Call for papers / 66th Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians

Architects Groupe EGAU, interior of the Mozin house, Liège, 1957-58

The Society of Architectural Historians is now accepting abstracts for papers for its 66th Annual Conference in Buffalo, NY, April 10-14, 2013. Please submit abstracts of no more than 300 words no later than June 1st for one of the thematic sessions listed below. There will also be open sessions for those whose research does not match any of the themed sessions.

For more information concerning the conference, the sessions and the procedure for submitting abstracts, please consult the SAH website.

Fredie Floré (VU Amsterdam / UGent) and Cammie McAtee (Harvard University) organize a session on postwar architecture and modern design: 

Postwar Architecture and the Diplomacy of Furniture
Consumer goods, especially furniture, were an important means of expressing America’s political and socio-economical strength in the postwar decades. Modern design was used to demonstrate the country’s high standard of living and became a signboard of the ‘American way of life.’ The companies who produced this appealing furniture employed clever export strategies and convincing advertisements; their modern furniture quickly became a staple of office interiors and the homes of the progressive upper-middle class in many parts of the world.
Most studies within this field have focused on the ambitions and strategies of company directors, the architects and designers who created their products, and the graphic design professionals who made these objects so desirable. A thorough understanding of the systems through which their products were promoted and received outside, and to some degree, inside the United States is still lacking. To further explore the role furniture played in selling a political message worldwide and in strengthening the political representation of modern architecture, this session seeks papers that examine the distribution, consumption, and reception of modern furniture between 1945 and c.1960.
Papers may examine highly visible firms as Knoll International or lesser known manufacturers and distributors of modern furniture. We are especially interested in the way their products informed or manipulated ‘local’ furniture production and the visual representation of modern architecture. Other topics might include, but are not limited to, the representation of furniture brands in architecture journals; the role played by modern furniture in foreign diplomatic facilities; the mediation of imported design through exhibitions and showrooms; the role played by modern furniture in Cold War politics; collaborations between design multinationals, local furniture producers and architects/designers; furniture design as a conduit of international exchange. Case studies on individual contributions are welcome, provided they address the larger session theme. Session chairs: Fredie Floré, Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture, VU University Amsterdam/Ghent University,; and Cammie McAtee, Harvard University;

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