Home Furnishings 1950-2000

Home Furnishings 1950-2000

In the early 1950s, there was a rise in middle-class consumerism and post-war prosperity. The Festival of Britain, held in 1951, provided an opportunity to exhibit British achievements in design and industry. Modern designs, architecture, materials, and methods of construction dominated the festival, and many pieces of furniture were shown.

Prompted by the enthusiastic response to the Festival of Britain, the Design Centre opened in London's Haymarket in 1956. This was a permanent showcase for British-designed goods.

The 1950s saw the arrival of the distinctive 'Contemporary Style' in furniture design. Scandinavian design was influential in the United Kingdom. This revival of modernism differed from earlier designs in that it had a more luxurious feel and style. Low coffee tables became common; as did wood-framed sofas, wall fixtures and freestanding cabinets that were now designed to hold a record player as well as drinks.

There was great variety in 1960s home furnishings. 'Swinging London' became the home of 'Pop Art' and culture. Homes were furnished with a combination of historical influences, such as Victorian, Edwardian and Art Nouveau. Designs were often futuristic, as this was the decade of the 'Space Race' and the first moon landing.

In 1964, Terence Conran opened the furniture store Habitat. Conran, inspired by Scandinavian furniture shops, displayed goods in a minimalist store that resembled a warehouse. He was highly successful at marketing well-designed domestic goods and home furnishings at affordable prices.

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