Ideal Home Exhibition (est. 1908) Aspirational British Design

Ideal Home Exhibition 1908
Ideal Home Exhibition 1908

The Daily Mail newspaper sponsored the Ideal Home Exhibition (from 1908). These shows provide an insight into popular taste and aspiration across all facets of domestic design and organisation in Britain.

Beginnings

The first exhibition, held in 1908 at the Olympia exhibition complex in London, drew 160,000 visitors to see a display of show houses and labour-saving equipment and was followed by three more displays in 1910, 1912, and 1913 before the First World War. The Omega Workshops, a firm influenced by the Fauvists and Cubists in France and the Wiener WerkstƤtte in Austria, supplied an avant-garde chamber.

Between the Wars

Even though the Ideal Home Exhibitions were interrupted by the First World War, their popularity grew significantly in tandem with the British housebuilding boom of the 1920s and 1930sā€”even during the early 1930s depression, attendance was close to 700,000.

Housing types for various income brackets were displayed alongside all kinds of new appliances and ideas about domestic planning and management from 1920 to 1939 (on a larger scale from 1923 with the opening of an extension to Olympia). It was held annually from 1920 to 1939 (on a larger scale from 1923 with the opening of an extension to Olympia). The Modernist House of the Future, equipped with underfloor heating, pneumatic furniture, disposable (cardboard) ‘crockery,’ and a garage hangar for an ‘aerocar,’ was a popular magnet in the 1928 exhibition.

Post World War II

The shows returned in 1947 after World War II, albeit they took on a more commercial tone with the leasing of stands to generate revenue. To broaden its impact, the Council of Industrial Design (COID, see Design Council) took part in a series of Ideal Home Exhibitions to engage the public in how design can help society. In 1948, it spent Ā£250 on a designer to outfit the Ministry of Health’s Aluminium House. The following year, it spent another Ā£250 on five designers to furnish and equip the Ministry of Health’s terraced houses for a successful Four Ways of Living display operation.

Following WWII, attendance at Ideal Home Exhibitions remained high, demonstrating persistent public interest in home design: in 1951, 1,135,102 people attended, 1,128,123 in 1965, and 879,564 in 1975. However, the rise in the number of Do-It-Yourself superstores and home furnishing and decorating periodicals and the growing impact of television provided alternative channels for the public interest. Despite this, the displays drew a large number of visitors. For example, a segment named ‘Science Comes Home’ was included in the first postwar exhibition in 1947 to demonstrate how technological and scientific achievements made during the war years might be implemented at home.

Another House of the Future was shown in 1956. This mass-produced house, designed by Alison and Peter Smithson and including built-in appliances and equipment, attempted to reflect mechanised living in the 1980s. A remote-controlled radio television and controls for raising and lowering floor portions to create coffee or dining tables were included in the living area. A dishwasher that also disposed of all waste, a sink with a waste disposal unit, and a microwave oven were among the kitchen’s other amenities, which featured an electrostatic dust collector that could work on its own.

Post-1960s

In the decades that followed, technologically focused displays remained popular. In 1965, the Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition introduced its design award scheme, the Blue Riband, to coincide with the many other design prizes created in the 1950s and 1960s. The goal was to encourage British and international firms to display innovative goods at the show. The latter were eligible if they were first introduced to the British market within the previous twelve months and demonstrated a novel concept or significant improvement to an existing design. The Ideal Home Exhibitions were taken over by Angex, a separate company founded by the Daily Mail in 1975. Earl’s Court, London, hosted the exhibitions from 1979 forwards.

Change of Hands

For the first time in its history, the show was sold in 2008. The show, now owned by multi-award-winning media company Media 10, looks forwards to the twenty-first century, bringing the latest innovations, brightest ideas, and most inspiration (and, of course, fantastic shopping) to the hundreds of thousands of visitors who continue to enjoy the industry’s largest and best home show – the Ideal Home Show!

Sources

Alliance, H. O., & Magazine, G. H. (n.d.). Homepage. Ideal Home Show. Retrieved October 28, 2021, from https://www.idealhomeshow.co.uk/welcome.

Woodham, J. M. (2006). A dictionary of modern design. Oxford University Press.

You may also be interested in

  • Javier Mariscal (b.1950) Spanish designer and Graphic Artist

    Javier Mariscal Designer featured image

    Javier Mariscal is a Spanish designer. He was born in Valencia. He is professionally active in Barcelona. He studied at the Escuela de Grafismo Elisava, Barcelona, to 1971.Read More →

  • Festival of Britain 1951 – Post War Morale Builder

    Festival of Britain artist's view

    The Festival of Britain (FOB) was seen both as a public morale booster and an opportunity to remind the world of Britain’s contribution to civilisation, history, and technological development in the past, present, and future. It took place on the South Bank of the River Thames. The Council of Industrial Design (COID) provided an essential stage for promoting well-designed British products in its national push for economic recovery in the post-Second World War era, especially on the main South Bank, London, more specifically in terms of design.Read More →

  • American Designers’ Gallery (1928) Design Group -Decorative Arts

    American Designer's Gallery featured image

    The American Designer’s Gallery was founded in New York in 1928 to promote high aesthetic standards in the modern decorative arts and support designers’ professional standing. Its headquarters wereĀ located at the gallery of interior designer and decorator PaulĀ Frankl.Read More →

  • Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886 ā€“ 1969) German architect and designer

    Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe featured image

    Between 1905 and 1907, he worked as an apprentice to architect and furniture designer Bruno Paul in Berlin, where he studied wooden furniture design. He created furniture for all of his early homes, including the Werner residence.Read More →

