A ‘forest’ of timber columns designed by Turner Prize nominees Assemble will mark the centenary of the birth of Robin Day as part of the London Design Festival at the V&A.
Robin Day ‘Works in Wood’ celebrates one of the most significant British furniture designers of the 20th century, displaying some of his most famous furniture designs alongside handmade objects and drawings which have never before been exhibited, and writings that reveal his deep attachment to nature.
The exhibition, curated by Jane Withers, will be on display outside the V&A’s Britain 1500-1900 Galleries from 19th September. The project has been sponsored by John Lewis (Robin Day and his textile designer wife Lucienne Day worked as Design Consultants to the company from 1962 – 1987) and contemporary furniture manufacturer Benchmark.
“As a designer, I greatly enjoy working in timber. Unlike synthetic materials, it has unpredictability, an infinite variety of texture and pattern, smells good when worked and is sympathetic to the touch – it has soul!”
Robin Day, 2001
Part of a series of events to mark Day’s centenary during London Design Festival, Robin Day ‘Works in Wood’ will form the focus of Day in London – a trail across the Capital linking exhibition venues and key locations for London’s Robin Day heritage.
Reflecting on the forest as Day’s fundamental site of creative exploration, Assemble’s concept will look at Robin Day’s early life amongst the woodlands and furniture industry of High Wycombe where materials, processes and products were linked with the rhythm of everyday life. From the greenwood bow of Day’s childhood, to his explorations in moulded plywood, the installation will be a conduit for exploring Robin’s relationship with wood, creating a tactile and materially rich exhibition which encompasses the evolution of the timber process and it’s different experiential and structural possibilities.
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 Assemble’s installation.”