The lecture addresses a case-study that will appear in Penny Sparke’s new book ‘Nature Inside: Plants and Flowers in Modern Interiors’. The focus is on the ways in which plants were used in sunny post-war California to blur the boundaries between the interior and exterior spaces of many of the innovative modern homes that were built there.
Penny Sparke is a Professor of Design History at Kingston University and the Director of the Modern Interiors Research Centre. She studied French Literature at the University of Sussex from 1967-1971 and between 1972 and 1975 undertook research for her PhD in the History of Design at Brighton Polytechnic. She subsequently developed courses in, and taught, the History of Design to undergraduate and postgraduate students at Brighton Polytechnic (1975-1982) and the Royal College of Art (1982-1999). From 1999 to 2005 she was Dean of the Faculty of Art, Design & Music at Kingston University and from 2005 to 2014 she was Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise). She has also participated in conferences, given keynote addresses, been a member of journal editorial boards, curated exhibitions, delivered visiting lectures, broadcast and published in the field of Design History both nationally and internationally. Her most important publications include An Introduction to Design and Culture, 1900 to the present (1986 and 2004); Design in Context (1987); Electrical Appliances (1988); Italian Design from 1860 to the present (1989); The Plastics Age (1990); As Long as It’s Pink: The Sexual Politics of Taste (1995); Elsie de Wolfe: The Birth of Modern Interior Decoration (2005); and The Modern Interior (2008). She has also supervised and examined many PhDs in her subject.