The interior decorator is involved in the intimate scale of daily life and is part of the domestic, professional and cultural behaviour of people. Since the dawn of time, they have been creating, imagining, installing and decorating a living space to make it comfortable, a work space to make it warm or a cultural space to make it convivial.
Already in prehistoric times, man “decorated” the entrance to caves with wall paint and drawings.
From the Middle Ages onwards, man decorated and assembled objects to make his home more comfortable and convivial despite the harshness of life at that time.
Then Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci became, if we may say so, the “influencers” of the Italian Renaissance period by infusing romantic, dreamlike painting and setting the tone for a new and inspiring decoration.
The upholsterers and decorators were great professionals with the help of Michel-Eugène Chevreul, director of the Gobelins. They invented, decorated, created, and played with colours and materials to give meaning to a decoration that was charged and unique at the time.
But it is the 20’s that become the true witness of a decoration universe and a style that becomes more rational. Modernism and colour made their entrance into the interiors of bourgeois houses and mansions. The owners displayed an immoderate taste for the then precious materials. The Club armchair, the Chanel N°5 perfume bottle and the triangle-shaped Martini glasses are all elements that mark this period. This is Art Deco. From then on, “decoration” became more accessible to “private individuals”, i.e. bourgeois families.
Despite what one may think, the sources of the profession of architect go back to the 1930s/39 the term then used is: interior architecture. It was recognised as a new university course from 1946 under the name of “Interior Design”.
From the 1950s and 1960s onwards, a real modern trend breathed new life into the profession. Decoration took a turn for the private individual and companies. The environment in which we live and work becomes a strong and meaningful marketing argument.
Over time, the profession has developed into a fully-fledged, essential and innovative profession. Since the 90’s, decoration has become accessible to all, thanks to or because of the large distribution shops of inexpensive and designer products, objects and furniture.
TV shows, from the 2000s onwards, made their appearance and gave the change. They testify to a world that is changing but lacks skills. Training courses flourished and the “decorators” of the early days were born.
Today, the profession of interior designer is recognised across the Atlantic, in Asia and in the Nordic countries. In France, the professions are correctly classified with architects, interior architects, interior decorators, visual merchandisers or scenographers…..