Textile: Causeway. Designed by Lucienne Day, manufactured by Heal Fabrics. 1967. Museum purchase from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund. 2007-5-1.

New Day

Often called "England’s Eamses," Robin and Lucienne Day were a designing couple utterly committed to modernism. The unexpectedness and vitality of their postwar interior furnishings, particularly Lucienne’s pattern designs for textiles, carpets, wallcoverings, and dishware, shaped the look of modern England in the 1950s. Lucienne is rightfully famous for Calyx, the organic design inspired by the work of Paul Klee. Calyx debuted at the Festival of Britain in 1951 and won the gold medal at the Milan Triennale the same year. A series of textiles and wallpapers followed that showcased her spare drawing style and unusual color sense, which combined earth tones with clear, sometimes acid, colors.

Lucienne's later work is often overlooked, however. Like her American counterparts, she responded to the growth of the contract market that directed the production of Herman Miller and Knoll. Many of her later fabrics were designed to be used floor-to-ceiling, and often side-by-side in large-scale installations. Earlier florals gave way to arboreal or columnar elements that reflected their function in the new interior. These abstract geometric designs also hint at the next direction her work would take. The so-called “silk mosaics,” which occupied her from the late 1970s until her death in 2010, often employ a strong vertical axis, as in Causeway, which features many “horizon lines” that draw each color out to the edges.

Museum Number: 
2007-5-1