These wonderfully retro cushions are all made in fabrics designed by the great Lucienne Day, who died this week at the age of 93. You may not have heard of her, but I am sure that if you are over the age of 30, you'll have come across some of her work. She was born in London of Anglo/Belgian parentage [an excellent combination, I feel!] In 1942 she married the artist Robin Day and they opened a design office in 1948 and worked as freelance exhibition, graphic and industrial designers.[details here]
An obituary in the Guardian says "Her designs held a wide appeal, and sold well – something that mattered very much to her and her husband Robin. Both came from the "nothing is too good for ordinary people" tradition. The idea was that good, intelligent design should be part, parcel and fabric of everyday life. Lucienne was an unfailingly generous person, and a designer who knew how to balance the popular and the refined, or how to make the refined popular. Here was a couple deeply concerned with notions of public service, who were also stylish and fun."
Her 'Calyx' design [left, below] was used extensively for the Festival of Britain in 1951,
Another Guardian piece says "Lucienne had a wonderful way of looking severe, and then breaking into a warm smile and happy conversation. I suppose her best fabrics – and that's pretty much all of them – are a bit like that: disciplined, intelligent, diligently researched, but also warm, playful, colourful and delightful too. Her talent stayed with her for a lifetime, as did her marriage to Robin. He survives her; so does both their lives' work."
This picture of the devoted couple was captioned "Textiles and Furniture in Holy Matrimony"
From 1962 to 1963 Robin worked on the Polyprop chair. From 1963 to the present day over 14 million chairs have been sold in twenty three countries. It has been described as one of the most democratic modern designs of the 20th century.
Even if their names mean nothing to you, I'm willing to bet that you have sat on one of Robin's chairs [at school, or church, or in the Village Hall]
What a wonderful partnership they had together!
To be so committed to each other, and committed to using their gifts to make a better quality of life for other people is praise-worthy in these self-centred days.