Modern retro furniture
You can buy new furniture today of a similar design to that sold in the fifties and sixties. A few manufacturers with a long history in English furniture making are still around today. Ercol sell a number of classic designs from the 50s. G-Plan's new Fresco range is inspired by the original Fresco from 1966.
Retailers Heals and Habitat also have a range of classic products. For example Robin Day furniture at Habitat. Heals ReDiscovers range is a new range of furniture and decorative items inspired by Mid Century design.
Either pick all modern pieces, or mix with a few vintage pieces. This is our guide to the best available.
Ercol is one of the few English furniture makers still making furniture in the traditional furniture making centre of High Wycombe. Ercol was a pioneer of the contemporary style in the fifties. Some pieces by Ercol's founder, Lucien Ercolani, were displayed at the Festival of Britain.
Ercol furniture has a simple elegance that is both modern and traditional. The Company still makes some of their original pieces. These stacking chairs, left, and the butterfly chair, right, capture the spirit of the contemporary style of the early fifties. They were not though, typical of the majority of Ercol's output in the fifties and sixties, which was based around the traditional Windsor chair with a modern treatment.
Light furniture in simple shapes was very cutting edge in the fifties. It can be used to create an authentic retro look in a modern home. There is also something very traditionally English about Ercol's designs, in spite of Ercolani's Italian origin. Combine this furniture with bright patterned soft furnishings to capture the spirit of a fifties' home.
More on Ercol
Buy Ercol Stacking chairs from Liberty: Stacking Chairs, Ercol
For more information see Ercol Evergreen.
See also vintage Ercol furniture
Forum by Robin Day
You can buy the Forum sofa and chairs, designed by Robin Day, from Habitat. Robin Day worked as a designer for Hille in the fifties and sixties. He was a pioneer of the early contemporary style. His Hillestack chair was used at the Festival of Britain in 1951.
Day's Forum, also a design for Hille, dates from the 60s. The construction of the chair is entirely visible, with the wood and chrome frame on the sides and back. It is a classic sixties style box shape.
The black leather look is most reminiscent of a late sixties' craze for leather furniture. They loved swivel chairs in black leather, as well as sofas and chairs.
For more information see www.habitat.co.uk
For more on Robin Day, see the Design Museum article, Robin and Lucienne Day.
More on modern retro
Retro furniture, fashion and collectables