Journal Article

A Nation Under Reconstruction Never Sleeps:

Irene Cieraad

in Journal of Design History

Published on behalf of Design History Society

Volume 18, issue 2, pages 167-177
Published in print January 2005 | ISSN: 0952-4649
Published online January 2005 | e-ISSN: 1741-7279 | DOI:
A Nation Under Reconstruction Never Sleeps:

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The Dutch tubular steel wall bed was first introduced in the early1920s as a modern and practical solution for smaller middle-class apartments, and became widely disseminated in the post-war period. This article considers why the wall bed has now been virtually erased from the history of tube furniture. The bed's disguised identity was a popular solution in the cramped post-war housing situation in the Netherlands, and especially in one-room city apartments, in the context of a revived prudery and work ethos. The pre-war ideal of an active life style could be seen in most modern furniture and interior designs of the immediate post-war period. However, when the post-war baby-boom generation entered its teens, a more lenient and relaxed consumption mentality pervaded Dutch society, and most tubular steel wall beds were exchanged for bed sofas. Dutch production of tubular steel wall beds stopped in the 1970s and the process of discarding has accelerated ever since. Wall beds have become rare and as their usage has been scarcely documented, their place in post-war Dutch homes is fading from public memory and design history.

Keywords: bedrooms; domestic space; furniture; ideology; material culture; Netherlands

Journal Article.  6887 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Art ; Art Forms ; Industrial and Commercial Art ; Art Styles

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