The 1960s is probably my favourite decade for many reasons. The fashion, the music, the hair styles and definitely the furniture.
London became the coolest place on the planet, the restraints of the 1950s started to wane and free love flowed across the lands. I would have been down the Cavern back home in Liverpool discovering The Beatles and then would have grooved on over to soul music shouting respect with Aretha Franklin.
The furniture of the decade was fun, multipurpose and there was quite a bit of plastic! It took influence from many things such as Art Nouveau, space age ideas and what was getting shown in the cinema.
Designer focus – 1960s
(Photo origins can be found by clicking on the photo, or the alt text)
A key designer for me is Verner Panton, from Denmark. I went to a 1960s exhibition years ago in the Tate in Liverpool and they had some very cool pieces like this one, below. He was known for his sculptured and molded pieces, using different textures and circular feelings.
One of his most famous pieces, the stacking chair, was the first single form moulded plastic chair. It’s probably one of the most copied chair styles and I’m sure you’ve seen some when rocking round Ikea. I actually found four of his chairs for sale on Panamo.
Next, we’ve got to give some props to Terence Conran who opened the first Habitat shop in 1964 based in Chelsea, London. The shop was initially launched to market Terence’s own Summa range. As with the 60s style it was multi purpose and had impact.
Other designers to look out for include Giancarlo Piretti and especially the Plia chair:
Next up, Joe Colombo and his combi storage systems such as this ‘Boby’.
And finally, an era of disposable pieces saw Peter Murdoch’s ‘chair thing’ become the rage. These chair things were made out of paper.
So, how do you get the 1960s look?
Space – everything should be open plan, easy to move around and change. You could use furniture to partition rooms. Taking inspiration from this vintage ad, why not choose a two-sided storage unit such as this white one from Ikea or even use different sections of wallpaper to break up your areas.
Colour – Just like the fashions, clashing colours work. Black vs white, orange vs pink. Why not add some splashes of 60s through some fab new cushions or a groovy clock.
Patterns – take a nod to the psychedelic and pop art of the era. Think Bridget Riley optical illusions or the fun of Peter Blake. I’ve got small pieces with nods to the 60s dotted around, such as this clock. You can easily change these round, add more or fewer pieces. This is where strolling round charity shops come in as you’ll find plenty of cheap, fun, colourful bits.
Lighting – You could try pop art lampshades mixed in with more muted pieces. Lava lamps and optical pieces fit with the plastic feel of the 60s style but may be a bit too much for some! Why not choose something see-through-esque like this brass and glass fixture from Made.com.
Multipurpose/disposable – Now, I’m all for reuse, recycle but with a nod to Peter Murdoch’s paper chair you could find paper boxes to store your things in. These can be transported to different rooms when you want a change and could easily be painted or papered over when the mood takes you. And as for multipurpose, I just love these massive mid-century style wooden units, think G-Plan, which can be used for many things. It’s the legs that get me! I use mine to store all our paper bits in, show off cool homeware pieces and it acts as a little cocktail bar. My piece is a Schreiber 1969 piece, that I found on the street!
As much I love the look of things like Panton’s chill out pieces, a modern 60s home is full of little pieces with pops of colour, some wooden block section dividers and of course a bit of something space age!