One of the best loved engineering projects of the 20th century, Concorde was an emblem of the future when it was launched in the 1960s, so it was no small feat to be appointed designer of its interior upholstery as Hungarian Jewish émigré – and avid colour lover – Tibor Reich was. The pioneering textiles and ceramics designer was born in Budapest and studied architecture and textiles in Vienna before moving to Leeds in 1937 to study textile technology – he arrived in Britain just before the Nazi-occupation of Austria. As the son of a textile manufacturer Tibor had grown up surrounded by swatches and by 1946 he had set up his own company, Tibor Ltd, bringing vibrant new colours into the dowdy everyday homes of postwar Britain. Also, some royal palaces, embassies and 10 Downing Street.
Almost 40 years after Tibor’s Clifford Mill factory shut from pressure in the textiles market from cheaper imports, his grandson, Sam Reich has been on a mission to revive the brand.
Tibor currently targets the interior design and contract market with around 70 fabrics from the archive. The majority of these are deep textiles or jacquards and there is also a small collection of printed textiles. Sam has developed new colours for the fabrics as well as reviving colours from the archive that he felt would work in a contemporary setting.
Last year, in conjunction with a major retrospective of Tibor’s work at Manchester’s Whitworth Art Gallery, a beautiful book Tibor Reich: Art of Colour & Texture, launched, which is a must-read for anyone interested in colour and print.
Included is a fascinating chapter on Tigo-Ware, a pottery collection that Tibor produced for around a decade to “contrast and co-ordinate with the bright and bold colours of our interiors.”. The pieces seem prescient, not just for their monochromatic palettes, but because so many of them show a fascination with drawn faces that’s still going strong today.