The Modernisation of Furniture Making in Interwar Vilnius: Furniture and Its Designers

Acta Academiae Artium Vilnensis




furniture making, Vilnius Stephen Báthory University, modernism, art deco


Furniture making in Interwar Vilnius remains an under-researched area largely because of the political situation of that time. Emigration among the population of Vilnius during and following WWII, transformation of domestic environments, industrialisation, and the nationalisation of the economy during the early Soviet period have contributed to the lack of publicly available material artefacts that could shed light on the modern housholds of Vilnius residents and furniture workshops of that time. Today it is often assumed that Interwar Vilnius residents were still furnishing their interiors in the modern and historicist fashion, and that the city was flooded with furniture imports from the major centres of Poland. In spite of the fact that, in a broader context, some residents of Vilnius were still prioritising the old-fashioned furniture, the paper makes an assumption that there must have been some modern furniture that was produced for the new modernist buildings. The paper also questions the idea that the city‘s interiors were furnished mostly with imported furniture. To this day, we still have very little information about the local furniture makers, but the paper argues that the city‘s furniture market was dominated by the work of Vilnius‘ own furniture makers who were actively participating in various shows throughout the 1930s. These claims are based on the analysis of iconographic and historiographic material, as well as the extant individual examples of furniture which are analysed by focusing on their stylistic featu- res and comparing them with Polish furniture. The aim of the research is not only to discuss the furniture design of the Interwar period, but also to identify the personalities that contributed to the modernisation of Vilnius furniture making. The spread of modernist ideas was largely due to the Department of Fine Arts at Stephen Báthory University as well as various craft schools, individual furniture makers and workshop owners, popular culture, and, last but not least, Polish publications that circulated in the city and presented the latest fashions in interior and furniture design.

Author Biography

Aistė Dičkalnytė, Kaunas College, Kaunas, Lithuania

Aistė Dičkalnytė – art historian. She graduated in 2010 with a BA in Art History, and in 2012 – with a MA in Cultural Heritage and Tourism from Vytautas Magnus University. In 2018 defended her doc- toral thesis titled Furniture Making in Lithuania between 1918 and 1940: The Interactions Between the Original and Industrial Design in Vilnius Academy of Arts. Carries out various social and sci- entific research projects funded by the Structural Funds of the European Union and the Lithuanian Council for Culture. She is a lecturer in History of Furniture in the Faculty of Arts and Education at the Kaunas University of Applied Sciences. Her main research area is the history of Lithuanian design and architecture during the interwar period.



How to Cite

Dičkalnytė, A. (2020). The Modernisation of Furniture Making in Interwar Vilnius: Furniture and Its Designers: Acta Academiae Artium Vilnensis. Acta Academiae Artium Vilnensis, (98), 279–305.