Apartments: then and now

It’s a quiet (finally!) and sunny Friday. So, what better way of spending it than writing about material culture (given that I spend a couple of hours a week talking to students about it). As I was coming home one day I noticed a ground floor flat with its curtains drawn and the “typical” apartment furniture and decorations- typical as in characteristic for the decorations/furniture in the communist era. Therefore, I thought I should draw a list of 5 pieces which one could find in our grandparents/parents flats and which will definitely not be found in my flat. As V. Buchli and other researchers nicely point out, the change in material culture comes with a change in habits and ways of inhabiting the space and representing ones status and identity. However, I am not gonna enter an anthropological-sociological discussion, and I’ll simply draw the facts [to be noted that I do not intend to mock any taste, just to highlight a change in fashion, which equals to a change in material culture]

Source: http://img01.mercador.ro/images_mercadorro/16073899_5_644x461_perdea-camera-de-pascani-ieftina-galai.jpg

1. The curtain. Not any type of curtain, but the flowery-lacy type (you can not believe how hard it was to find a picture on the internet, even though most people have/had one). There was also the “posh” version- curtain+drapery.

2. The Glass case. A respectable family would have in the living room (in 18 square meters at most usually): a bookcase, a sofa, armchairs  (sometimes even a 6 persons dining table with the appropriate chairs), and the glass case (sometimes the bookcase played this role, by having a glass windows section). In this case, all the “objects of art” were stored and displayed- a must would have been the ballerina statuette, the 4 seasons/shepherds, dogs, various cups and glasses, and in the early 90s the “seated Chinese man” appeared, along with Chinese vases).

Source: http://img.dollo.ro/2013/04/vitrina.jpg
Source: http://storage0.dms.mpinteractiv.ro/media/2/2/7088/4062047/42/decor-ceausist.jpg?width=470

3. The Doily. One could never have too many doilies seems to be the motto of many flats: on tables (to protect the veneer), side tables, in the glass case and, of course, on top of the TV set 🙂

Source: http://stejarmasiv.ro/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/televizor-alb-negru-diaman-bibelouri.jpg

4. The wooden sofa in the kitchen. That wooden sofa that would cover a corner of the kitchen, part of a set with a “rustic style” table, chairs and cushions…

Source: http://www.casamobilei-baly.ro/images/produse/30a5ef5b90a34455b2c0bdc4724b0d01.jpg

5. The chandelier. The one you would constantly bump into as the ceiling was not high enough.

Source: http://www.lustre.ro/image/cache/data/lichidari/lustra%20bolero%2006-006-600×600.jpg
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