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(1) In architecture, the inner space of a building” (residential, public, or industrial building) or a particular area in a building, such as a vestibule, foyer, room, or hall. Interiors are functionally designed to answer the demands of man’s activities. The function of an interior determines its architectural structure (absolute dimensions, shape, proportion, lighting, rhythm and relative scale of support distribution, windows, doorways, projections, niches, and the articulation of walls) and the arrangement of its furnishings.
In order to influence the mood or emotional state of its occupants, an interior is organized artistically in terms of both its architectural composition and its furnishings. It is designed to conform to a building’s layout, spatial structure, and basis of design. However, it is also possible to construct an interior that, to a certain degree, is architecturally independent from the rest of the building. The use of additional structural elements, such as suspended ceilings, raised floors, and partitions, makes it possible to vary spatial dimensions within different sections of a building and to transform the interior (as in Japanese houses).
Murals, reliefs, statues, mosaics, and stained-glass windows are designed to decorate interiors and to conform to the architecture. The ornamental designs and the subjects depicted on decorated panels often give specific expression to the underlying scheme of the interior. An interior’s furnishings include works of decorative and applied art that are organically united with the architectural space. The architectural composition of an interior often provides for its division into different parts, or zones, for different purposes (for example, the naves, transept, and chancel of a cathedral; the circle, pit, and stage of a theater). The different zones are accentuated to a large extent by the furnishings and their arrangement.
A relatively large interior is perceived gradually. As a person enters an interior, its various parts (and their combinations) are revealed, enabling the designer to allow for the many different aspects of the interior’s architectural and artistic structure. The apprehension of the entire complex of inner spaces of a building or structure is more complex and extensive. The architects and artists of the 17th and 18th centuries were particularly adept at combining large groups of official and residential suites of rooms into an integral artistic structure; a subtle mixture of moods and nuances are harmoniously unfolded, blending with the surroundings that are seen through the windows.
Contemporary architects are very interested in problems of interior design. These problems include the functional and aesthetic arrangement of an interior that relates to its environment. Architects are also seeking to solve the problem of designing an interior that serves a definite purpose but has the potential to fulfill multiple functions. Architects and artists must find solutions to these difficult problems that will provide comfort to man and also answer his high aesthetic demands.
(2) A genre of painting that flourished in the works of 17th-century Dutch (P. Saenredam and E. de Witte) and Flemish painters. In the 19th century, Russian painters of the Venet-sianov school began to use this genre. Interiors often play large roles in genre painting and historical painting.
I. M. GLOZMAN