Contemporary Positions in Interior Design Theory

The conference Interior – inferior – in theory? Contemporary positions in interior design theory brings together interior design researchers and educators from different countries to discuss contemporary theoretical positions within/about the discipline.

What constitutes interior design/interior architecture? How may interior design's relationship to architecture and design be defined and reflected theoretically? How is this discipline, which for decades has been classified as "emerging“ or "relatively young", taught, researched and understood professionally in different countries? How has this changed over time?

Taking theory building to be one of the most important acts of defining a discipline, the conference wants to draw connections between interior design theory and its historiography, historical research in interior design/interior architecture, and disciplinary conceptions as they are embodied in interior design programs and professional institutions in different countries.

Given interior design’s status as an "emerging“ discipline, often taught only at universities of applied sciences or, in some countries, not even established as a university subject, the title "Interior – inferior – in theory?“ refers to the notion that interior design lacks a historically grown body of research and, especially, a theory of its own, and instead largely relies on architecture and design theory.

Instead of continuing to rely on related discipline’s definitions, which result in a definition ex negativo, the conference aims to support the current trend of establishing a body of theory for the discipline that is its own.

Call for Papers

The call for papers (now closed) invited researchers, educators and professional institutions of interior design/architecture to contribute to the conference’s topics. For the symposium on the first day, we were interested in a broad and multifaceted range of papers from case studies investigating e.g. historical examples, which illuminate the discipline’s current theoretical status, to contemporary theoretical positions.

Call for Topics

The call for topics (now closed) invited interior educators, researchers and members of professional organisations to suggest topics that they would like to present and discuss with other participants. The conference’s second day is to be dedicated to the discussion of current themes and topics, which are related to the conference's concern with interior design theory and discipline building, and to foster new activities and cooperation.


Interior – Inferior – In Theory? Contemporary Positions in Interior Design Theory - 17-18 May 2018, Berlin, Germany

International conference organised by BAU International Berlin – University of Applied Sciences, Prof. Dr. Carola Ebert, Chair of Interior Design, History and Theory of Architecture and Design, in cooperation with Architektenkammer Berlin, Bund Deutscher Innenarchitekten, European Council of Interior Architects and Netzwerk Architekturwissenschaft.

Key Dates

Abstract Submission 15.01.2018
Notification of Acceptance 15.02.2018
Symposium 17.05.2018
Discussion & Debate 18.05.2018

Graeme Brooker


Thursday, May 17, 2018: Symposium, Panels: “Interior Design. History, Identity, Education”, “Interior Design Theory”, “Extending the perspective on the interior”, Keynote: Graeme Brooker.

Friday, May 18, 2017: Discussion, Panels: “Interior design education – an international perspective”, “The Interior beyond Architecture”, “Interior practices”, “Reuse and reconfigure”, “Research & Practice”



Thursday, May 17, 2018: The Symposium will be held at Deutsches Architektur Zentrum DAZ, Wilhelmine-Gemberg-Weg 6 in Berlin-Mitte (new address for an existing location).

Friday, May 18, 2017: Due to the great interest in the conference, Discussion & Debate on the second day will also take place at Deutsches Architektur Zentrum DAZ.


BAU International


Architektenkammer Berlin Netzwerk Architekturwissenschaft European Council of Interior Architects Netzwerk Architekturwissenschaft


The conference is free. However, seating is limited. Please secure your seat and register for the symposium and/or the follow-up discussion.


On the first day, the conference “Interior – inferior – in theory? Contemporary positions in interior design theory” addresses the discipline’s current status, its theoretical disposition and the nexus between research teaching and profession in seven academic papers plus a keynote by Graeme Brooker (RCA, London).


Registration is no longer possible.

Discussion & Debate

The conference’s second day continues the discussion of interior design theory and discipline building in a more interactive format. Researchers, educators, and professionals from six continents present different regional and occupational perspectives in order to foster a lively exchange.


Registration is no longer possible.