The New York Times has described Robin (1915-2010) and Lucienne (1917-2010) Day as ‘a bit like the Eameses, but English’. But unlike their American counterparts, the Days worked independently (she did textiles, he products) to revive British design in the 1950s.
What are they famous for?
Believing that good quality, affordable designs could improve people’s lives. Robin for his infamous Polyprop chair that has graced the bottoms of schoolchildren everywhere. Manufacturers Hille, whom Day has worked with since the fifties, estimate that they still produce about 500,000 of the chairs annually. A design classic, they are hard-wearing and have stood the test of time (Furnishing Solutions, £17.25 each plus vat).
Lucienne’s Calyx textile print for Heals brought new colours and motifs to the dull postwar table. Inspired by modern art, she produced over 70 abstract prints for them over the course of two decades. Twelve of Lucienne’s textile prints, including her Calyx design, have been digitally printed and re-released (from £75.00 per metre at Twenty Twenty One).
Keep a lookout for…
From the Barbican and the Royal Albert Hall to London Underground stations (he’s responsible for those infamous wooden benches), Robin has designed public seating for them all. Lucienne’s patterns can have graced carpets, wallpapers, tea towels, table linen and ceramics.
The Days became such style icons during the 1950s that Smirnoff featured them in an advertisement.
Sentence to drop in at a dinner party?
Love may be blind, but that didn’t stop the Days openly criticising each other’s work. ‘We could say what we thought, that it was bloody awful or whatever,’ Robin has said.
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