Ornament as a Marker of National Identity? Decorations in Design and Interiors during the Interwar Period (Summary)

Lijana Šatavičiūtė (PDF)

The décor of the Lithuanian interwar interiors and design items was influenced by the ideas of a new way of life, international trends, the needs of society and financial possibilities. The people creating residential interiors had different aesthetic tastes, education levels and ways of expressing their worldviews. The fashions of home décor reflect a dynamic change of trends and the coexistence of mixed forms featuring intertwined Art Deco, functionalism and retrospective modernism. Potentially because of this, the interior of the same house could feature different decoration styles and opposite tendencies could be seen in the works of the same designer.

The search for modernity forced the architects and artists to change their approach to the décor of things, abandon it altogether or start looking for aesthetics in the structure and materials. The trust in the ability of a shape to speak for itself is likely related to modernist trends that reached Lithuania via various channels at the time. However, the décor of interiors and equipment reflected functionalism and rationalism. The choice was often determined by the conservatism of the residents of the house, their preference for Art Deco and the ideal of a cosy home.

Architects and artists often focused on the accents of the national style in interiors. The most common way to incorporate ethnicity in interior architecture and works of fine arts was through the stylisation and modernisation of ethnic ornaments. The national style of décor was quite often used in modernist pieces.

Keywords: Lithuanian national ornament, interior decorations, Art Deco, functionalism, modernism