Get inspired this spring with the colourful work of three iconic fabric designers in a series of exhibitions. The world of 20th century fabric design is having a moment – the bold graphic style and exciting use of colour that typifies the work of post-war textile artists looks just as fresh today as it did 50 years ago. The centenary of celebrated designer Lucienne Day, for example, is being celebrated all year long by the Robin and Lucienne Day foundation. Working in a number of forms, it is her timeless designs for Heal’s furniture store for which she is perhaps most famous. Their Lucienne100 website is a hub for information about her designs, details of where you can see her work in the flesh across a string of exhibitions this year, as well as information about how you can get involved with the Lucienne100 hashtag.
While Day’s designs typify the confident, modern style of the 50s – a time when new homes were being built and the country was finding its feet again after the war – the work of Josef Frank is far more bucolic, focusing on stylised but more recognisable flora forms and nature scenes. Austrian-born architect relocated to Sweden in 1933, where he developed his instantly recognisable designs packed with bright primary colours and playful style. He also collaborated with designer Estrid Ericson on furniture, glassware, lighting and interior design during this time, and together they defined what we think of as Swedish Modernism to this day. The Fashion and Textile Museum is hosting the first UK exhibition of his work until May.
Picking up the baton from Day, another exhibition features the work of another Heal’s alumni. Barbara Brown created fabric prints for Heal’s during the 1960s and 70s which really define the era. Those rich, organic 70s colour-combos of browns, yellows and oranges, arranged in trippy Op-Art style are still the sort of prints we think of when picturing a typical 70s home. Less of a household name than the two designers above, Brown nevertheless has had a huge impact on two decades of home decor, and you can view her groundbreaking work in a new exhibition in Manchester’s Whitworth Museum until December 2017.