Log in using OpenID

20th Century Legends 20th Century Legends. The

Press > Archive
20th Century Legends
Introduction by Tom Dixon
June 1999
‘These extraordinary designers have shaped the
interiors we live in and 30 years on their designs
remain as revolutionary as the day they
were created.’
‘20th Century Legends’ is a collection of designs,
re-edited by Habitat at a price accessible for all,
from seven legendary designers — Anna Castelli
Ferrieri, Verner Panton, Pierre Paulin, Alan
Fletcher, Robin Day, Lucienne Day and Achille
Castiglioni. These are the ‘must-have’ pieces
that will take us from this century into the next.
We believe that this collection makes the point
that good design is timeless, visionary and
fundamental to Habitat’s philosophy.
These are the designers who in their time dared
to be different. They changed the way people
thought about their homes and left behind an
incredible design legacy. They were mostly
working in the 60s, a time when an explosion of
creativity took place — new shapes, new
materials and new ways of living were being
conceived. Flexibility, multi-functional and
modular were their buzz words. Ideas that are
equally, if not more so, applicable today. In being
ahead of their time, they produced work that is
completely appropriate for now. In other words,
far from being fleetingly fashionable, 30 years
on these pieces retain the freshness of the day
they were first made. For example, Pierre
Paulin’s ‘Osaka’ sofa, originally designed for the
French pavilion at the1968 World Expo in Japan,
reflects a very contemporary relaxed approach
to furnishing. Sold by the metre, it’s designed
to curve in all directions and thus fit any awkward
space. Anna Castelli Ferrieri’s signature stacking
storage units for Kartell have not been bettered
to this day. And Alan Fletcher, famous for having
founded the Pentagram agency, finally gets
proper recogniton for his Clam ashtray/box (now
exclusive to Habitat). Verner Panton, who sadly
died last year, wanted to bring colour and
excitement to the everyday. His curvy space-age
style ‘Pantopop’ plastic stacking chair and one
of his last carpet designs, a geometric
extravaganza, look poised to leap into the next
millennium and do just that. Robin Day, Britain’s
most productive designer having sold over 40
million of his Polyprop range since 1963 (the
armchair version now available exclusively
through Habitat) wanted to help people furnish
their homes with restraint. His leather sofa and
armchair show this lesser known ‘modernist’
side of his personality.
Some pieces, although iconic, have through the
course of time faded into the background. Habitat
raids the vaults to re-issue products that deserve
a second sitting. Textile designer Lucienne Day’s
‘Leaf’ from 1960 and ‘Graphica’ from 1958, give
a small inkling of her influence. Achille
Castiglioni’s Tubino lamp, designed in the 50s,
was considered too advanced for its day with its
slim-line fluorescent bulb. With the help of the
original manufacturer FLOS, the problems that
halted its production have been resolved and 40
years on the lamp can be appreciated for the
classic that it is.
Each of the designers contributing to this
collection has their own story to tell. And yet,
each are linked by a common philosophy of
democratic design — the desire to create
beautiful, and above all, affordable designs for
everyone. 35 years ago, when Habitat opened
its first store in Brompton Cross, it caused a
sensation in retailing due in part to its clever
selection of modern international design. It
stocked pieces that had previously been
unavailable or unaffordable to all but the very
rich. As we approach the new millennium, the
‘20th Century Legends’ collection is
similarly innovative.
20th Century Legends.
The Furniture Designers
Verner Panton
‘More comfort, increased eventfulness, more
colour’ was the maxim of this Danish architect
turned designer. Verner Panton swept into the
modern world as a prime exponent of what was
to become the plastic and Pop-fuelled 60s and
heady Halstonesque 70s. He championed fun,
colour and furniture-as-fantasy saying ‘the
purpose of my work is to provoke people into
using their imagination’. Beige, neutrals and
Press > Archive
siting in a line on a sensible sofa were anathema
to him. Panton wanted us to swing from the
ceiling, lanquish on curvy chaise longues and
dream in technicolour. He died in 1998 and left
a legacy, two pieces of which are now available
from Habitat – the Panto Pop, a stackable plastic
bucket seat completed shortly before his death
and a trippy Op art style rug designed to
challenge the eye. Panton didn’t want to just
make furniture, he wanted to change the world.
Left to him everyone would be living in discobright sparkly spaces like gloriously overblown
adult play pens. He was unique in the true sense
of the word, an utterly liberated lateral thinker.
As he puts it, he was continually striving to ‘look
for and reveal new ideas and ways of living.’ In
being ahead of his time, he is
eternally contemporary.
Pierre Paulin
That Pierre Paulin trained as a sculptor is
obvious from his work. His furniture is fluid form
given function. A Parisian, Paulin had an artist’s
eye for the form of the body and the way in which
it moved. A design language of constriction or
tradition was therefore not for him. Instead,
ribbons of foam covered with stretchy fabric are
the basis of many of his most popular designs.
Sofas could be ordered by the metre and the
humble mushroom would inspire a chair
designed in 1963. Sinuous, neo-organic and
undulating, his furniture presaged the late 60s
trend for louche lounging and easy living. His
pieces were also incredibly comfortable. Paulin
was one of the most important designers to
emerge from France following the Second World
War because he dared to challenge the prevailing
notion of the artiste décorateur. He wanted to
be radical not reassuring. And in daring to be
different he brought the avant garde to the
mainstream. He even helped furnish and
decorate Georges Pompidou’s apartments at
the Elysée Palace in 1970.
