The 1960s continued mixing the previous decades' interior design trends of Scandinavian and Retro with bold neon colour schemes and clean streamlined forms. This decade was recognized as the Space Age and homes all over Britain were inspired by the advances of technology and futuristic shapes used for space travel.
Furniture and home furnishings moved away from natural materials and innovative materials like plastic and Kevlar became mainstream. With these new resources, came the ability to invent new things that transformed the design industry and how people now live today. Portable calculators, cassette players, lava lamps, the Mini, fax machines, the computer mouse and cash dispensers were among just a few iconic inventions. Cars and fridges were now common for most families and in the late sixties, many households started investing in colour TV sets which dramatically changed their viewing experience.
The race to space was on
In the late fifties, the U.S. created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to support space exploration. The Soviet Union had also launched Sputnik in 1957, the world’s first artificial satellite and man-made object to orbit the Earth. In the 1960s the race to space for these two powerhouses had officially begun and both had ambitions to land on the Moon by the end of the decade. The world witnessed orbits around the Earth, orbits around the moon and finally, in 1969, American Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon.
Gigantic leaps were also taken in aviation back on Earth, the Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet was unveiled, the supersonic airliner Concorde took its maiden flight and Airbus was also established.
The Swinging Sixties
During the mid-late sixties, a youth-driven culture movement took place in the UK known as the Swinging Sixties. This revolution celebrated modernity, fun, political activism and sexual liberation. British icons like Twiggy, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones transformed the music and fashion scene and energized this new cultural movement.
Across the pond, renowned pop artist Andy Warhol and others, heavily impacted British home décor, especially when it came to the use of flamboyant colour and clashing combinations. Mod shapes were also popularised in the sixties, inspired by this pop art revolution. Fabrics, rugs, wallpapers, and textiles all sported these intricate and repetitive designs.
A growing population
For the first time since the Middle Ages, new towns such as Basingstoke, Crawley, and Stevenage were created as the population of the UK continued to increase. Many of the existing towns and cities were redeveloped to cater for modern living and retail habits. Shopping centres and car parks were built to facilitate this rise in consumerism.
In the sixties and early seventies, most schools had become comprehensive and there was a huge need for more Universities to be founded too, with the number of full-time students reaching 197,000 by 1967.
A style that pushed boundaries
The 1960s were extraordinary, rebellious, and imaginative. Whether science, technology, fashion or art, every industry was growing and transforming. The boundaries were being broken everywhere you looked, so it’s no wonder that the futuristic style spurred on by the Space Age was so popular in homes across Britain. Even today, furniture designers still take inspiration from these abnormal forms, bold colours and reflective surfaces.