A true best of British is Robert Heritage, beautiful and dateless designs using the most expensive materials of the day. Retailed by Heals what more can you ask for. Robert Heritage was born in Birmingham, England, on 2 November 1927. He studied at Birmingham College of Art (1942-46) and the Royal College of Art, London (1942-51). He then worked as designer for the London-based furniture manufacturer G.W. Evans (1951-53). In 1953 Heritage set up his own studio with his wife, Dorothy Heritage [formerly Dorothy Shaw] who had also studied at the RCA. He subsequently worked as a designer and consultant for a number of manufacturers including G.W. Evans [with Dorothy Heritage), Beaver & Tapley, Shannon, Slumberland, Race Furniture and Archie Shine. In addition to his work as a furniture designer, Heritage has also designed lighting for Concord, Rotaflex, GEC and Tecnolyte, stainless steel cutlery for Yote Manufacturing Company, and clocks for Smiths Industries and English Clock Systems. Heritage taught at Twickenham School of Art, London (1953-55) and was professor of furniture design at the Royal College of Art (1974-85). He was made a Royal Designer for Industry (RDI) by the Royal Society of Arts in 1963 and was a Fellow of the Society of Industrial Artists and Designers (FSIAD). DESIGN RESEARCH PUBLICATIONS ©Robert Heritage
Robert Heritage first worked with Gordon Russell in 1969, and was responsible for the GR69 range a group of furniture for both living and dining room areas.
He subsequently designed a range of modular upholstered seating for public areas. Heritage for Heals
Robert Heritage's latest work for Heals - a rosewood dining-room range - is an amalgam of well considered design with first class materials and workmanship. Report he Ilse Gray, photographs by Mike Goss.
The newest furniture to emerge from Heal's Islington factory is a range by Robert Heritage to be put on the market in July. Although commissioned by Heal Furniture, Robert Heritage preferred to work without an initial brief. The total shape of the units has come purely from the structure - for instance, the curves on which the tambour runs most smoothly has determined the depth of the cabinet. For convenience, the pieces are described as a dining-room range, but the Units are designed for use anywhere in the house and would be equally at home in the living-room or bedroom. Also it is hoped to make the range available in ash or beech as well as rosewood - and mahogany and to extend the number of pieces. Mr Heritage is also designing a matching chair.
The range at present consists of a dining-table and a series of three roll-top storage units, available as free-standing cabinets or in a one, two or three unit combination. The table is made of solid rosewood and has a folding and sliding central extension leaf. It measures 3 ft x 4 ft 6 in closed (6 ft 6 in open) and is 2 ft 4.5 in high. The storage units are 2 ft 6 in x 1 ft 8 in deep with an overall height of 2 ft 10 in. They are made of solid rosewood with a dark-stained mahogany tambour roll-top and backs and interiors finished in white plastics laminate. The bureau unit has two drawers, white pigeonholes and pull-out rosewood writing-shelf. Of the other two units, one is for drinks, the other is an open carcass with an optional shelf. Cabinet handles are of black leather.
Both table and units are available with a choice of two base frames. Either dark-stained mahogany T-shaped legs and cross pieces, or - the more successful solution of the two - bent tubular steel legs set into a wooden base, also with wooden cross pieces. In the case of the cabinet each leg is bent into a U-shape from one piece of tubular steel, whereas the table legs are made from two bent tubes. In both cases the tube is fixed by bolting through and there is no welding involved. The roll-top openings on the storage units, apart from being attractive to look at and making a pleasant change from sliding or hinged doors, have the advantage of unrestricted access from front and top. The table base does not get in the way of legs and allows for unrestricted seating.
I love modern furniture as much as I love vintage furniture. Here is a piece I bought a couple of months ago. Designed in Japan, engineered in the US, and made in Europe, the Zumi Stool is truly a global product. As much origami as furniture, this stool is formed by three identical parts that cleverly interlock to create an elegant occasional seat.
14.5 diameter x 15.5h, Molded ply with birch veneer.
Shuichiro Koizumi is a young Japanese designer brought the attention of OFFI & Company by a top dealer in Tokyo. He was actually an employee of the retailer, and the owner was so taken by his design for the Zumi Stool, that he asked OFFI to develop it.
The Zumi Stool has been a big hit in Shuichiro's home town - Tokyo, and arguably an excellent piece here in the U.S. with features in the Museum of Modern Art Catalog, and 50 independent design shops across the nation.
Most desired is his bent ply chair. Eric Lyons was born in 1912. His father was a toy designer.In 1930 he was articled to the architect Stanley Beard while attending evening classes at Regents Street Polytechnic (where he met Townsend). After qualifying he worked for T.P. Bennett and then Gropius and Fry. In 1938 he designed a small office behind the Odeon, Leicester Square for Andrew Mather. Later that year Lyons and Townsend formed an architectural practice. During the War Lyons worked for Harry Weedon designing factories and hostels. After the War he resumed his practice with Townsend. The housing scheme he devised with Townsend in1948 in Twickenham demonstrated how the landscaping of the common space could provide a visual link between the four maisonette blocks.
During the 1940’s Lyons designed the best selling Tecta Range for the furniture manufacturer Packet. With Townsend as developer and Lyons as consultant architect the building of Parkleys begun in 1954.By the early 1960’s Lyons had designed housing schemes for SPAN at Blackheath, Beckenham, Twickenham, Teddington, Putney and Cambridge. Eric Lyons and Partners had also been involved in the design of high density housing estates for local authorities in London and Southampton. Lyons approach was all embracing. He believed that the architect should provide a service to society. Lyons was convinced that residents’ societies helped engender a sense of belonging and community. Lyons performed the function of ‘architectural generalist’ taking an active involvement in the design, town planning and landscaping requirements of the SPAN housing schemes.
Photos courtesy of: HOMESPUNVITNAGE, CONCRETE BOX, PATCH ROGERS