‘In welchem Style sollen wir wohnen?’
Exhibited Interiors in a Debate about Style
In ‘The Exhibitionist House’, Beatriz Colomina highlights how the house has become ‘the most important vehicle for the investigation of architectural ideas in this century’. The role that what I would call ‘style rooms’ – exhibited house interiors – have played in this process should not be underestimated. These temporary and relatively simple architectural installations are not only able to quickly demonstrate an idea to a large audience, but can also transcend the manifesto, the sales brochure, or the promotional leaflet by evoking an immediate illusion of the interior.
In my article, I want to position several of these style rooms in a debate about style and interiors that up to the present day remains of great importance to architecture and design. These specific interiors played a role in this debate at crucial moments in the first half of the twentieth century. Style, a key architectural concept, forms the foundation of many architectural-theoretical considerations and polemics, and is defined in the dictionary somewhat laboriously as the ‘collective characteristics of . . . artistic expression or way of presenting things or decorative methods proper to a person or school or period or subject.’