As soon as I read the brief, I knew instantly that I wanted to write about the man who first made me appreciate the importance of great design. I was primary school age when I first stopped and absorbed the brilliance of a Robin Day design. You might have done the same too and not known it. Robin was the man who designed those ubiquitous Polypropylene stacking chairs which are still in production 50 years and 14 million units after they were first produced. Every school, every youth club, every church hall had them when I was growing up, and I remember so vividly that moment mid-stack, when I thought "these are really quite clever." I didn't know it then, but at a very tender age, I was noticing one of the fundamentals of great design.
But Robin Day was actually in my life from a much younger age. My childhood kitchen was furnished with bright yellow polo chairs and I used to love lingering over my tea after school, with my fingers exploring the holes in the chair and the static on its surface (possibly their one design flaw!) Those chairs disappeared from our lives when my parents moved house when I was 12 and they've left a strange emotional chasm in our family's life. 25 years on my dad still talks about how he "should have hung on to them" not for their monetary value, but simply because good design never goes out of fashion.
Sadly there are no proper pictures of those childhood chairs, but we did manage to dig out a picture from my 4th birthday, where the polo chair is *just* visible behind one of my party guests.
Of course Robin Day didn't just work with plastic. Both of the chair designs that Case currently stock, his West Street chair and his 675 chair (which is 61 years old!) combine leather and wood to create a more luxurious feel.
Aside from his connection to my childhood, the thing I like most about Robin Day is that he was a people's designer. His career was spent making furniture for the masses and he always liked a new challenge or an adventure. Although he died in 2010, I would like to think if he were starting his career as a designer now, he would have embraced things like crowd-funding, Pinterest and upcycling with the same enthusiasm with which he took on plywood and polypropylene.