Design of the 50's

The design of the 50's


During the war 39-45 the chemistry experienced a tremendous acceleration by the industrial development of new products whose research was still embryonic; This will upset the design of the 50's!

The new materials:

  • Polyamide: A heritage of the 1940s, it is a synthetic silk for parachutes, which will be used quickly for women's clothing but its democratization in Europe will wait for the end of the war
  • Synthetic rubber
  • The PVC
  • Neoprene
  • Polystyrene
  • PMMA or acrylic glass, will give rise to plexiglass, used for cockpits of aircraft as decoration
  • The aminoplasts which in the form of resins as wood glue, will allow the explosive development of the plywood and, in the form of melanin used in laminate, they will serve in the course of ships and veneers of furniture
  • Polyester, a single name demonstrates the breadth of its applications: Tupperwear

As early as 1945 Eero Saarinen molded the famous hull of his Knoll's Womb 70 armchair in armored polyester, followed in 1956 by the Tulipe series, a design icon Charles Eames experimented with polyester as early as 1949 for Herman Miller.

In design, the forerunners of the English were founded in 1942 by the Committee for Utility Furniture, which imposed a limited number of furniture models compatible with mass production difficulties. The Ernest Race chair BA was created in 1945, from a structure of cast aluminum from recovered airplanes.

The Hollywood Fires:

In Europe, the post-war period is all about the American hour. All that GI brings is astonishing: multipole functional uniforms, Willy's jeep, Lucky Strike's boxes already designed by Raymond Loewy, streamline kitchen robots ... Design is above all industrial; The use of metal remains predominant, which is a tradition in the USA at that time, the industrial sector turns to the products of organic chemistry, starting with the Bakelite. The US Industrial Design of 1949-1950 displays the rationalistic discipline of Objects, where ergonomic study and technical requirements will guide their design. All the contributions of chemistry will be summoned for objects and decorations of suave color, imitating all the materials, light or even glittering, shiny plastic. This is the great era of stylism. And the American dream, in cinema as well as in kitchens, lounges, offices, milk bars, sumptuous ailerons and petrol stations, synonymous with comfort and opulence

French decorative arts:

Jean Royère, influenced by Hollywood, creates extravagant furniture and chairs of colors, embellished with materials that range from sheet metal to plush; The object has to take effect and it does not matter the technique and the materials. Its sketches go very far but the realizations remain more classical. We should not frighten the bourgeois, a major customer.

Because steel is devoted to heavy industry, there is little possibility for producers of objects, although the demand for new shapes and new living environments is very strong. Craftsmen then take up woodwork and create their own style by inventing Lyrical forms, a gesture freed from industrial work Charlotte Perriand, returning from his stay in Japan, uses wood for its warmth in craftsmanship but rational, in a style now even more refined. Jean Prouvé did not abandon the idea of ​​mass production. It marries marvelously the classic manufactures of free-form wood, but with rigorous additions of industrial manufacture