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Design: managing the legacy of Robin & Lucienne Day

A year after successfully reissuing Robin Day‘s 675 chair, we reflect on the discussion last September…’Design: managing the legacy’ where design historian Charlotte Fiell and our own Paul Newman spoke with Paula Day, daughter of Robin & Lucienne Day, about what designers should do to ensure that their works are protected beyond their lifetime.

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“You look at the new Case 675, the first time I saw the original, and now I’m seeing the new one, just a sense of ‘oh yes, of course, that’s my father’s design’. You can tell, it has that kind of vigour, and poise, and natural sense of proportion which just expresses who he was. A real sense of recognition. So, what I’ve learnt is that actually the original looks much more up-to-date than any updates, and I wondered why, and I thought ‘oh yes of course, the originals are by Robin & Lucienne Day’.”
Paula Day, 00:21:00

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Managing a design legacy is a complex task. In this discussion with Paula Day, daughter of Robin and Lucienne Day, we discover what designers should do to ensure that their designs are respected beyond their own lifetimes. Designers Robin and Lucienne Day both created extensive bodies of work which were originally put into production by companies which have, in many cases, changed structure and ownership over the years. How will the Polypropylene Chair be viewed in 2050? Will anyone still remember Calyx? Robin and Lucienne Day’s design oeuvre is complete.

Now it must not be allowed to disappear into the design history archives, nor be exploited and abused by companies looking to get rich quick. It should be respected and protected, while also being made available to be used and enjoyed in today’s world. The Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation was launched two years ago with these objectives in mind.


“I would like to say that we were very demanding of Case Furniture, and to their credit they responded, and this is a very good learning for us.”
Paula Day, 00:24:00


“I sit every morning at breakfast, of a previous production of this chair by another company, and sitting in this one, which is the real thing in my view is a quite different experience, it supports your back. My dad was always very, very keen on lumber support, because he had a bad back. Obviously this is a beautiful sculptural piece, but behind the looks is something very sound and comfortable. That’s true of all of my father’s designs.”
Paula Day, 00:25:00

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