Friday 24 April 2009

1950s Design

It is not uncommon for great designers to derive inspiration from the natural world or the countryside. Here are two parts of a dinner service - a vegetable dish and a salad plate - from a design called Nature Study. It was produced by Midwinter and designed in 1955 by Terence Conran.

Midwinter Pottery was founded by William Robinson Midwinter in Stoke in 1910, started making dinner ware in the 1930s, and twenty years later was employing over 600 people. Its reputation was in traditional lines until the founder's son, Roy Midwinter, influenced by modern styling he had seen in America, launched the new Stylecraft range of tableware in 1953. The contemporary design and lively patterns - many by the firm's renowned designer Jessie Tait - were a great success in a market slowly emerging from post-war restrictions on consumer goods.

The new shapes, including the television screen-shaped plates quickly became 50s style icons.

A new version, the Fashion range, was added to Stylecraft in 1955 and amongst the first of its designs was Conran's Nature Study.

Then aged 24, this was one of Conran's early appearances on the design scene in his own right. After leaving St Martins College of Art and Design to do some work for the 1951 Festival of Britain, it was some fabric designs and an interest in Italian black and white styling that brought him to the attention of Roy Midwinter.

Conran produced other designs for Midwinter, including Saladware (below) and re-designed the firm's showroom in 1956. His own design practice was then under way, concentrating initially on furniture, and he opened his first Habitat shop in Chelsea in 1964.

Midwinter Potteries continued through to the 1980s. Their styles of the 50s and 60s have become modern classics and are now highly collectable.

1 comment:

Pubdoll said...

I love the thirties and fifties design and the Nature Study dinner service is just stunningly beautiful!
Thanks for posting!