Retail Intypes (Interior Archetypes)

The Intypes (Interior Archetypes) Research and Teaching Project, initiated in 1997 at Cornell University, creates a typology of contemporary interior design practices that are derived from reiterative historical designs that span time and style and cross cultural boundaries. An Intype represents an ideal example of a historical and culturally determined practice of design. Click on the name of each Intype to know more. The methodology of research can be found here.

1. Light Seam

Light Seam is a gradient of light that defines a continuous edge of illumination between perpendicular architectural planes.

2. Marching Order

Marching Order is a sequence of repeating forms organized consecutively, one after another, that establish a measured spatial order.

3. Salon

Salon, an 18th century French term for a large social room used for receiving and entertaining guests, describes the spatial composition of a commercial interior that simulates a domestic ambiance, but remains a showroom space.

4. Showcase Stair

A Showcase Stair is an extravagantly designed architectural feature in which the stair itself becomes a prominent display element. Its functionality is often secondary to the spatial drama created by the stair’s structure, form, materials and lighting.

5. Split Column

Split Column is a vertical display technique where the middle section of a columnar form is removed, resulting in a void contained within an implied column.

6. Then Now

Then Now describes adaptive use interiors characterized by a clear differentiation between old and new interior elements, usually resulting in heightened visual contrast between a historic architectural shell and the newer contents contained within.


Vitrine is a glass showcase for the display of significant or ordinary objects.

8. Vitrine | Store

Store Vitrine occurs when a primarily glass fa├žade frames unobstructed views into a store and places the shop interior itself on display.

9. White Out

White Out describes a space in which all planar surfaces (wall, ceiling, floor), as well as furnishings and furniture are a bleached, bright white.

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