The past few days festivities have definitely boosted the moral of Britain and rekindled the fact that we should be proud to be British. Whether you celebrated the Jubilee with a traditional tea party, a boozy Pimms induced street do, or stayed at home discussing when and if Gary Barlow should become 'Sir' and standing proud to sing the national anthem, then you must understand this new found patriotism that I am feeling also. These festivities define us as a nation. A nation of grinders, creatives and visionaries.
Design can also be defined by the people and the era. It can symbolize the past and shape our future. None more so than that of furniture maker and textile designer couple, Robin & Lucienne Day. They denoted an era of new modern design. To some they go unnoticed but their designs are very much integrated into the modern fabric of our establishments. I guarantee if you have ever been to school post 1963 then your bottom has graced one of Robin Day's most successful designs, the polypropylene chair for Hille.
I bet you would have thought twice carving your name into the back of the person in front's chair during a tedious maths lesson if you'd known that it was a design classic! This however is proof of the genius of the design. It was/is so embedded into the construct of everyday life that it was vandalised because they were everywhere and surely could be easily replaced. This was in fact the selling point, mass produced, cheap and a quick turn around time. It was tough, hard wearing and could be made in a variety of colours to brighten up the dreariest of comprehensive school classrooms.
Lucienne was equally creative and revolutionary. She created textiles that led the way for modernist interior decoration. Angular, bright and geometric designs that were inspired by the modern art of Joan Miro and Paul Klee. Over her career she designed patterns for Heals (image below), John Lewis, Steele's and Wilton Royal.
Sadly both Robin and Lucienne passed away in the same year. They left behind their legacy that will be cherished by Britain and the world over, inspiring new designs and designers.
The Day's came from a time where they had witnessed a colossal World War and had seen the effect the War had on the country and the economy. They believed, like many modernists of the time, that modernism would propel the country into a better time where the factories would overflow with work and supply and demand could be met through the use of new technology. The similarities between then and now are quite worryingly similar. A lack of moral, jobs, money and industry. However we have the talent, homegrown and equally adopted internationals, that have the creative ability, expertise and willingness to create and define a new era of Great British Design. We think we have advanced so much in 60 years, I-phones, tablet pc's, the internet etc but you only have to scrape gently on the surface of our modern society to see that not a lot is different from 60 years ago. The next Day's are needed. Arguably Thomas Heatherwick is very close to fulfilling and building upon their footprint, but we need more... Apply within.