Design and Manufacturing in the Midlands | November 7 – January 14
Midlands Modern is a showcase of products manufactured by Midlands based companies working with significant designers during the period from 1930 to 1980, highlighting innovative and modernist design. The show celebrates this mid-century period – a period during which the Midlands maintained its reputation as ‘the workshop of the world’.
The showcase contains work from a number of different disciplines, such as lighting, glass, ceramics and furniture, highlighting and showcasing the breadth and depth of manufacturing in the Midlands.
Featuring in the exhibition is the work of Lady Margaret Casson: an architect, designer and photographer. Margaret Casson had remarkable talent, she studied at the Bartlett School of Architecture University College, London during the 1930s and was one of the few women on the architectural design course at the time. Casson went on to have an accomplished career as an architect and in a number of other design related fields.
Tibor Reich, one of the 20th century’s most celebrated textile designers – who notably livened up post-war Britain with his taste in bright and vividly coloured textiles will feature in the exhibition. Reich fled from war-torn Hungary in 1937 to study textiles at Leeds University. After the completion of his studies he bought a 19th Century cotton mill in Stratford–upon–Avon and established Tibor Ltd. It is more famously known as the Clifford Mill, and it is where Tibor established his career in producing and designing woven and printed textiles, ceramics, tiles and rugs.
The Robin Day range of contract carpets 1961 - 62
Robin Day designs from the Brintons Woodward Grosvenor archive have been loaned for the exhibition.
Robin Day’s range of contract carpets for Woodward Grosvenor was launched in the early 1960s - specifically aimed at the architect/specifier market. The collection was designed to be produced in several colourways reflecting current trends and the surface pattern design was based on a gridded matrix of abstract images. The carpets were produced using the Wilton weave process, a manufacturing method particularly suitable to resisting the heavy use expected of carpets specified for use in the public domain. Brintons Archivist, Yvonne Smith worked with the Parkside Gallery Manager, John Hall to identify key pieces from the archive for the exhibition.
Robin Day made his name in the early 1950 producing innovative designs for Hille Furniture utilising the new ‘wonder plastic’ – polypropylene. This design work contributing considerably to the establishing of the company’s highly successful Hille Contacts Division. His knowledge of designing for the contract design sector contributed to success in many other areas including projects with - Pye (radio, television and record-player cabinets), BOAC (aircraft interior and refreshment trays including the tableware and cutlery) and for the John Lewis Partnership (interiors and graphic identity).
Amongst a number of other disciplines on display, Midlands Modern highlights the contribution of the Midlands to modernist and contemporary design history, championing the midlands as a creative hub that is still just as relevant today.
Image top right: Midlands Modern Exhibition, Parkside Gallery, Birmingham
Images second right: Yvonne Smith, Brintons Archivist
Images bottom right: Robin Day carpet designs loaned from Brintons Archive on display