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News & Views

— December 5, 2013

Inhaling the Vapours of 1950s and 1960s Design and Style

For the last few years we have been nestling in the duvet of nostalgia and inhaling the vapours that are the stylish period sets of: Mad Men,  The Hour, Breathless….. the list goes on.  Who hasn’t been cooing and ahhhing at the pastel period sets evocative of a bygone post war age and seemingly effortless, unselfconscious slick style ?

(Please click on images for more information on the items)


In the late 1940s and 1950s, rising like the phoenix from the ashes in post-war Britain, design came into its own.  In 1946 the seminal exhibition ‘Britain Can Make It’ was presented by the Council of Industrial Design at the V&A, its purpose being to serve as a morale boost to the manufacturing industry in the post-war austerity years.  Design manufacturing initiatives spread out across Britain and the 1951 Festival of Britain Exhibition consisted of a nationwide programme of events and exhibitions.  Influential designers of the day included Gordon Russell and Robin Day.



The 1950s and 60s were an exciting time of Pan-Europe and trans-Atlantic design influence and fluidity, of exhibitions and festivals for sharing innovation.  From a period of austerity and retraction, trade with Asia resulted in access to a great range of timber for furniture manufacture and the use of exotic veneers and marquetry on the surfaces of furniture.  The scientific preoccupations of the time of understanding the physics of the Universe - atoms and the like, together with the unravelling of the double Helix as the key to DNA structure, led to design motifs featuring atomic structures.



Throughout the late 1950s and 1960s the U.S.A. and U.S.S.R. displayed their science, technology, and culture, by taking turns at staging exhibitions and cultural exchange shows.  The advent of space exploration and the Space Age led to futuristic design.



In the selection of stock that I present above and below, I would like to raise a Gimlet and a Jackie K to toast the design creative of the 1950s and the 1960s. 
 
Wishing you all a super-stylish Year 2014 !
 
Johanna
                  

Your views?

Posted by robert on
thank you for you interesting ideas and pictures, showing and considering themes and infuences that designers were interpreing in this era.
The industrial processes may helped the creative people produce the simple lines.
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