The Endless Interior : Exhibition

Continuing an ongoing survey into the role of the émigré on the post-war Australian design landscape, this exhibition focuses on the interior as a crucible for modernity including archival and exploratory research from Masters of Architecture students.

Fooks, E. & Fooks, E. (1957) Interior of house, probably George Smorgon’s home in East St. Kilda. State Library of Victoria

The Endless Interior comprises two parts, and borrows from Frederick Kiesler’s conceptual work of architecture of the same title - merging spirituality, ergonomics and pragmatics into a new housing typology - by applying a similar provocation to the antipodean context.

His is a city of interiors located in the heart of public spaces. The complex weave of the drawing links cave to cave in a web, as if the visible city is but the cover for a single vast interior, a system of chambers carved into the landscape like the interconnected spaces of a mine. He insists that there were not only extraordinary individuals, but extraordinary groups and, most significantly, meeting places, private apartments, studios, and above all cafés where we would gather.

Frederick Kiesler, Progressive Architecture, July 1961

Part 1_________________________
‘The Biography of the Émigré (Object)’ is an ongoing curatorial collaboration between independent researcher Jeromie Maver and Professor Alan Pert. Assembling a collection of never-before-seen furniture pieces and objects gifted from private collections across Melbourne, these “émigré objects” - central to the exhibition - tell the story of forced migration, antipodean exile, and new beginnings. Through engagement and interaction with these pieces, awareness of their value and merit – paired with biographical insight into their makers and designers - prompts dialogue around questions of attribution and recognition.

An archival assemblage in themselves, these biographies of object and maker reiterates interdisciplinarity that emerged between, architects, artists, designers, cabinetmakers, and their clients. Concurrently, their individual approaches legitimise issues of research into making, provenance, exhibition history, preservation, conservation, and reception. Many crucial pieces of émigré interiors are still to be found, elevated or even rescued from auction houses, mid-century stores and online marketplaces – an exercise in itself as endless as the interior Kiesler referred to.

Part 2 _________________________
‘From Austria to the Antipodes’ is an exhibition intensifying research and outputs previously produced by academics that sit within the Australian Centre for Architectural History, Urban and Cultural Heritage (ACAHUCH).

Notable outcomes include research exploring the oeuvre of Ernest Fooks and previous exhibitions like The House Talks Back (2016), Excavating Modernism : Stylistic Species (2019) and New Horizons (2023). European exiles cast their influence across Australasian artistic and built environment practice, contributing to Australian modernism through the nucleus of the fully designed and carefully crafted interior.

Significant material culture from this crucible of modernity seen in ‘The Biography of the Émigré (Object)’ inform exploratory artefacts produced by Melbourne School of Design students in Critical and Curatorial Practices in Design. This subject, led by Professor Alan Pert and Professor Philip Goad, creates a curatorial laboratory testing new interpretations of émigré practice.

Through these dual forces, this exhibition aspires - as a biographical exploration into émigré and object – to introduce our audience to the origins of ideas, the hidden histories of objects and the role and relationships of their makers and designer. We hope to stimulate new forms of research, exploration and dialogue by giving the object an opportunity to speak for itself and the audience a place in the narrative.

This exhibition, designed and produced by Theo Blankley is supported by The Jock Simmie Architectural History, Urban and Cultural Heritage Research Fund. Its generosity furthers knowledge and access to architectural history, conservation and heritage.


    Deutsch Cabinetmaking Workshop (1949-1969)
    Ernst Deutsch/Ernest Deutsch

    Born                              19 September 1900 (Vienna, Austria)
    Died                              13 November 1970 (Melbourne, Australia)
    Nationality                 Austrian; Australian
    Lived/Worked            Vienna; Lyon; Melbourne

    Futura Furniture (1939/40 - 1971)
    Schulim Krimper

    Born                              28 July 1893 (Sereth, Bukovina, Austro-Hungarian Empire)
    Died                              18 August 1971
    Nationality                 Austro-Hungarian; Australian
    Lived/worked            Sereth; Prague; Vienna; Berlin; Melbourne

    Rosando Furniture (1953-1974)
    Lacey Veneered Wood Products (c.1966-2008)

    Paul Rosta
    Furniture designer

    Born                              16 September 1916 (Budapest, Hungary)
    Died                              18 July 1996 (Melbourne, Australia)
    Nationality                 Austro-Hungarian; Hungarian; Australian
    Lived/worked            Budapest; Melbourne


    Michael Rosta
    Born                              21 November 1926 (Budapest, Hungary)
    Died                              20 December 2008 (Melbourne, Australia)
    Nationality                 Hungarian; Australian
    Lived/worked            Budapest; Melbourne

    Rudowski Cabinetmaking Workshop (1959-1973)
    Jacob Rudowski

    Born                              1 January 1927 (Janow, Poland)
    Died                              12 January 1996 (Melbourne, Australia)
    Nationality                 Polish; Australian
    Lived/Worked            Janow; Tel Aviv; Australia

    Sol Shapiro

    Born                              27 February 1914 (Brest Litovsk, Poland)
    Died                              24 July 1980 (Melbourne, Australia)
    Nationality                 Polish; Australian
    Lived/Worked            Poland; Australia


    RiteLite (c.1953-1962)
    Peter Bauer
    Architect/Furniture and Lighting Designer

    Born                              5 November 1906 (Vienna, Austria)
    Died                              22 April 1957 (Melbourne, Australia)
    Nationality                 Austro-Hungarian; Austrian; Australian
    Lived/Worked            Austria; Shanghai; Australia

    Zoureff Furniture (c.1952-1969)
    Dario Zoureff & Associates (c.1972-2011)

    Dario Zoureff
    Interior Designer

    Born                              5 November 1906 (Vienna, Austria)
    Nationality                  Austrian; Australian
    Lived/Worked            Australia

    Ernst Anton Plischke
    Architect, Town Planner and Furniture Designer
    Born                              26 June 1903 (Klosterneuberg, Austria)
    Died                              23 May 1992 (Vienna, Austria)
    Nationality                 Austrian; New Zealander
    Lived/worked            Vienna; New York; Wellington


    Karol Duldig/Karl Duldig

    Born                              29 December 1902 (Przemysl, Poland)
    Died                              11 August 1986 (Melbourne, Australia)
    Nationality                 Polish; Austrian; Australian
    Lived/worked            Vienna; Melbourne

    Leopoldine Mimovich OAM

    Born                             21 November 1920 (Neumarkt, Italy)
    Died                             20 December 2019 (Melbourne, Australia)
    Nationality                Austrian; Australian
    Lived/worked           Sankt Johan; Vienna; Melbourne


    MAAS Cabaret (1954-1964)

    Robert Maas

    Born                              10 March 1907 (Vienna, Austria)
    Died                              23 February 1973 (Melbourne, Australia)
    Nationality                 Austro-Hungarian; Austrian, Australian
    Lived/Worked            Vienna; Australia

    Helen Maas (nee Bresenska)

    Born                              29 September 1915 (Loyvitch, Poland)
    Died                              17 June 1993 (Melbourne, Australia)
    Nationality                 Polish; Australian
    Lived/Worked            Loyvitch; Australia

Full Title

The Endless Interior: (& The Biography of the Emigre)

Exhibition Location

Glen Eira Council Gallery, Caulfield


06.10.23 - 12.11.23

Exhibition Team

Professor Alan Pert (University of Melbourne)
Professor Philip Goad (University of Melbourne) 
Mr Jeromie Maver (Independent Researcher) 
Mr Theo Blankley (University of Melbourne)


Mr Theo Blankley (University of Melbourne)