University. She was awarded a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship for 2012-13 to support her research on the history of the British home. Her outputs will include a book on the history of the inter-war home (Manchester University Press) and a revised and updated edition of her monograph on the history of the Ideal Home Show. She is also undertaking a range of knowledge exchange activities with Media 10, owners of the Ideal Home Show.


Location: Room G230, The Grove, Hendon Campus, Middlesex University

Time: Thursday 28th February at 17:30

Light refreshments are available.