Sunday, February 18, 2007

Eclecticism

Towards the end of the nineteenth century the idea of looking to the past for inspiration became known as eclecticism. During this time people were ready for an alternative to modernism. Imitating any historical period style became the new viewpoint of design. This was the first time that people were looking to completely recreate past styles. Other eras often used historical precedents to create a style, however they always had an original twist. This new idea actually led to the need for a new profession known as interior design. A designer with the knowledge to recreate any period style as convincingly as possible was now needed. An inteior designer had to be skilled enough to revive any style needed to match the outside of buildings such as; French Renaissance, Gothic, Georgian Colonial, and anything else that was thought of as "traditional style."Architects were also being taught design through historial precedents. Style was now chosen by whatever seemed most appropriate for a particular project. It's evident that without the rise of eclectism the interior design profession would not have been demanded by the late nineteenth century. Where do you feel the interior design profession would be without the rise of eclecticism?

21 comments:

Caitlin said...

Studying the history of design that had led to present day design tells me one thing; that the past effects the future. Learning that the movement of Eclectcism is what brought about a strong need for the interior designer has made me realize how important this era was. It allowed the need for someone to re-design spaces according to previous styles to be a needed occupation. This era is what brought this need on, but to answer the question, we have to think about the course of time. If the need for an interior designer hadn't occurred during this time period, I believe that it would have occurred later in time. It would have to. So I think that the need for an interior designer would have come up at some point in history had it not been during the Eclectic period. If it hadn't occured during this period, but a later one, I think interior designers would still be needed but, maybe not in the same way as we are today. I feel the interior design program would still be very existant without the rise of eclecticism, but maybe not with as much power.

Mallory said...

Eclecticism is an interesting period in design history and obviously a highlight to those who study interiors, but I have to wonder: what would the study of interior design begin with if not for antiquity? As Caitlin mentioned above, all design looks back to the past for inspiration, for symbolization, for ideas for the future, etc. The rise of eclecticism simply reinforced this idea that was inevitable to begin with. Throughout history there is a constant back and forth, "what goes around, comes around" feel to design- whether it be design of furniture, clothing, or interiors. I think that this looking back to the past would eventualy have led to the study of interior design regardless of when eclecticism actually started, although I find it interesting that artists did not come more into play in interior design- what with all the frescos and such that were such a huge part on ancient design. I think that eclecticism really gave interior design a boost as far as pushing it into a profession- but I think it was bound to happen sooner or later either way!

Megandrees said...

I don't think that Electism is the only route to which interior design could be formed. The past styles were slowly trickling down and middle class poeple wanted to have thier hands on the fashionable things. It was a matter of time before someone declared themselves an expert at decorating and others paid them to decorate their homes. So I think that interior decorating came about more from the changing of the times than a specific style encouraging a new proffesion.

brittanyg0321 said...

Eclecticism was definately an important period for the interior designer. Before this period, there was no need for an expansive knowledge of many past period design because there was no mixing of the styles. I agree if it had not happened in the Eclectic era, it was bound to happen in the future, but I think this period left a hole for the designers to make a niche in and remain long term.

kinseyjanzen said...

I agree with Megan, Caitlin, Mallory, and Brittany. Although the Interior Designer came about in this era, with or without Eclecticism, the Interior Designer was coming. It was only a matter of time until someone decided they were an expert at choosing interiors and calling themselves that. Also, I think there were probably interior designers before this time, but they just called themselves something else or nothing at all. Even though interior designers would have sprung up somewhere in history, I think this period gave them more of a foothold than others, since there were so many different styles to choose from. Therefore, if they had come before or after, they might not have survived the profession.

Mary Margaret said...

Without Eclecticism I feel that interior designers would have eventually been needed and we would still be in the design program at UK. Although this profession was started around the eclectic time period, we always find solutions for our problems. They needed interior designers to deal with the interior problems. Yes architects could do what interior designers do somewhat but this profession focuses on the minor details that architects might not have even seen. I am not sure if that is what everyone else said I am sure it is because we all know that professions have been broken up throughout history into specific areas and this is what would have happened down the road if it was not in the ecelectic movement.It just happened to be in that time period.

emily said...
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emily said...

Although the interior decorating profession developed during the eclectic style, I do not believe that this era was the last opportunity for the interior decorating profession to arise and develop. Architects, for example Vitruvius, have always looked to historical precedents for current design and have thus become experts by studying the past. Therefore, due to the growing profession of architects, the only natural step during this time frame was for a more specialized and competitive profession to develop during a time of social, economic, and political changes; variables that would have developed the interior decorating profession then or later. However, I do believe the development of the interior decorator during the eclectic era was a good starting point for many current design programs today.

monicam said...

I believe that eclecticism definitely had a hand in bringing about the profession of interior designer. It created a "want" within people to have interiors that were completely true to history and in the "spirit" of past designs. Although I do agree with other posts that interior design would have came about no matter what , I truly believe that eclecticism opened the door.

brittney said...

Although I do believe that 'Eclecticism' played a large role in the development of interior design as a profession, I, as some others have previously mentioned, do feel like it is just something that would have eventually evolved anyway. People, as a whole, love to be involved in the something greater than them, to be part of an elite group or membership and having 'professionally decorated and designed' homes allowed for this status in an entirely new aspect of day to day life. Being able to say that your home was thoroughly thought out by only the most knowledgable in the field of design (at that time, historians, essentially) meant that you were somehow above those who hadn't...and to be frank, this is something everyone strives for...making the development of the design profession inevitable. 'Eclecticism' merely aided in speeding up this process.

