Welcome to the London Architecture Diary, your essential guide to architecture exhibitions and events taking place across the city, brought to you by New London Architecture.

Domestic desires

16 October 18:30 - 20:00
Organized by: Royal Academy of Arts
Venue: , Geological Society
Burlington House

Join us as we take a closer look at the impact mass media has had on domestic spaces.


Magazines, trade shows, advertising and television have shaped our understanding of an ideal home. They both influence and are formulated by what domesticity means at a particular moment.


The media continuously influences our understanding of domesticity and interior design. From television shows to glossy magazines, the home has been the object of consumerist desire for more than a century. It simultaneously expresses and defines individual identities, fulfilling our need for social conformity.


Thus, the direct connection between the emergence of the domestic ideal and the rise of industrial capitalism does not come as a shock. The existence of the home as a consumerist object has given it a prevalence in media and popular culture that cannot be compared with any other architectural typology.


The impact of changing fashions on the home is becoming ever more apparent. As inspiration increasingly comes more from the digital, we are eschewing glossy magazines and newspaper critics for Instagram influencers and Pinterest boards. The democratisation of taste means that trends and preconceptions about how we live are becoming quantified and turned into statistics. Our choices are determined by those who have come before us – individuals with a similar consumer profile.


With that in mind, we take a closer look at the changes that characterise representations of the home throughout the 20th century and investigate the effects these have on our understanding of domesticity today. How is new media influencing understandings of domesticity? Is there a significant difference to times past or are we simply dealing with the addition of a new medium? And how does quantified taste influence individuality and creativity?


Speakers include:

Deborah Chambers – Professor of Media and Cultural Studies, Newcastle University; author of Changing Media, Homes and Households: Cultures, Technologies and Meanings

Deborah Sugg-Ryan – Professor of Design History and Theory, University of Portsmouth; author of Ideal Homes: Design, Architecture and Suburban Modernity in England, 1918-39