We live on the border of Sussex, a county that has had more than its share of creative geniuses as residents. Robin and Lucienne Day were two that called Sussex home and yesterday I took myself to Chichester for the day to see the interiors exhibit dedicated to the pair at Pallant House, curated by Shanna Shelby.
While the exhibit had a slim collection of Robin Day's furniture, the show had a great collection of Lucienne Day's pattern designs, including a set of dishes. Instead of becoming a painter, Lucienne's post-war sensibility led her to creating designs for utility though her sense of colour and stylized patterns had a very painterly effect. In fact, many of her designs, including her most popular Calyx pattern, wouldn't look out of place stretched on canvas and propped up in Kandinsky's studio.
And there were a few single colour patterns I'd never seen before, interesting because she's most associated with jolly, vibrant, post-war prints like the Calyx pattern on the chairs above.
The couple seemed to have a perfect partnership, each artist's designs enhancing the other though they rarely worked together on the same projects. They were incredibly prolific and were together nearly 70 years - both in their nineties when they passed away last year.
The Days' innovative designs brought both designers early career success, probably in part because they were aware of a changing market. Post war Britain needed uplifting design that was inexpensive to produce for the mass appeal. Though I warm more to his wood based furniture, Robin Day's polypropylene chairs are a perfect example of this idea and they were built to last; they're still used in schools and village halls the world over.
Photo above from the Design Museum
The textiles in the image above are also a perfect example of how well these designers stayed on top of their game in terms of interior movements. The hard-edge geometric designs followed the loosely influenced nature designs Lucienne had given her earlier pieces.
I'm so happy I managed to get there to see the exhibit, it ends this weekend. As I walked around this gem of a gallery I was reminded of two other artists, a contemporary Canadian couple who work successfully with similar mediums, think you might know who I mean :)
Pallant House, the 18th century residence now makes up part of the gallery
I wish I had time to tell you more about my big day out, like also seeing the Mervyn Peake Centenary exhibit, but I'll save it for later. At the moment I'm darting between play performances, violin recitals, summer concerts and sports days; I'm sure many of you are doing the same.
Hope to be back soon.