Born on 5th January 1917, Lucienne Day was Britain’s most distinguished textile designer of the 20th century, esteemed for her acute understanding of pattern, colour and scale and her significant role in popularising modern design in Great Britain from the 1940s onwards.
The Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation has organised a programme of events and exhibitions to mark the centenary of such a prolific, progressive and influential designer, launched on what would have been Lucienne’s 100th birthday.
The centenary is also commemorated with the poster Lucienne Day 100 Designs. Designed by Studio Fernando Gutierrez, the poster forms a companion piece to Robin Day 100 Designs, similarly issued to mark the centenary of Lucienne Day’s husband and fellow designer.
The new poster features previously unpublished images of Lucienne Day’s work as well as portraits from the Foundation’s Lucienne Day photograph archive, providing a fitting tribute to one of Britain’s foremost designers.
It is a testament to the enduring nature of Lucienne Day’s designs that many remain in production, more than half a century after their inception.
In 2003 a selection of Day’s printed textiles from the 1950s were reissued by Classic Textiles, including perhaps her most well-known design, Calyx.
Originally designed for Heals in 1951, Calyx was exhibited at the Festival of Great Britain Homes and Gardens Pavilion, hanging in a modern dining room setting designed by Robin Day.
It went on to win the Milan Triennale gold medal and the American Institute of Decorator’s international design award (the latter a first for any British designer).
In the present day, digital printing techniques ensure that Calyx and its companion fabrics remain faithful both to the integrity of the original designs and to Day’s longstanding conviction that good design should be available to all.
As the designer observed, ”I went into industrial design because I wanted people to have good things at a reasonable price.”
twentytwentyone hosted the exhibition Lucienne Day Classic Textiles in 2003 to celebrate the launch of the reissued textiles collection.
On a smaller scale – but no less appealing, are Lucienne Day’s tea towels. These witty and timeless designs printed on linen were first created in the late 1950s for Thomas Somerset.
Now reissued and perennially popular, they are just as likely to end up framed and hung on a wall as put to work in the kitchen.
twentytwentyone is honoured to participate in the celebration of a designer whose work was profoundly influential in its own time while continuing to delight and inspire in the present day.
Full details of the events planned over the year can be found here.
All archive images are courtesy of the Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation.
Throws and blankets come into their own at this time of year, whether draped over sofas and lounge chairs or layered on beds.
twentytwentyone’s choice selection of classic and contemporary woollen rugs and cushions will bring softness, colour and textural contrast to your home – while helping to fend off the winter chills.
Eleanor Pritchard‘s woven wool throws and cushions are rooted in an appreciation of mid-century textile design while remaining distinctly modern in appearance. All Pritchard’s designs are hand-woven on traditional ‘dobcross’ shuttle looms at a small mill in West Wales.
The Sourdough throw (above) and cushion (below) are woven from a yarn that blends the wool of Welsh mountain, Jacob and Suffolk lowland sheep.
Rustic in texture (much like the bread after which it is named) yet graphic in pattern and colouring, the Sourdough range marries wool-working craft and heritage with a very modern sensibility.
View the full range of Eleanor Pritchard’s designs at twentytwentyone here.
By contrast, Wallace Sewell have drawn inspiration for their new bespoke collection of woollen throws and cushions from the richly coloured, geometric paintings of contemporary artist Chung Eun Mo.
Designers Harriet Wallace-Jones and Emma Sewell are well known for their striking use of colour intricately arrayed in geometric blocks, and the new collection they have designed exclusively for twentytwentyone is no exception.
Lloyd (above) and River (below) combine bold and subtle shades woven in softest 100% lambswool to create a family of throws and cushions that will both compliment and provide contrast with any interior.
View Wallace Sewell designs at twentytwentyone here.
Mourne Textiles produces woven fabrics of exceptional design and quality using the last remaining production hand loom weaving workshop in Northern Ireland.
The company was originally founded by Norwegian designer Gerd Hay-Edie whose distinctive textiles were used as upholstery fabrics by, amongst others, Robin Day, Gordon Russell, Conran and Liberty.
Hay-Edie’s work and influence is currently celebrated in the exhibition ‘Gerd Hay-Edie: Evolutionary Weaver’, currently on display at Margaret Howell’s Wigmore Street shop.
The exhibition features a Robin Day Centenary Edition Reclining Chair, loaned by twentytwentyone and upholstered in Hay-Edie’s Blazer tweed.
Hay-Edie’s classic mid-century tweeds are still available in a range of richly textural, monochrome blankets and cushions woven from a ‘wild’ spun yarn from Donegal.
View all Mourne Textiles woven cushions and throws at twentytwentyone here.
