Robin and Lucienne Day are respectively product and textile designers who bought a breath of fresh air to British design back in the 50s thanks to Robin’s cheap mass produced furniture and Lucienne’s vibrant and colourful textiles.
The first thought that came to mind when looking into Robin and Lucienne Day’s work was how their designs, created 60 years ago were still so very appealing to today’s modern society. Robin Day’s use of simple minimalist shapes when designing furniture and Lucienne Day’s use of abstract colourful shapes when creating fabrics are still today used to furnish and complement our homes.
One would expect designer items to be expensive and probably parked in some collector’s home, instead Robin Day’s work is found in schools, libraries, concert halls, stadiums and in the underground. Robin Day was born in High Wycombe in 1915 whereas Lucienne Desire’ Conradi was born Coulsden in Surrey in 1917. Neither of their parents were designers in fact Robin’s father was a policeman whilst his mother was a dressmaker. Lucienne’s father was a Belgian reinsurance broker and her mother a housewife. Lucienne did though develop a love for plants, later represented in her textiles, thanks to her mother’s love for gardening. Robin instead grew up in a furniture making town and most definitely was inspired by the surrounding workshops which later led him to create items of furniture such as storage cabinets and seating. (Jackson 2001 p. 9-10).
They both studied at the Royal College of Art where Robin specialised in furniture and interior design whilst Lucienne specialised in printed textiles.
When they met at the school dance in 1940 their mutual interest for design formed an immediate bond between them which led to their marriage in 1942. (Jackson 2001 p. 12).
At the beginning of Lucienne’s career, designers were expected to work anonymously and therefore were not recognised for their work. Soon after leaving the RCA,
Bibliography: Jackson, Lesley (2001), Robin and Lucienne Day: Pioneers in Modern Design, London, Mitchell Beazley