Joy McCall - Online Education

21 Sep 2021

Joy McCall - 20th Century and Contemporary Design

‘My passion for design is linked to my love of visual arts,’ says Joy McCall, auction house specialist and author and presenter of the 20th Century and Contemporary Design online course at Christie’s Education. ‘The fact that design is useful makes it all the more appealing.’ A specialist at the British auction house Lyon & Turnbull and previously Christie’s, Joys expertise combines a deep knowledge of design history with an understanding of the market. An encounter at the Christie’s valuations desk early in her career was the catalyst for a life in design when she ‘realised the three-dimensionality and the functionality of the pieces fascinated me.’


Joy aims to bring this thrill of discovery to 20th Century and Contemporary Design, noting that we ‘see both the works of designers and their influence every single day.’ Spanning early 20th century design style to contemporary interior design, students will encounter a roll-call of the movements and moments that convulsed the world of design. ‘We cover art nouveau, art deco, modernism, mid-century modern, pop to post-modernism and conclude with contemporary design,’ she says.


Each session focuses on a period of aesthetic and technological innovation within its cultural and geographical context, and how these developments distilled function into form. ‘We will consider the leading designers and masterpieces, then look at objects within a period interior,’ Joy says, asking, ‘what gives furniture the character that makes it iconic, or how does a conversation piece stand out in an interior design setting?’


For collectors and lovers of design, ‘the reward will come simply from taking the time to stop and look at pieces to consider them in their rich cultural and historical environment.’ Students of interior design will be given the tools to contextualise the push and pull of old and new, and navigate the tension of space, objects and materials that shape contemporary home design.


The six-week filmed online programme is a substantial introduction for anyone new to the discipline or interested in pursuing related fields such as an interior design course. For those with some existing knowledge, Joy will offer new perspectives. ‘We still encounter many of these styles and indeed objects,’ she says. ‘Most of all I hope that each student will gain the confidence to look and learn more, to recognise everyday objects and have an opinion about them — and inspire potential buyers to see the wealth of great design available at auction.’


To learn more about the upcoming online course, click here