Interior designers were once seen as the masters of the “modernist style” that was defined by their ability to “think beyond” the rigid constraints of the 19th century.
In their own words, they were “filling the voids in a world that was increasingly dominated by rigid forms.”
Today, they’re often seen as a subset of the design world and are generally seen as more interested in creating spaces for personal expression rather than creating products.
The 60s and 70s ushered in a new era for interior design as designers began to think in terms of “the aesthetic and the social,” according to David D. Dye, an architect and professor of architecture at the University of Southern California.
In that era, designers were asked to look at the world around them, and “in particular, how did people perceive the world and the people in it, and how could they change it?”
The first real step for interior designers was creating spaces that would allow them to “experience, think about, and respond to the world in a more holistic way,” Dye says.
“It was a revolution in the design process.”
For example, designers can take inspiration from the social, cultural, and social issues of the day and then incorporate those ideas into their designs, he says.
They also have to be “familiar with the current state of things and how people experience things in the world today.”
In the 60s, designers had to create a “concept of the home,” which meant they needed to create space for the people they were designing to live in and create a sense of community.
In the 70s, however, “there was a lot more room for individual creativity and a more collaborative approach to design,” Dyes says.
These changes led to a shift in the way interior designers were viewed by consumers, and it’s what’s made designers today a more popular choice among interior designers.
“People have seen more of an emphasis on social media, social networks, and digital design,” says Dye.
This is a trend that’s still going on today, especially among younger generations, which Dye attributes to the rise of smartphones, which allow designers to create more and more immersive spaces.
“There’s a huge difference between the idea of being a home designer and being an interior designer,” Denslow says.
While he says this trend will continue to change, the trend is a good example of what has already happened with interior design in the last 50 years.
The 1970s, “were the heyday of the interior designer, and that was pretty much all they were,” he says, adding that in the 60-70s, they had more freedom to create spaces for people to be themselves.
“Today, that’s just not the case anymore.
The demand for the modernist style has exploded.
It’s more mainstream, and the supply has just increased.”
For more information about interior design and design trends, see “A modernist aesthetic: From sketchup to design” and “Inside the modern interior designer.”