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© Lesley Jackson and Paula Day 2014

Robin Day

As a result of winning the MOMA International Low-Cost Furniture Competition, Robin was sought out by the cabinet-making firm of S.Hille & Co, and began a partnership that flourished over the ensuing decades. Hitherto the company had specialized in reproduction furniture, but with the ambitious young designer on board, Hille completely changed direction and embraced modern design.

During the 1950s Robin developed an extensive collection of designs for Hille, ranging from utilitarian stacking chairs and tables, to easy chairs and bed settees, to modular storage units and desks. While some of these were for domestic settings, the emphasis was increasingly on the contract market, with organic shapes gradually supplanted by more angular and rectilinear forms.

Robin’s aim was to create simple, understated, functional forms in modern materials with a clearly articulated structure. Commercially successful and creatively distinguished – a rare combination – his furniture particularly appealed to architects and was championed by the Council of Industrial Design. 

Robin Day in his studio, with Q-Stak chair, Hille, 1953
©Robin & Lucienne Day Foundation/photo: Air Ministry