Thursday, 22 January 2015

A bright new Day

There probably weren't too many houses in Britain during the fifties and sixties that didn't have a fabric, wall covering, carpet or plastic laminate not designed by Lucienne Day or at least influenced by her work. She designed unique and eye-catching fabrics and wallpapers for the leading companies as well ceramics (for Rosenthall and John Lewis) and interior design (for BOAC).

Andrew Casey reveals in this fascinating monograph how her creativity sprung to life in the late forties when she set up a design studio with her husband Robin Day (he was a product designer). The 1951 Festival of Britain established their design practice and Lucienne became known for original and innovative modern designs. The London store Heals used her fabric designs for twenty-five years and she and Robin Day were design consultants for John Lewis for over twenty years.

The book is heavily illustrated and in two parts. The first historically looks at Lucienne Day's professional career with contemporary photos, graphics and colour photos of her designs but it is the second part where I think the book comes alive with a 112 page portfolio of patterns. Page after page of shapes and colour reflecting design styles from the mid-fifties onwards, many of these are page size or run over a spread so the reader can appreciate the beauty of the work. All of them have detailed captions.

Overall the title is well designed and printed and nicely the many footnotes are on the same page as the relevant text. There is the odd quirk of only having page numbers on right-hand pages. The Appendices include a four page biographies of artists and designers mentioned in the text, bibliography and index.

Lucienne Day will interest any one connected to the creative side of the textile market.

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