This month we’re feeling a little nostalgic…. Half a century ago, in September 1966, Warwick was founded amidst one of history’s most influential design eras. So as we celebrate our big 50th, we also take a moment to step back in time and reflect on an iconic era and its profound influence on modern day design.
As Tom Warwick set up his sales agency for commercial vinyls back in 1966, London had established itself as a world leader in progressive design. Freedom and creativity was fuelled by post-war economic prosperity and a new generation of designers flourished. Influenced by an influx of European immigrants, Australia followed Britain’s lead and embraced what is now known as mid century modern design. Lines were clean, ideas were innovative and design focused on function as well as decorative appeal. Sculptural shapes, pared back style, integrity in materials and a love of colour permeated all aspects of the design world from interiors and upholstery through to furnishings, fashion and architecture.
We’ve profiled four of our favourite fabrications from the sixties and seventies – you’ll be surprised to see how relevant they are for interiors today.
Once only worn by royalty and aristocracy, this conservative fabric transformed into a radical statement during the 1960’s. From Jackie O in her Chanel blazers to the contrasting colours and houndstooth patterns of the era’s mini skirts and swing coats, this historically revered fabric received an upbeat, modern facelift. The trend soon influenced interior design and became a popular choice for classic 1960’s sofas and the iconic Danish armchair. Fast-forward to the present and tweed has made a comeback, complementing today’s luxe trends. Its subtle patterns, highly textural weaves and multicolour yarns are a bold presence, effortlessly mixing back with marble surfaces and metallic highlights for a timeless statement of modern luxury.
Fabrics Featured left to right: Zion Collection
PATTERNS PAST AND PRESENT
As swinging London was having its heyday, Britain’s youth turned their backs on the conventionalism of the 50’s. Designers took fashion away from the privileged and brought it into the realm of the everyday while revolutionaries in architecture and interior design forced the old establishments to rethink and refresh. A pivotal icon of the era, Mary Quant used simple shapes and geometric patterns, bold primary colours and monochromatic graphics in her designs. She’s credited as introducing the mod look and was a key influencer of the Op Art and American Pop Art periods. Sharp, bold, minimalist and modernist, graphic patterns held influence for decades and continue their presence in interior design; as most recently seen across modern tiling, wallpapers and fabrics where colour and geometrics are taking centre stage.
Fabrics Featured left to right: Monochrome Collection
A PLUSH HISTORY
Sumptuous, sensual velvet is the Midas touch of the fabric-world, giving everything it touches an undeniably luxurious appeal. In the 60’s velvet brought high glamour to fashion with its deep colours and plush pile acting as the perfect complement to the lace collars and trims of the era’s fashion dandies. Heading into the 70’s its presence intensified as glamrock took the world by storm and interiors, from hotels and clubs to everyday lounges, used velvet as a look of luxe. By 1977 Tom Warwick had become the largest Australian importer of velvet with purple velvet accounting for 90% of sales at the time. Demand continues today as velvet’s lustrous fibres allow for an intensity of colour that is difficult to attain in other fabric qualities. Soft and plush or strong and structured, velvet strikes a rich note with today’s on trend jewel tones, its soft dense pile making it a perpetual favourite across time and trend.
Felt is the oldest form of fabric in existence, predating both weaving and braiding. Produced by matting natural fibres together with moisture and friction, felt can be very firm or very soft depending on how densely it has been pressed. Wool felt is particularly timeless, its smooth finish and minimalist character enhances any furnishing with distinctly refined and warmly welcoming qualities. Its durability has made it a popular choice across residential and commercial interiors while its flexible character and streamlined aesthetic makes it ideally suited to iconic mid century modern furnishings, their curved forms and tufted details.
Fabrics Featured left to right: Augustus Collection
Fifty years on and mid century modern continues to influence 21’st century trends. Share your favourite design influence from the 60’s and 70’s with us.