From this page you can access a selection of my work. Some items are offered as downloadable PDF files, others as links to existing online excerpts.
Please note that most of the material linked to on this page is under full publisher’s copyright. You are welcome to use it and quote from it for research purposes. If in doubt, get in touch.
- Barcelona, Object of Design. A chapter from my book La Barcelona del diseño, in English. This text deals with Barcelona’s process of urban regeneration in the 1980s and 1990s. It focuses on two main aspects, the transformation of public space and the urban experience in the context of a newly democratic Spain, and the role of design in the city’s regeneration, through the impact of new urban furnishings. VNarotzky – Barcelona, Object of Design (PDF)
- The Footnote, the Chair and the City. In 2001 I was invited by the contemporary art curator Ute Meta Bauer to participate in the exhibition Architectures of Discourse at the Fundació Antoni Tàpies. My contribution, based both within the Foundation’s exhibition space and at the nearby shop Vinçon, explored the retailing of designer goods in Spain and the new social narratives emerging from the Barcelona model of urban regeneration. The idea of the footnote as a knowledge-generating tool and the chair as object of design were the main elements that structured the intervention, bridging the geographical divide. Together, they told a story about Barcelona, post Francoist design and Catalan identity. My text for the catalogue explored the concept of the ‘annotated city’, and the construction of discourse through objects, political agency and the city’s material environment. Here is the text in English and Catalan: Footnote Chair City , Nota Cadira i Ciutat (PDFs) [Ref.: Narotzky, V. ‘The Footnote, the Chair and the City’ in Case 1, Architectures of discourse, Barcelona: Fundació Antoni Tàpies, 2001. Also available in Catalan from the same publisher.]
- Our Cars in Havana. This essay was published in the book Autopia: Cars and Culture. I have a soft spot for this one – I really enjoyed writing it. It is quite lyrical in tone, but academic at heart. My interest was to explore what happens when an existing network of commodity provision, retail and maintenance breaks down, and is replaced by a whole set of alternative, informal practices that sustain consumption of a particular good. Its focus on car culture engaged with an emerging field of scholarship, linking it with more established approaches within design history in methodologically innovative ways. A full-colour preview of sections of the chapter is available through Google books. [Ref.: Narotzky, V. ‘Our Cars in Havana’ in Autopia, J. Kerr & P. Wollen (eds.). London: Reaktion Books, 2002.] In English.
- Dream Homes and DIY: TV, New Media and the Domestic Makeover. ‘Dream Homes’ explores the success of TV domestic makeover shows as part of a culturally and historically framed discourse on the home, design and interiors. It locates the contemporary domestic makeover within the evolution of DIY and advice literature, while focusing on the role of multi-media representation in constructing a vicarious, shifting and essentially ‘spectacular’ experience of the contemporary domestic interior. [Ref.: Narotzky, V. ‘Dream homes and DIY: television, new media and the domestic makeover’ in Imagined Interiors: Representing the Domestic Interior since the Renaissance. Jeremy Aynsley and Charlotte Grant, eds. London: V&A Publications, 2006.] In English.
- Consumir Diseño: Hacia una aproximación entre lo privado y lo público. This paper was given at the 1st International Conference of Design History and Design Studies (ICDHS) in Barcelona, April 1999, ‘Historiar des de la periferia, historia i histories del disseny’. It is available online in Spanish through Leeds Metropolitan University’s Design Observatory pages, and is published in the conference’s proceedings. [Ref.: ‘Consumir diseño: Hacia una aproximación entre lo privado y lo público’ in Anna Calvera and Miquel Mallol (eds.) Historiar desde la priferia: historia e historias del diseño. Barcelona: Publicaciones de la Universidad de Barcelona, 2001.]
- Historia y Diseño: Regreso al Futuro. I gave this talk at the Disseny Hub Barcelona, as a keynote presentation for the official launch of the Design History Foundation in March 2009. I was also invited to present this as part of ESDi‘s 20th anniversary lecture series later in the year. The talk was filmed by the Media Course students, so you can now find the complete video here. In Spanish.
- Texto y Contexto: Desde la Realidad al Discurso. I gave this paper at the 2nd ICDHS conference in Havana, in 2000. My aim was to provide a brief methodological approach to the realities of what it meant to be a design historian of the ‘periphery’, and in what ways we need to adapt to the specificities of historical and geographical contexts, availability of sources and historiographical limitations. In Spanish.