Finally, a natural sheepskin fleece offers an ideal option for those who may wish to experience wool in something closer to its original form.
twentytwentyone’s exclusive range of sheepskins are derived from rare British breeds. Treated at one of the UK’s oldest tanneries, the fleeces are preserved with environmentally-sensitive processes that maintain natural colour and tone.
Also available are long-haired fleeces from Icelandic sheep. Icelandic sheep wool has a longer length that creates a strikingly shaggy and luxuriant appearance, particularly when paired with clean-lined contemporary designs.
A time-honoured way of creating contrast and enhancing comfort as the evenings draw in.
A Robin Day Centenary Edition Reclining Chair loaned by twentytwentyone is currently on display at Margaret Howell’s Wigmore Street shop.
Upholstered in a classic tweed woven by Mourne Textiles and designed by Gerd Hay-Edie in the 1950s, the chair forms part of the exhibition ‘Gerd Hay-Edie: Evolutionary Weaver’ which opened with a private view on 12th October.
Norwegian-born Gerd Hay-Edie (1909-1997) was an influential textile designer whose fabrics were championed by design luminaries such as Robin Day, Hille, Conran and Liberty.
After settling in Ireland in the 1950s, Hay-Edie founded a hand-weaving workshop after failing to find a suitable means of production for the textiles she was designing at the time.
Today, Mourne Textiles – now run by Hay-Edie’s grandson – works to ensure her classic mid-century designs remain in production while staying entirely faithful to the unique spirit of Hay-Edie’s originals.
Hay-Edie produced several textile designs for specifically for Robin Day, and her Blazer Mourne tweed was used to cover a High, Wide and Handsome chair in the Days’ own home.
It was particularly apposite, therefore, that this was the fabric chosen by Margaret Howell when she was invited to upholster a Robin Day Reclining Chair as part of twentytwentyone’s celebration of Robin Day’s Centenary.
Celebrating the vision and expertise of two significant forces in mid-century British design, the Margaret Howell Centenary Edition Reclining Chair takes its place in the exhibition alongside other other examples of Hay-Edie’s work and a loom from Mourne Textile’s studio.
(Photo courtesy of: Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation)
The exhibition is on display at Margaret Howell, 34 Wigmore Street, until Sunday 30th October.
View the Robin Day Centenary Edition Reclining Chair here.
twentytwentyone celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2016. We are marking this occasion with a series of editorials celebrating the people, designs and occasions that have been such important ingredients in our twenty year history.
In April, we are honouring those designers who have sadly passed away over the last two decades but whose pioneering and timeless work remains an enduring source of inspiration.
View the editorial in full here.
twentytwentyone was founded in 1996, making 2016 its 20th anniversary year.
We are marking this milestone with a series of monthly features and events – both in-store and online – recalling the people, designs and occasions that have been formative in our development.
In January, we launched our anniversary year with an edit of 20 favourite furniture designs launched over the past two decades. For February, we present an edit of most missed vintage designs sold since 1996.
This look back over some of the exceptional designs we have sold includes rare and highly sought-after furniture and lighting by the twentieth century’s greatest designers, including Alvar Aalto, Robin Day, Charles and Ray Eames, Geoffrey Harcourt, Arne Jacobsen, Verner Panton and Gio Ponti – as well as some anonymous and attributed designs.
View the edit in full here.
The Reclining Chair is a classic of modern British design – originally created by Robin Day in 1952, re-clothed by Margaret Howell in 2015 and now exhibiting in Tokyo for the first time.
twentytwentyone celebrated the centenary of eminent British designer Robin Day by inviting a select group of the UK’s foremost designers to upholster one of his most iconic furniture designs in a fabric of their own chosing.
Margaret Howell opted to use a classic midcentury Mourne tweed designed by the noted textile designer Gerd Hay-Edie. Further research revealed that Howell’s fabric of choice had in fact been developed by Hay-Edie following a series of meetings with Robin Day.
Moreover, Robin Day’s daughter revealed at twentytwentyone’s launch of the Robin Day Centenary Edit that this particular fabric had been used to cover another chair in Robin and Lucienne Day’s home – the High, Wide and Handsome chair designed by Robin Day in 1958.
Margaret Howell’s tribute to Day can currently be seen on display in Tokyo, where it forms part of an exhibition of classic and contemporary furniture and household goods selected by the designer.
Sitting alongside other timeless designs from Ercol, Anglepoise, Mourne Textiles and Robert Welch, the Centenary Edition Reclining chair attests to the discerning eye of Margaret Howell as well as the enduring vision of Robin Day.
Above all, it stands as a respectful and resonant tribute from one designer to another.
