CLASSIC MID-CENTURY RANGE BY DESIGN PIONEERS

One of the most enduring mid-century British designer furniture collections is set to make a comeback at the Clerkenwell Design Week.

The John and Sylvia S-Range, which is being re-issued by Nathan Furniture, will feature 13 pieces from the original collection created in the 1960s ­– all of which remain sought after classics by fans of modernist design.

The re-issue has been brought about by Dominic Reid, son of John and Sylvia Reid, and Nicholas Radford, md of Nathan Furniture and son of the original manufacturer.

Said Nicholas: “Dominic and I are very excited about the re-issue of the S-Range, as it represents not only one of the very best examples of British mid-century design, but has a great collaborative heritage behind it which we are both very proud to be a part of. We hope the design community attending Clerkenwell will love what we have to show them.”

John and Sylvia Reid were both working architects, and gained valuable experience working for influential British designer Robin Day and Hille in the early 1950s. They were asked to design a range of furniture for Stag, and fostered a 10-year partnership between 1952 and 1962 with the manufacturer.

The S-Range was launched in 1960 and was John and Sylvia’s first dining and living room collection. There was a focus on ergonomics and practicality, but also an appreciation of materials, finish, texture and craft.

The re-issue will involve 13 pieces using the original designs. Nicholas said: “We’ve worked extremely hard to remain faithful to the original pieces. They were beautifully designed and remain iconic pieces and we didn’t want a watered down version. We’ve remained as absolutely true to the originals as possible.”

The S-Range will include dining chairs, three alternative tables and a variety of sideboards, shelving units and upholstered pieces.

Modest in size and slender, the original S230 dining chair was made of three contrasting materials: a narrow gauge tubular steel frame, a small contoured seatback and a slim leather covered seat supplied in black or cream.

Produced in two sizes, the cabinets could be used individually or run together in coordinated ensembles of indefinite length.

As well as achieving architectural unity this could create the illusion that they were much larger than their actual modest scale. The black Formica trim running along the lower edge of the units acted as another unifying feature – giving the impression they were hovering off the ground.

“Simplicity of statement, an intelligent approach to flexibility and attention to detail make this one of the outstanding furniture ranges of the year” was the verdict of Design magazine of the S-Range.

The S-Range items became – and remain – modern classics. They still feel fresh and exciting. They are no longer radical or avant-garde pieces but established icons.

The John and Sylvia S-Range will be launched in the British Collection Exhibtion at Clerkenwell Design Week, in the Crypt on the Green, Clerkenwell Close.

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