Halverson Lecture: Penny Sparke

Nature Inside: Plants and Flowers in American Public Interiors, 1950s and 1960s

Thursday, October 26, 2017 - 5:00pm
Jewett Art Center 450 Classroom

This year's Harry Halverson Lecture on American Architecture presents Penny Sparke, professor of Design History at Kingston University in London.

In the 1950s and 1960s, many American public interiors—restaurants, corporate office blocks, retail stores, hotels, and shopping malls—began to embrace nature. Trees and exotic plants suddenly began to fill spaces where people ate, worked, and shopped, transforming those experiences into less exclusively urban ones. Sparke suggests that the roots of this phenomenon lay in 19th-century modernity, when glasshouses, winter gardens, hotel palm courts, and department stores began to blur the boundaries between private and public spaces by bringing an enduring symbol of Victorian domesticity—the potted palm—into their midst. During the post-WWII era, the scale changed significantly as professional interior landscapers worked to shape these new spaces.

Generously supported by the Art Department.

Image Credit: University for the Creative Arts