Jan 20 2012: Domestic Interiors from Golden Homes Magazine (Marshall Cavendish, 1972)
These 1970s interiors are not, it has to be said, from the higher end of the design spectrum, where the likes of Verner Panton and Dieter Rams are rightly celebrated, but from a Marshall Cavendish partwork which went through three print runs during the decade: first in 1972, then in 1974 and 1976. These magazines were designed to be collected, then bound into folders (usually sold to you by the publisher) to make authoritative reference works on their subject of choice. In the case of Golden Homes, the examples of interiors in these photographs illustrate sections on how to achieve the ‘look’ in your own home, how to make some of the furniture designs yourself, and are interspersed with more straightword articles on repairing rainwater guttering, or hemming curtains, or re-upholstering an armchair. Even so, the strange thing is how futuristic some of these layouts look almost forty years after their initial construction, partly a question of retro-fashion in our own time, but also, perhaps, a sign that the futuristic lifestyle they promised, as a leisure society emerged, instead took a turn into darker byways with the advent of the oil-shocks of the early part of that decade, and the fallout from those shocks that resonated through it, right into the move against political consensus that gained office in 1979 and has continued unabated since. Yet, as with the progressive advertising of the Festival of Britain programme, so here we can sense the signs of this turn already emerging, not least in the oddly insulated, inward-looking nature of the spaces portrayed here. Few have windows. There is a strong sense of an urge to create ‘cocoons’ on display, as though interiors design was, at this point, unconsciously encouraging the reconstruction of domestic space as a kind of protected adolescent bedroom into which the world outside could no longer intrude.