  • A Century of Progress International Exposition – Chicago 1933 – 1934

    Chicago Century of Progress

    An exhibition summary noted that the nation, “then still mired in the malaise of the Great Depression, could glimpse a happier not-too-distant future, all driven by innovation in science and technology.” Fair visitors saw the new wonders in rail travel, cars, architecture, and robots that smoke cigarettes. The Fair “emphasised technology and progress, a utopia, or perfect world, founded on democracy and manufacturing.”Read More →

  • Ideal Home Exhibition (est. 1908) Aspirational British Design

    Ideal Home Exhibition 1908

    The Daily Mail newspaper sponsored the Ideal Home Exhibition (from 1908). These shows provide an insight into popular taste and aspiration across all facets of domestic design and organisation in Britain.Read More →

  • The Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne 1937

    International Exposition of Art and Technology in Modern Life

    From 25 May to 25 November 1937, the Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne (International Art and Technology Exhibition in Modern Life) was held in Paris, France. Both the Palais de Chaillot, which houses the MusĆ©e de l’Homme and the Palais de Tokyo, which houses the MusĆ©e d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, were built for this exhibition, which was officially approved by the Bureau International des Expositions.Read More →

  • ‘Exposition Universelle’ Paris 1900

    Exposition Universelle

    Like a number of its predecessors and successors, the main object of the international 1900Read More →

  • End of WWII a revolution in furniture design

    Rudder Table by Isamu Noguchi, 1949.

    End of WWII a revolution in furniture design. Womb and shell chairs, biomorphic tables, cat’s cradle pedestals, and architectural shapes are reminiscent of the Second World War’s fertile furniture design era.Read More →

  • Gothenburg, Sweden Exhibition (1923)

    Gothenburg 1923 Exhibition Reconstruction

    The Gothenburg Tercentennial Jubilee Exhibition (Swedish JubileumsutstƤllningen I Gƶteborg) was a world fair held in Gothenburg, Sweden in 1923, marking the 300th anniversary of the city’s establishment. The fair, which opened on 8 May, lasted until 30 September.Read More →

  • Design Festivals

    Design Exhibitions ballloons floating in air

    Design exhibitions and festivals from around the world that you need to know about.Read More →

  • Design Shanghai trade show returns with focus on regenerative design

    Design Show Shanghai

    Design Shanghai returns to present a host of Chinese and international brands alongside a cultural programme exploring how design can have a positive impact on people and the planet. Taking place from 3 to 6 June at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition and Convention Center, Design Shanghai will present over 400 local and international brands across eight different sections.Read More →

  • Henry Cole (1808 – 1882) British design education leader

    Henry Cole Christmas Card featured image

    Henry Cole was a significant force in 19th-century British design education, emphasising its importance to industry. He was also instrumental in the organisation of the Great Exhibition of 1851 and the founding of the Journal of Design.Read More →

  • Jasper Morrison (1959 – ) British Designer quirky, understated furniture

    Jasper Morrison Cork Furniture

    Morrison produced quirky, satiric, understated furniture. His 1986 South Kensington flat was widely published in design magazines. He designed 1988Ā Door handles I and II, and a 1989 range of aluminium handles produced by FSB in Germany.Ā Read More →

  • Montreal’s Expo 67 Kindle Edition by Bill Cotter

    Montreal Expo 67 featured image

    In 1967, Canada celebrated its 100th anniversary with a spectacular party to which the entire world was invited. Expo 67 in Montreal was Canada’s first world’s fair, and it was a huge success, attracting over 50 million visitors.Read More →

  • Fashion Photos to Get Spotlight at Les Arts DĆ©coratifs Exhibition

    Les Arts DĆ©coratifs Exhibition

    Some of the most iconic fashion photographs of all time, including Horst P. Horstā€™s 1991Read More →

  • Black Mountain College art exhibit

    Black Mountain College art exhibit

    Connecting Legacies: A First Look at the Dreier Black Mountain College Archiveā€ features archival objects from the Theodore Dreier Sr. Document Collection presented alongside artworks from the Asheville Art Museumā€™s Black Mountain College Collection to explore the connections between artworks and ephemera. Read More →

  • The NY Public Libraryā€™s Collection of Weird Objects

    The NY Public Libraryā€™s Collection of Weird Objects

    On March 28, 1941, Virginia Woolf took her final walk to the River Ouse near her home in Sussex. She did it with her trusty cane in her hand, the very cane that can be seen in the video above in New Yorker alongside other Woolf-related artefacts. Its five minutes provide a brief introduction to the “weird objects” of the Berg Collection of the New York Public LibraryRead More →

  • Saint-Gobain French glass and crystal manufacturer

    Saint-Gobain is a French glass and crystal manufacturer that is located Chapelle St.-Mesmin. Saint-Gobain produced a basic glass design intended for picnics and sold throughout the world for general use. One of its more unique and widely published products was the 1937 illuminated glass radiator by Rene Coulon, who was instrumental in establishing the Institut de recherche de la siderurgie et le laboratoire de recherche de Saint-Gobain (Saint-Gobain Institute of Iron-Steel Research and its research laboratory).Read More →

  • The MusĆ©e des Arts DĆ©coratifs in Paris

    MuseĢe des Arts DeĢcoratifs

    The MusĆ©e des Arts DĆ©coratifs (Museum of Decorative Arts) is a museum dedicated to the exhibition and conservation of decorative arts. Located at 107 Rue de Rivoli in the city’s 1st arrondissement, the museum occupies the northwest wing of the Palais du Louvre, known as the Pavillon de Marsan (Marsan Pavilion). With more than one million objects in its collection, the MusĆ©e des Arts DĆ©coratifs is the largest museum of decorative arts in continental Europe.Read More →

ā¤ļø Receive our newsletter

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.