Monday, 25 July 2011

Robin & Lucienne Day:Design & The Modern Interior

Calyx by Lucienne Day, 1951, (image courtesy of PM Gallery)

Causeway Brown by Lucienne Day, 1967 (image courtesy of PM Gallery)
Having missed the opportunity to see the Robin & Lucienne Day exhibition at the Pallant House Gallery, I was thrilled to find out that it was touring and I was therefore determined to visit the PM Gallery in West London which is hosting the exhibition until 4th September.

The exhibition features selections of innovative furniture designs by Robin Day and vibrant patterned textiles by Lucienne Day, including her well-known Calyx and Causeway Brown designs.

Integration by Lucienne Day, 1971 (BADDA4589)

MoDA holds a number of wallpapers and textiles by Lucienne Day in its collections, including this textile design titled Integration, from 1971. This abstract design is based around a series of interlocking rectangular blocks placed at rightangles with one another to create a herringbone-like pattern. The blocks are outlined in cream on a brown ground, with pink and mustard rectangular outlines appearing at regular intervals. The design was screen printed on cotton for Heal Fabrics, who produced printed furnishing fabrics for the London-based retailer Heal's. Heal's were one of Lucienne Day's key clients from the late 1940s through to the mid-1970s.

You can find out more about 1950s designs by referencing Fiftiestyle, one of a series of MoDA publications looking at 20th century design for the home.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Fabulous 'Fancy' Papers

As we get closer to our moving date we're busy in the collections stores putting away the final few objects in their rightful places. During this process I've come across some familiar objects, and some less familiar. I'd never seen these paper samples before, but they immediately become some of my favourite objects in the collections.

Just look at those colours and patterns! Some of them look so modern it's difficult to believe they aren't contemporary. Their dinky size also adds to their appeal (they're smaller than A4) and marks them out as being quite different to the other wallpaper samples in our collections.

They are in fact 'fancy' papers (isn't that a great name?) They were made for temporary interiors, display and wrapping purposes, rather than for papering the walls of people's homes. Which is probably just as well - as much as I love them, I'm not sure I could handle waking up to walls covered in one of these!

They all date from around the 1920s and were produced by Arthur Sanderson & Sons Ltd, who specialised in these so-called 'fancy' papers.

The bold colours of these, combined with the graphic designs look remarkably 1980s to me.

This one is a rather more subdued affair in beautiful greens and blues with an ethereal quality creating quite a sophisticated effect.

What do you make of them? Do they appeal to you as much as they do to me? Let us know in the comments!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Come into my Bungalow!

We've recently completed a full inventory of MoDA's collection of over 4,500 books and publications in preparation for our museum move.  It's been a wonderful opportunity for us to look at everything, and we've come across some real gems.  We thought it would be a great opportunity to share some of them here.

Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture, BADDA1266

'Come into my Bungalow' is a totally charming little booklet produced by Crown during the 1950s to advertise their wallpapers. Inside is both a children's story, and pieces to cut out and construct into your very own bungalow, complete with Crown wallpaper of course!

Below you can see a bedroom wall, papered with a design of red stars on a white background. The Crown reference numbers are provided for the wallpaper and paints featured so that you can recreate the look for real in you own home.

The book itself serves as the walls of the house when folded round on itself. The roof and pieces of furniture are provided for you to cut out and build, along with members of a two-dimensional family to inhabit it.

I would so love to cut out all the pieces and build my own little bungalow, wouldn't you?

Come into my Bungalow, Crown, 1950s (BADDA1266)

Friday, 15 July 2011

A Rather Bizarre Teddy Bear's Picnic

In preparation for our museum move, we're busy making sure that all our wallpapers, textiles and other objects are safely stored in their correct boxes, and ready to go. Today I put away two of arguably the most garish wallpapers in our collection, which had been in conservation, and I thought I'd share them.

Wallpaper designed by Anthony Paine for Osbourne & Little in 1977, 80cm x 100cm (BADDA4246)

The design shows teddy bears having a picnic, and is aimed at children.  But the opinion among MoDA staff is that the rather shocking colour-ways make these wallpapers quite eerie!

Personally, whenever I see them I can't helping thinking of a bizarre teddy bear version of Manet's Le dejeuner sur 'herbe of 1863. It's something about the group sitting in the clearing and the slightly odd treatment of space caused by the framing of the trees I think.

Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture, BADDA4246-2

The samples are unusually wide at 80cm and had previously been stored rolled up, making it awkward to get them out to view. In preparation for the move they were identified as part of a group of interesting wallpapers that should be flattened and placed in conservation sleeves in order to make them more accessible and easier to handle. This means that come MoDA's re-launch in October, anyone can book an appointment to come and see these gems in all their glory at the new Collections Centre.

We'd love to hear what you think of them. Would you hang either of these in your child's bedroom? Would you have wanted them in your room when you were a child? Let us know in the comments!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

A new website for MoDA and scheduled downtime

Here at MoDA we're only too aware of the shortcomings of our current website, which is why we're so excited about launching a new and improved website in October! It's currently in development and will go live in October, when MoDA re-launches with a new Collections Centre, and a new program of touring exhibitions.

The new website will really showcase MoDA's collections in a way the current website doesn't. The whole site will be structured around our database of objects so you can browse, explore, or search the collections however you like. Whether you're looking for a taster of what we have, a bit of visual inspiration, or you have a specific research enquiry you'll find what you want more easily.

Image taken from a poster advertising Halifax Building Society, 1930s (BADDA4719)

We've been busy putting together themed groups of objects so that exploring different parts of collections is simple, whether it's wallpapers, the 1950s, or suburbia you're interested in. You'll also be able to see the best of MoDA's most popular and successful past exhibitions, and use these as a jumping off point to explore the collections.

All of this does mean that we'll unfortunately be without a website between the end of July, and October 2011. We're sorry not to be able to offer access to our collections database during this time, but we hope you'll agree that the new website will be worth the wait! And as ever, you'll be able to find all the latest MoDA news right here on the blog.

Image taken from the Time Furnishing Co. brochure, 1930s (BADDA512)