the Decades, a new four part series for BBC TWO, revisits the nation's
design heritage, from the 1960s to the 1990s, and takes a journey
through forty years of iconic architecture, interiors, fashion and
the Mini to the Dyson; the Post Office Tower to Waterloo's Eurostar
terminal; Laura Ashley to IKEA and the waterbed to the Filofax,
the programme charts the designs – both popular and classic
– that encapsulated the spirit of each decade.
the Decades remembers some of the best British and international
designs which have achieved success on the British market, such
as Robin Day's best-selling stacking chair, Mary Quant's mini-skirt,
Barbara Hulanickii's Biba, Clive Sinclair's calculator, Richard
Roger's Lloyds building, the Paul Smith suit, the Dyson vacuum cleaner
and the IMAC.
series also explores how design icons reflect the aspirations and
ideals of each decade.
series follows the career progression of and features interviews
with some of Britain's most enduring designers including Norman
Foster, Richard Rogers, Terence Conran, Robin Day, James Dyson and
consumers, historians, critics and fans share their personal recollections
of the trends that changed the face of their homes and lives.
of each programme in the series are below:
One – Designing the 60s
1960s was one of the most visually exciting decades of the last
century. British culture and pop design exploded internationally.
Post-war blues were gone and there was a flurry of innovation in
architecture, fashion and design to satisfy the emerging youth market.
the first part of a new series, Designing the Decades explores this
significant period of design history to discover the designers and
objects that shaped the era.
programme reveals the story behind cult car the Mini; interviews
Robin Day about his ubiquitous stacking chair - 40 million have
been manufactured - still found in church halls, dole queues and
Botswana canoes; and discovers why a controversial new fashion,
the mini-skirt, actually changed tax regulation.
the 60s, the Post Office Tower went up; Tupperware was the new buzz
word in pioneering materials; on the high street, Habitat was changing
the face of shopping and the nation's interest in interior design;
and a four-man band from Liverpool produced an album with one of
the most celebrated covers in pop history. Designer Peter Blake
reveals the story behind the sleeve of Sergeant Pepper's Lonely
Hearts Club Band.
the 60s includes interviews with Kenneth Grange, designer of the
Kenwood Chef; Peter Murdoch; Mary Quant; Adam Faith; Molly Parkin;
Terence Conran; Martyn Rowlands, the man behind the Trimphone; Tony
Benn; and series consultant Jonathan Glancey, architecture and design
critic for The Guardian.
Two – Designing the 70s
the 1970s, the economy took a downturn. It was a time of recession,
social unrest and the three-day week.
programme looks at how designers provided the public with an escape
from the grim reality of their lives through glamour, nostalgia
and dreams of the future.
the Decades examines the rise and fall of the house of Biba, Britain's
biggest fashion emporium, which made chocolate brown the colour
of the day and became a haunt for the coolest people in town.
also found its way into the living room when the British yearned
to escape to a rural idyll of rustic crafts and countryside, as
epitomised by Tom and Barbara in The Good Life.
synthetics and plastics of the 1960s went out and pine and macrame
you couldn’t actually live in the country then the next best
thing was to dress the part. Laura Ashley turned the nation into
milkmaids with her William Morris style print dresses.
the car of the countryside was born - the Range Rover.
new products attempted to bring fun to the gloomy decade - Charles
Hall's waterbed, the jacuzzi, music centres, Clive Sinclair's pocket
calculator, the digital watch and the bike that thought it was a
Harley - the Chopper.
architecture Norman Foster's groundbreaking Sainsbury Centre sent
shock waves through the architectural community and set the pace
for a new generation of architects.
in the Queen's jubilee year, when the nation was swept up in a wave
of patriotism, a subversive new movement was alarming the establishment
– punk - whose DIY aesthetic revolutionised fashion and graphic
the 70s includes interviews with many of the decade's driving forces
including Barbara Hulanicki, Nick and Bernard Ashley, son and husband
of Laura, Clive Sinclair, Charles Hall, Roy Jacuzzi, Norman Foster,
Malcolm Maclaren and The Sex Pistol's graphic artist, Jamie Reid.
Three – Designing the 80s
the decade of style, it was in the 1980s that Britain became well
and truly design conscious. This was the age of the yuppie - individuals
were defined by the suit they wore, the car they drove and the accessories
they carried. Money was no object and status symbols came into their
The programme reveals the story behind the rise of Paul Smith -
how he went from dressing miners to city slickers and created a
worldwide empire. Not content with restyling the British male, Paul
Smith was also the man responsible for the ultimate 80s accessory
- the Filofax.
those for whom money was no object there was the Porsche 911.
saw the arrival of post modernism typified by Terry Farrell's TV-AM
building. The frivolity of an egg cup house captured the spirit
of playfulness that infected the early part of the decade.
at the other end of the decade Richard Rogers' Lloyds building typified
hi-tech modernism and revolutionised London's skyline.
and men were earning more than ever and suddenly young couples could
afford their own homes. Interiors became functional and practical
and the nation was introduced to the futon.
influence was also evident with the arrival of the Sony Walkman
- a revolution in terms of design and experience.
was also the decade of gadgets, some more successful than others:
the answerphone, the Amstrad and the C5.
an alluring new glossie, The Face, broke down traditional preconceptions
of the layout of a magazine.
contributions from Paul Smith, Terry Farrell, Richard Rogers, Terence
Conran, Anne Diamond, Janet Street-Porter, Rodney Fitch, James Dyson,
Jason Barlow, Tyler Brulee, Alan Sugar, Alice Rawsthorn, Christopher
Frayling and Neville Brody, designer of The Face.
Four – Designing the 90s
the 90s design became affordable for everyone and Britain was transformed
into a brand conscious nation.
the start of the decade, society rejected the excesses of the 1980s
and design became more sober and minimalist. Meanwhile as more women
went out to work and their spending power increased, so design reflected
a new feminine energy and products became softer, curvier and more
90s explores the popularity of loft living, which encapsulated the
ethos of minimalism. The stripped back, natural look of loft living
became accessible to all with the arrival of IKEA who introduced
the British to simple clean Swedish furniture. IKEA became so big
in the 90s that it is estimated that one in ten Europeans was conceived
in an IKEA bed.
was also the decade when a young maverick inventor, James Dyson,
revolutionised the vacuum cleaner market, inspired by watching salad
spinners and fairground rides that used cyclonic action.
generated graphics enabled award winning architect Nicholas Grimshaw
to design the perfect building for Waterloo's Eurostar terminal;
and with the Ka, Ford flew in the face of market research and produced
a car that was round instead of square.
programme discovers how All Bar One kick-started the pub bar revolution,
transforming Britain's drinking dens from grotty pubs into clean
bright spaces that appealed to a new generation of young professionals,
and especially the female workforce.
in the mid-1990s, 'Girl Power' hit Britain. Lara Croft designers
and brothers Jeremy and Adrian Smith describe the creation of the
first virtual reality human, why she had to be a woman, and how
she became a design icon. And the programme explores the sensational
success of the Wonderbra.
programme includes interviews with James Dyson, David Adjaye, Tyler
Brulee, Caryn Franklin, Kevin McCloud, Alice Rawsthorn, John Hegarty,
Adam and Jeremy Smith, and Nicholas Grimshaw
the Decades will be broadcast in March 2003 on BBC TWO.
and preview tapes are available, for media use only, via the BBC
Press Office website.
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