Robin Day
Robin Day is often called the Charles Eames of
England because they shared a desire to bring
the-most-of-the-best-to-the-greatest-numberof-people-for-the-least. Day also wanted ‘to
make furniture like mini architecture, to make
furnishing a room disciplined’. He experimented
with simple forms, new technology and materials
like plastic at a time when Utility furniture and
Queen Anne repro were the norm. His big break
came at the age of 33 when he won the1948 New
York Museum of Modern Art’s Low Cost
Furniture Competition. It gave him the
recognition he needed and together with his wife
Lucienne, a textile designer, he was fêted as the
epitome of the 50s New Look. The couple’s home
was photographed for glossy magazines and
their appearance in a 1955 Smirnoff ad confirmed
their celebrity status. The Polyprop chair (you
probably sat on one at school) and the leather
sofa and armchair (re-editioned by Habitat) that
looked so modern in those photos forty years
ago are still in use at Day’s home today. The
point is, his work, radical in its time, is universally
timeless. Visit London’s Royal Festival Hall and
check out his seating. It still looks brilliant.
Anna Castelli Ferrieri
On designing products Anna Castelli Ferrieri
once said, ‘It is not true that useful is beautiful.
It is beautiful that it is useful. Why? Because it
changes the world’. When Castelli Ferrieri
graduated in architecture from Milan Polytechnic
in 1943, one of the first women to do so, she
wanted to make a difference through buildings.
‘I began my career fighting for the Modern
Movement’. Later she came to the conclusion
that ‘the world is changeable only by power,
money and violence...’ and so she started to
create objects, because ‘they are everywhere
almost instantaneously... The fact that they can
be industrially manufactured in tens of
thousands is very stimulating, it puts you in touch
with the whole world.’ It was her desire and
ability to design for people rather than museums
that made her an iconic designer. Castelli
Ferrieri instinctively knew what everyone needed
when she launched her stacking storage units
for the plastics company Kartell in 1969
(produced for Habitat in an exclusive range of
colours). Afterall, as she might well have said,
we don’t need more products, we need better
ones. To make such things was Castelli Ferrieri’s
mission in life.
Press > Archive
20th Century Legends.
The Home Accessory Designers
Alan Fletcher
‘Unless ideas are massaged into reality they
evaporate’ says British art director and graphic
designer extraordinaire, Alan Fletcher. The
inspiration to design the Clam ashtray came as
he sat atop a bus one evening in the late 60s.
Images of Dutch Edam cheeses, two identical
halves made from one mould, serrated teeth to
grip a cigarette or hold the halves together
formed in his mind. It wa probably designed in
full by the time he got home. That’s what’s great
about Fletcher, he’s intuitive. There are no rules.
Graphic game playing ought to be his mantra.
He takes his cues from the everyday, an odd
scribble here and an astute observation there,
but always infused with a healthy dose of wit.
Quirky, simple, straightforward yet abstract
might also sum up his approach. Some of his
best known work has had the simplest execution
— the logos for the Victoria and Albert Museum
and the news agency Reuters are good examples.
His ashtray — an everyday object oft overlooked
in the design stakes — still looks smart today
because, in his own words, ‘if you have a solid
concept, it has the potential to be timeless
because it’s not fixed to what’s hot this month.’
Achille Castiglioni
Achille Castiglioni, undoubtedly the grand old
man of Italian Design, is at 83, on 60 cigarettes
a day, still furiously designing. In the Oscars of
the Italian design world, the Comapasso d’Oro,
he has won top honours seven times. And
alongside his older brothers Livio and Pier
Giacomo, he was a powerful force in the Modern
Italian design movement that emerged after
World War Two. Meticulous attention to detail,
simple styling and quality materials differentiate
a Castiglioni product — from furniture and lights
to radios and televisions — from the rest. He
felt it was his duty to question everything (the
way things worked, the way they were put
together) and accept nothing but the best.
Sometimes existing objects fulfilled the criteria
— plastic tractor seats and bicycle saddles were
used à la Duchamp’s ‘ready-mades’ to make
stools! Such pieces proved he wasn’t strait-laced
and uptight, rather experimental and original
with a wry sense of humour. ‘My approach to
design, and every step from planning through
production, is characterised by the same
method’ he says, ‘the desire to create something
innovative, be it in function or form.’ His Tubino
Table Lamp, designed in 1950, is being reissued
by Habitat precisely for that reason.
Lucienne Day
Lucienne Day brought about a revolution in
textiles taste. In her influence, she was the
William Morris of the 50s. When conservative
beige-backed sprigs were de rigeur, Day put
twigs, triangles and abstract foilage against
lime-yellow and vermillion backgrounds. As she
puts it, ‘It is not enough to choose a motif, nor
to have ideas... There must also be the ability to
weld the single units into a homogeneous whole,
so that the pattern seems to be part of the cloth
rather than printed upon it.’ Her debut at the
1951 Festival of Britain with a print called Calyx,
a riot of Joan Miró and Paul Klee-inspired kite
shapes, led to international recognition and a
long collaboration with Heal’s. It also meant her
work became available on the highstreet. ‘I’m a
practical person. I wanted what I was doing to
be useful to people’. For Habitat, the graphically
simple Black Leaf, originally a 1960 design for
a teacloth, is used today on a bedlinen set;
Graphica a rigorously modern confection of
spindly lines from 1953 will reappear as curtains.
Modern back then, they look fresher than
ever today.
Без категории
File Size
58 Кб
Пожаловаться на содержимое документа