The twentytwentyone newsletter with details of special events for the 2015 London Design Festival is here.
Sign up for future newsletters here.
twentytwentyone celebrated the launch of the Robin Day Centenary Edition at its River Street showroom last night.
The company has marked the centenary of Robin Day‘s birth with a very special edition of one of his most iconic designs: the Reclining chair. A select group of ten British Designers have been invited to cover the chair in a fabric of their chosing; the result is a fondly respectful tribute to a designer who continues to inspire and influence, and to a timeless piece of design.
Speaking at the event, Paula Day (daughter of Robin and Lucienne Day and founder of the Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation) said: “When I first saw the list of designers involved I realised that this would be such a thoughtful response to my father’s work.
The fact that all ten designers instantly agreed to take part says a great deal about their generosity of spirit and their respect both for my father and for twentytwentyone. It is a wonderfully creative compliment to my father and I know he would have loved the fact that ten such distinguished designers are paying tribute to a design that he developed in his 30s.”
Paula Day noted how many of the designers had referenced Day’s love of mountains and outdoor activities in their choice of fabrics for the Reclining chair, saying: “I have been particularly moved to see designers refer to my father’s passions beyond of the world of design. These allusions to the other dimensions that made up the man I knew are very touching.”
The contributing designers are Barber & Osgerby, Ilse Crawford, Tom Dixon, Martino Gamper, Kenneth Grange, Matthew Hilton, Margaret Howell, Michael Marriot, Jasper Morrison and Terence Woodgate.
Terence Woodgate, pictured above, said of his choice of fabric: “that fact that it is called Outback seems appropriate for a man who enjoyed the wilderness.”
Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby revealed that they had been inspired by a photograph which showed Robin Day in his studio with a large panoramic photograph of a mountain range in the background, saying: “the colours we chose for the chair were in direct reference to the greens and greys of those snow-capped mountains.”
Michael Marriot said of his involvement in the Centenary Edition: “It feels a real privilege to be invited to make some small intervention with one of his pieces. My approach was to find something that – while contemporary – was totally at home with the feel of Robin’s chair and that had a similarly distinguished character and poise, like the man himself.”
Paula Day also revealed the unexpected resonance of one particular designer’s choice of fabric. The Mourne fabric selected by Margaret Howell had previously been used by Robin and Lucienne Day to cover another chair that stood in their Cheyne Walk home – Day’s High Wide and Handsome chair, described by Paula Day as “a great hug of a chair.”
The Robin Day Centenary Edition Reclining chair is exclusive to twentytwentyone.
All ten chairs are currently on display at the River Street showroom and can be viewed online.
Robin Day was born 100 years ago on May 25, 1915. To mark his centenary, twentytwentyone has collaborated with a select group of designers to compose an editorial of one of Robin’s enduring furniture designs, the Reclining chair, and pay homage to one of Britain’s most gifted and industrious designers.
Day designed the Reclining chair in 1952.
Reflecting on his work half a century later, he considered it to be amongst his most successful products, noting that it was ‘an early design showing a clearly articulated structure. The slim steel rod frame cradles a shaped upholstered unit and timber arms which can also serve as shelves for glasses, etc.’ (Robin Day, 2007)
The Reclining chair is produced by twentytwentyone in the UK, licensed and endorsed by the Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation.
Now, twentytwentyone has invited ten of the UK’s foremost designers to upholster the Reclining chair in a textile of their choosing.
The contributing designers are Barber Osgerby, Ilse Crawford, Tom Dixon, Martino Gamper, Kenneth Grange, Matthew Hilton, Margaret Howell, Michael Marriot, Jasper Morrison and Terence Woodgate.
Each has faced the challenge of choosing a textile that that appeals to their own personal design criteria while resonating with the chair’s original spirit and character – and perhaps also drawing a smile from Robin in the process. The results are an enlightening union of classic and contemporary and a respectful tribute to a great designer.
The Reclining chair Centenary Design Edit will be launched on 1st July with an installation of the ten designs at the twentytwentyone showroom, and will be available to order following the launch. In keeping with Robin’s philosophies, these will not be limited or up-charged, and are priced purely to reflect the cost of the material.
The twentytwentyone initiative forms part of the 2015 Robin Day Centenary Celebrations which will culminate in a number of London Design Festival events, including a Robin Day exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
The definitive online resource for accurate information about the design careers of Robin and Lucienne Day has just launched.
The comprehensive archive charts work from the 1930′s to the 2000′s with a visual timeline. Shown above is a selection of furniture and textile projects completed by the couple over the years.
The website also shows the Reclining chair, of which we are the only licensed producers. See the archive here, or shop Robin and Lucienne Day here.