15 July - 4 September 2011
The innovative furniture designs of Robin Day and the vibrant patterned textiles of Lucienne Day revolutionised British design of the post-war era. Working in their shared studio the couple created their designs independently but rose to fame showing together in the Homes and Gardens Pavilion at the Festival of Britain in 1951.
In the year of the 60th anniversary of this festival, PM Gallery & House is proud to present a retrospective of their works this summer.
Robin Day is famed for his vigorously economical approach to furniture design. Initially due to the dearth of materials and labour in post-war Britain, this enforced style became a continued strength. Embracing simplicity not just in materials but also in manufacturing, Robin used the latest wood and metal-working techniques to produce smart but also practical chairs, tables, desks and storage units that could be easily replicated in great numbers. After a great deal of commercial success, his most famous design came in 1963, the mass-produced yet neat and comfortable polypropylene stacking chair, which has sold in its millions worldwide.
Lucienne Day, designing not just fabrics but also wallpapers, ceramics and carpets, treated every design as a work of art and created a range of distinctive pieces throughout the 1950s and 60s. Clearly inspired by her love of modern art, and in particular the paintings of Joan Miró and Paul Klee, her early patterns are energetic and playful. With an early break-through in this style, her well-known Calyx design (1951), Lucienne went on to produce over 70 outstanding patterns for main client Heal Fabrics, developing her style over the years to reflect her growing interest in vertical compositions and bold, simple forms.
Robin Day, Royal Festival Hall Armchair, 1951
Courtesy Target Gallery, London
Lucienne Day, Apollo, 1950s, manufactured by Heal Fabrics, screen-printed cotton
Lucienne Day, Sequoia, 1959, manufactured by Heal Fabrics, screen-printed cotton crepe
Courtesy the collection of H. Kirk Brown III and Jill A. Wiltse
Although working worked independently in different fields and for separate clients, Robin and Lucienne Day both received a succession of prestigious awards for their innovative work, including receiving the title of Royal Designer for Industry (RDI), the highest accolade for designers (bestowed upon Robin in 1959 and Lucienne in 1962). Bringing beautiful, vibrant design and stylish, functional furniture into homes and offices, Robin and Lucienne Day have left behind a design legacy which remains highly influential and admired to this day.
Robin and Lucienne Day: Design and The Modern Interior is a touring exhibition initiated by Pallant House Gallery, Chichester. The exhibition is drawn from the collection of H. Kirk Brown III and Jill A. Wiltse in Denver, USA, and guest curated by Shanna Shelby.