Decorex International is the daddy of all design shows and it opens in London a week on Sunday. Huzzah! Founded as a “small, exclusive and very targeted exhibition of high end interior design merchandise”, the to-the-trade show (with one afternoon open to the ticketed general public), is resident in purpose-built temporary structures in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, founded 1682.
De rigueur for top end designers, Decorex launched in 1978 which got your scribe thinking about 1970s design. The still popular idea that the 1970s is a welter of bad orange and brown design is simply not correct. The tenacity of the belief reflects product design at the lower end of the market which is still piled high in charity shops and thrift stores. At the high end of 1970s design – the Decorex end – output was nuanced and classic. One of your scribe’s favourite books is Modern Furniture and Decoration, published 1971 by Condé Nast Publications. The book’s contemporary highlights include a black and white hallway in a Paris apartment designed by Yves de Parcevaux and Claude Chauvet.
Although the accompanying text doesn’t describe the hallway’s fittings, the wallpaper harks back to Monday’s Wiener Werkstätte blog post. The apartment’s black & white wallpaper appears to your scribe as an update of designs by Lotte Frömel-Fochler. Much of the Werkstätte designs were manufactured by Backhausen & Söhne in Vienna, and a riffle through the company’s online archive demonstrates how top notch designers in any decade reference and are inspired by previous eras, but create fresh, non-derivative and enduring interpretations. DJ