Brad said...

I feel that the Interior Design profession was directly affected by eclecticism just as it has been affected by every other style/period in history. I do not believe that eclecticism can be creditied with jump starting the profession. The differentiation and specialization in fields such as Enginering and Architecture and Interior Decorating came about through the Industrial Revoulution in general with the use of new materials and mass production of decorative items. As well as the rise of the middle class and the fortunes emassed by many people. I feel the Interior Design profession would have evolved into it's specialized field with or without any particular design era. The larger and more diverse the world is the more need for even further specialization.

G.Fickle said...

I believe that the role of the interior designer not only came with eclectism, but with the wealth from the industrial revolution to the middle class. It is true that new styles looked to the past for inspiration and were developed and built upon. Remembering back on who hired the architects and the designer to create styles back then were very powerful and wealthy. Once the rise of the middle class with all of their income, they too were able to hire designers to make their space beautiful. These people demanded the need for interior designers so that thier space was better than thier neighbors.

spees said...

I agree with the multitude of other posts that said the interior designer would have come about eventually. Obviously, the eclectic period gave us our roots, because they needed someone very knowledgable about specific styles. But I feel the "decorator" that was generated came from the need for someone that paid attention to specifics. These were more technical people paying attention to detail, using accessories to make the space. And yet they were only focused on the interior... if the actual position rose from the need for a person to know about a specific style then why did they not also work on the outside of the house,wasn't this still part of the style? But, this was still left to the architect. Saying all this, the designer would've come about eventually because, for the most part, the job was created because it was easier and more efficient to divy up the tasks of the entire building or space between two specialists, one for the interior and one for the exterior.

Becca Cole said...

Even though the Eclecticism period was a huge influence on design, I am having a hard time believing that it is the reason for the existence of the design profession. Just like anything else in this world, there are stepping stones for how it arrives to a certain point; it is called evolution. I feel that every period/style has had some kind of influence on the design profession and without all of it design would not be what it is today. Like any other profession, a time comes where there is abundance of information in a certain area were people are needed to become proficient with it. It was a matter of time when it was going to come about. It just so happened in the eclecticism period.

Audrey said...

The problem with Eclecticism is that it forced people to think that good design had to commit to an expired theme. Shouldn’t we, as designers, seek something that is applicable for the here and now? Okay, so I like antiques and I have been known to stroll down the themie aisles of Target on occasion, but in all good conscience is it innovative? We may have been better off without Eclecticism. This is not to discredit Eclecticism entirely, as it most certainly had a profound role in legitimizing the interior design profession. This is just to say that we may have had more artistic freedoms and a greater need to develop something new (i.e. something beyond Nuevo) rather than reinventing the past. Sure we can always look to the past as a muse, or put a few antiques and/or exotic items in our spaces, but lets avoid creating ancient fantasylands. Let us create new ones instead.

Joyce T said...

Eclecticism was one of the first periods to call for an extensive knowledge of all past styles of design. Interiors previous to this style could be done by the architect or by the home owner by throwing their collection of furnishings together. But as we gained more knowledge, we moved away from the renaissance man, and towards more specified careers, including Interior Design. Although there are many recent architects who still design the interiors, if it was not for the Eclectic period, perhaps the architect designing the entire building inside and out would be more commonly practiced and there would not be as much need for an interior designer. Perhaps we would not yet have realized how beneficial it is to have expertise in more specified areas of the design if it was not for the demands of the Eclectic period.

algrun2 said...

Without elclecticism, the world of design would seem somewhat ambiguous. Desgin would seem very arbitrary without any reason. This era allows us to reflect on design origin and great mind's behind the designs. Eclecticism also teaches us ways to approach design problems and how to compose reliable solutions.Interior Design depends on this information because without refrence to past ideas, how can we expect to create successful designs for the future?

Jennifer Litsey said...
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Jennifer Litsey said...

I think that this period is very interesting. Not necessarily because of the style, but because it was the first time that the past was being exactly replicated, therefore as estee said, creating a need for a designer for the first time. They craved styles from the past so much that they couldn't even add their own little twist to the designs; they wanted it just as it was.
But even though this was the first time that they realized a designer was needed, I agree with Megan in that this would have happened eventually. It is inevitable that someone would try to make a career out of this, because it was a growing to be more and more popular to have your home decorated to show your wealth and success. So much so that they were finding ways to make this cheaper, allowing lower income families to participate in this growing fad as well. So it would only make sense that someone would finally step out and say "let me help you with that", and then realize that they could actually get paid for this, therefore making a career out of it.

edperr2 said...

Eclectcism has lead to new building conventions as well as new ways to approach design in terms of old theories. But, without this style, or rather copy of styles, I am almost postive that design would not be any worse off than if it had not happened. The fact that it was another revival type only shows the cyclical nature of the human.

I mean, when you have bands like Fall Out Boy being nearly number one.. change is coming. People will realize soon enough.

Jonathan Fox said...

I think we have always looked to the past for inspiration and copying of styles. Elclecticism just made it copying into a style of it's own. As time went on and styles changed, there would have eventually been a need for and interior designer eventually. There ad to be someone who could keep up with all the many changing styles and know how to incorporate those styles to meet the design goals of a particular project. We will allways have cycles in which old styles become new again, not just in design and architecture but in most all things requireing creative desin such as art and fashion. The good part about that is we usually learn from our mistakes in the past and the styles tend to get stronger and more refined each time they come back around.

This blog is intended for the interior design students in the college of design at the University of Kentucky. It was created with the intent to present students with information, providing them with a channel for contemplation and discussion.