BRUSSELS – Interior design and decor have been radically transformed by a shift in habits, lifestyles and consumer trends, an exhibition by a Belgian museum that assesses the evolution of design since the end of the 19th century to the present day suggests.
“Spaces. Interior Design Evolution,” the latest exhibition at the Brussels Design Museum (ADAM), reflects on the huge impact of technological advances on the layout of interiors which has ultimately altered the way humans inhabit and perceive spaces.
The idea was primarily to explore the history of interior design in Belgium through furniture, objects, photographs and magazines that analyze architecture, design and decor since the end of the 19th century, Benjamin Stoz, curator of the exhibition told EFE.
Among the exhibited objects are chairs, sofas, tables, lamps and white goods on loan from the Pompidou Centre and the Museum of Decorative Arts (both in Paris), the King Baudouin Foundation and private collections.
According to Stoz, a major upheaval of interior design took place with the arrival of consumerism in the 1960s, a time that saw a shift from people holding on to family heirloom pieces in favor of more modern decor.
These new items were designed as throw-away pieces that would be eventually disposed of.
During this period technical progress was idealized, white goods became essential home comforts and furniture became more informal and comfortable.
This new market propelled the growth of brands like Meurop in Belgium, Habitat in the United Kingdom and Prisunic in France.
The curator explained that from the 1980s onwards interior design was popularized and that currently, social media networks exert a huge influence on the sector.
Sotz said that on Instagram in particular people are influenced by the many images and trends that decorators and architects share from around the world.
With regard to new trends, Stoz spoke of co-living which is beginning to gain momentum in the Netherlands and Germany.
The idea, which has been labeled as a sort of “dorms for adults” project involves different tenants share common areas such as kitchens and laundry rooms.
Highlights of the exhibition include a dining set designed by Belgian architect Jacques Dupuis.
“It is a rare and functional piece from the 1950s that you don’t often see in museums.
“It has interesting details in the way the different elements have been assembled,” Stoz said.
The show will be open until Nov. 3 and is curated around four types of households: the Brussels house, manor houses, apartments and lofts.