One of Britain’s most significant furniture designers of the 20th century will be celebrated at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London with a ‘forest’ installation that will lead a trail across the capital marking the design luminary’s centenary.
The exhibition Robin Day Works in Wood, curated by Jane Withers, tells the story of how the designer, best known for his work in polypropylene, also loved to work with wood on commercial and personal projects.
A forest of timber blocks will be used to display the objects and create a playful spatial landscape outside out the V&A’s 1500-1900 Galleries from 19 September. The installation will features some of his most famous furniture designs alongside handmade objects and drawings which have never before been exhibited, as well as writings that reveal his deep attachment to nature.
Born in 1915, Robin Day’s design career spanned nearly seven decades and his prolific body of work included the ground-breaking stacking Polypropylene chair (1963) we all know so well, which sold in tens of millions worldwide.
But Day grew up among the beechwoods and timber furniture factories of High Wycombe, and his understanding and love for wood as a material was expressed both in professional furniture designs and in objects he made for pleasure throughout his life.
Jane Withers said: “Wood played a huge part in Day’s life, both as a designer and in his home life, but it is an aspect of his work that few people know much about. Exploring this strand through the archives and Day’s private woodwork not only highlights how he turned wood into an expressive modern material but also his profound attachment to nature as a source of inspiration as well as raw material, an approach that feels immensely relevant today and is brought to life in the installation.”