If you think the Sixties were all about colour-clashing carpets and wood panelling, then fair enough. It’s not a look we want to revive. There’s plenty to love about the designs from that decade, though. Some of the pieces that first saw the inside of living spaces back then have iconic status now. And it’s no surprise: you can’t tell us that this Wing chair by Hans J Wegner from Carl Hansen isn’t still ultra-desirable.
It’s not just the furniture, of course. Sixties pattern, colourways, lighting and much more from those days all still look fabulous in a 21st century home.
The Sixties look was a rejection of scarcity, simple lines and lack of ornamentation. New materials and techniques had come along, and the plentiful oil supplies of the 1960s – ah, yes, it really was another world – meant petroleum-based plastics were cheaper, plus it could be formed into fabulous shapes in amazing colours (think Verner Panton S chair, and much, much more).
If we asked you to think Sixties interiors, odds-on you’d bring some fabulous pattern to mind. You might start with large-scale geometric repeats, but remember also the Pop and Op Art-inspired; non-Western style motifs; and the riotous blooms of flower power.
Here in the less-awash-with-oil 21st Century, you could celebrate the pattern of the Sixties with this geometric wallpaper from Fired Earth named after Mrs Peel of The Avengers, who showed us women could be emancipated fashionable amateur spies, or something. In blue (pictured, top), it looks rather sophisticated but if you want to go the whole hog it comes in a shade called Autumn, which has more than a passing resemblance to Sixties orange.
And perhaps even above pattern, it is colour that signifies the Sixties for many of us. The decade may have seen flickering black and white images of the first men on the moon but inside homes black and white schemes were dramatic, bold shades happily clashed and neon colours glowed.
Want to celebrate the decade’s shades back in the 50-years-on world? We’d suggest something like the pop of neon these shutters from The California Company bring to a room.
And really, that’s the trick with revisiting the Sixties. Include a few of the elements, but never, never get stuck in a time warp.
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Sarah Warwick, Guest Editor
View all posts by Sarah Warwick, Guest Editor