STYLE & STORIES

September 24th, 2020

GOOD, BAD, OR JUST PLAIN TACKY? THE SPIRIT OF THE 70S

The 70s are fast becoming one of our favourite design periods. It does seem like it was a more laid-back, and dare we say mellow time. But whether good, bad or tacky, home interiors were certainly unique. It was the era of bean-bags, pop art, linoleum floors, lava lamps and shag pile. Rattan was the vogue in furniture, And no house was complete without something made in macrame. 

Open plan living is one of today’s most popular design layouts, but did you know that the trend originated in the 70s and was part of a move towards a less formal way of living with open plan layout designed to create a more comfortable and relaxed atmosphere at home. The 70s color craze is not for the faint of heart. It was not uncommon, for instance, to find whole rooms decked out in lacquered red or fussy orange tiles. As an aesthetic concept, technicolor funk was the Scandinavian hygge of the decade. A little nostalgia is never a bad thing, so let’s step inside the time machine and revisit some of our favourite picks and designers who we think made their mark.. 

The return of old trends to the zeitgeist applies to furniture as much as it does clothes, and a good example is rattan. Wicker furniture and rattan peacock chairs were the rage when going for a more hippie, bohemian look. We’ve picked up some amazing vintage pieces over the last year,  and we don’t see this craze dying out soon. 

The Riihimaki collections are now sought after as collectibles, especially some of their vases. It produced everyday glassware and art glass until 1976 and cut glass until 1977. Among the acclaimed designers associated with Riihimäki were Tamara Aladin, Greta-Lisa Jäderholm-Snellman, Timo Sarpaneva, Nanny Still, and Helena Tynell. These pieces fetch very high prices today at auction, and add a touch of glamour to any modern decor. 

Much like the 50s, the 70s can be identified by its iconic chairs. Though the number of new chair designs were actually few and far between, the ones which did appear were memorable for their whimsical design and innovation. Although created in the 50s, Saarinen’s Tulip Chairs took on a futuristic life of their own in the 70s thanks to their appearance in the popular Star Trek TV series. 

Architect Frank Gehry designed the Wiggle Side Chair in 1972 as part of the successful Easy Edges corrugated cardboard line (1969 – 1973). However, Gehry withdrew the series soon after launch, concerned he would become known simply as a furniture designer when his true ambitions lay in architecture. With his architectural prowess, Gehry ensured the Wiggle Side Chair was not only a sculpture triumph, but also a robust and comfortable seat. It was later reintroduced to the market by Vitra.

The classic schooldays chair, the Series E School Chair was designed by Robin Day for Hille in 1971. Made from polypropylene and steel, the seat was and is an affordable classroom staple. The chair emerged from an invitation by the Consortium of Local Authorities for Wales to design a range of furniture suited to the classroom. 

Designed by Michel Ducaroy and released in 1973, Ligne Roset’s Togo sofa broke the ‘code’ of design. It was totally new, something that had never been seen before. Since then, it has become an icon, representing a time of radical change in the way we understand our living environment and the use of our furniture, the way we welcome friends and family in an informal way, the way we sit, read, and relax. Togo represents a liberation of lifestyle, aesthetics and comfort.

 

 

 


Last year Gubi re-launched the voluptuous Pacha lounge chair created by French designer Pierre Paulin. He designed the Pacha Lounge chair in 1975 – without the constraints of legs, it attested to the comfort and cosiness of low-level living, capturing the spirit of the 1970s.

 

 

 

 

Originally designed by Louis Weisdorf, the Multi-Lite for Gubi is a renewed interpretation of the 1972 fixture. Two cylindrical shapes lay the foundation of the pendant while the surrounding metal rings hold the shades. This iconic 70s design embraces the golden era of Danish design and adds timeless expression to every interior today.

On permanent display at the MoMA in New York and Centre George Pompidou in Paris, the Componibili storage modules are icons of pop-design. Designed in 1969 and popularized throughout the ‘70s, these stackable units epitomize the era’s craze for mass-produced plastic furniture as well as the opposing trend toward self-expression and personal choice. Almost 50 years later, the Componibili – Italian for modular – are still popular today, with more choice in size, color, and shape than ever before.

Designed by Joe Colombo in 1970 the Boby trolley is another versatile storage unit which can house almost anything. Originally designed to suit the needs of an architect/designer, the Boby trolley is in the collections of MoMA and Milan’s ‘Triennale’. 

Commonly known as the “decade style forgot”, the 70s brought with it design innovations that are still making waves today, The best designs are characterised by their ability to crossover generations, time and age. The icons of this period are timeless and not linked to a specific fashion era and add a touch of glamour and style to many 21st century homes today.

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