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Cover for Designing Modern Britain

Designing Modern Britain

Cheryl Buckley


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British culture is marked by indelible icons—red double-decker buses, large oak wardrobes, and the compact sleekness of the Mini. But British industrial and product design have long lived in the shadows of architecture and fashion. Cheryl Buckley here delves into the history of British design culture, and in doing so uniquely tracks the evolution of the British national identity.

            Designing Modern Britain demonstrates how interior design, ceramics, textiles, and furniture craft of the twentieth century contain numerous hallmark examples of British design. The book explores topics connected to the British design aesthetic, including the spread of international modernism, the eco-conscious designs of the 1980s and 1990s, and the influence of celebrity product designers and their labels. Buckley also investigates popular nostalgia in recent times, considering how museum and gallery exhibitions have been instrumental in reimagining Britain’s past and how the heritage industry has fueled a growing trend among designers of employing images of British culture in their work.

            A thoughtful look at the aesthetic heritage of a nation that has left its footprint around the globe, Designing Modern Britain will be a valuable text for students and professionals in design.

Praise For Designing Modern Britain

 "Thankfully not just another book about design, but a book about design and society and how they interact. Cheryl Buckley's book is all the more interesting and relevant to designers, students and anyone interested in the structure of Britishness."–Jasper Morrison
— Jasper Morrison

"This book looks at the relationship between iconic British design and national identity, taking in the furniture, ceramics and textiles that defined twentieth-century Britain."
— Grand Designs

"Reflecting the book's eclectic sources and methodologies, Designing Modern Britain should be adopted as a key text for a variety of courses across disciplines such as architecture, museum studies, cultural studies, twentieth-century British history, and all the more specialized fields of the history of fasion, art, design, and graphics."
— Becky E. Conekin

Reaktion Books, 9781861893222, 256pp.

Publication Date: October 1, 2007

About the Author

Cheryl Buckley is a reader in design history at the University of Northumbria and chair of the Design History Society in Britain. She is also author of Potters and Paintresses and coauthor of Fashioning the Feminine.