Interiors: Design, Architecture and Culture vol:4 issue:2 pages:149-173
After the Second World War, the Belgian furniture industry responded to the international developments in the field of modern design rather slowly. For many years, it remained largely focused on the use of solid wood, traditional craftsmanship and the production of “style furniture” – a term that refers to reinterpretations of historical furniture styles. However, several studies have shown that since the late 1940s different socio-cultural organizations, local authorities, social housing companies, cultural institutions and a few small-scale design organizations had largely independently been making efforts to change this situation, stimulated by the postwar housing need and the increasing import of foreign modern design. Up till now, the role of commercial companies in the promotion of modern design and the modernization of the domestic interior in postwar Belgium has received limited academic attention. Nevertheless, some of them played an active role in these developments. This article discusses the role of the Ghent furniture company Van Den Berghe-Pauvers as a partner in the promotion or mediation of modern furniture design in mid-20th century Belgium. No other Belgian furniture firm was more actively involved in the 1950s in such a diverse set of initiatives aiming at the promotion of “good design” and at the improvement of the home culture of the working class and the rural population. More insight into the history of this company will provide a better understanding of the significance of its products in older as well as contemporary interior arrangements.