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A Design Classic: All You Need to Know About Ercol Furniture

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Luciano Randolfo Ercolani, Ercol’s founder was born in 1888 in a little country town in Italy. He moved to the East End of London with his parents some years later with the assistance of the Salvation Army. Whilst he was not a natural when it came to learning English he left school early to become a messenger boy whilst continuing to play in the Salvation Army Brass Band.

He would later apply to the Shoreditch Technical Institute to join a Furniture Design Course. He took drawing and design classes and then entered the City and Guilds exams in theory and construction of furniture.  Harry Parker from Frederick Parker furniture (later known as Parker-Knoll) offered Lucian the chance to work with them and this was the start of Lucien’s working life in High Wycombe. Lucien also became life long friends with Ted Gommes whose family were to become founders of G-plan in the 1950s. He worked with them until he set up his own company in 1920.

Lucien established his own furniture factory with the financial help of some local businessmen. It was first called Furniture Industries but is today known as Ercol. In 1932 a local chair making business known as Skulls fell in to financial difficulties and Lucien Ercolani took this over and it enabled him to expand his business. Even today, Ercol’s chairmaking section is known as Skulls.

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During the war the Ercol factory worked for the government making 25,000 tent pegs per day as well as munition boxes and other supplies. Both of Lucien’s sons Lucien B and Barry were prominent members of the RAF and Lucien B was shot down when returning from a raid in the English Channel. He managed to survive and was decorated for his service to the war.

In 1944 Lucien Ercolini accepted an offer from the Board of Trade to produce 100,000 low cost chairs. It took him 12 months to design and build machines to produce chairs quickly at a very low cost – their cost was 10s 6d for each chair. Lucien Ercolano realised that he could be a major part of post-war manufacturing. A month after the war ended the Britain Can Make it Festival was announced to be held at the V & A in London. He saw this as a wonderful opportunity to launch Ercols brand new range ‘The Windsor Collection’ which is something that we all associate with Ercol furniture today. Other designs would evolve later and many of them we still know and love today – such as the Loveseat (designed in 1956) and the Studio Couch. The stacking chair is also easily recognisable – these were produced in the thousands in the 1950s and 60’s and are still part of the Ercol Originals collection.

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After being one of the founding members of the Furniture Makers Guild in 1951, Lucian R Ercolani was made Master of the Guild in 1957 which became a city livery guild in 1963. He was followed in this position by his two sons and his grandson over the next 4 decades. His granddaughter, Vicky, is also a liveryman of the company.

In June 1964 Lucian R Ercolani was awarded an OBE for services to UK design and manufacturing. After 82 years in the old factory in High Wycombe, Ercol moved into a purpose built 16,000 square metre factory on the outskirts of Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire. Designed by Horden Cherry Lee the building has won a number of awards for its architectural design and its environmental features.

Check out our Vintage Ercol selection on Vinterior

 

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Get The Look: Hallways & Tight Corners

Many urban dwellers in big cities must contend with long hallways and tight corners. Often, these spots are the last to get decorated as they’re daunting in size. However, there are various ways to transform these spaces by playing with scale and perspectives.

LOOK ONE

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Dramatic  mirror + bench + rug + plant = hallway formula

 

A large statement mirror reflects light into a tight corner and balanced with a low bench, makes for a very contemporary look. Add in a vintage rug with green plants and it’s a winning formula for any hallway or entrance hall.

You can find more benches on Vinterior here

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LOOK TWO

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Antique sideboards fit neatly into smaller apartments

The best part about antique furniture is that it’s beautifully sized for smaller apartments in the city. Elegant sideboards fit neatly into tight corners and look incredibly chic in modern settings. A complimentary gilded mirror styled with pops of artwork and casual straw baskets below, creates a homely feel.

You can find more consoles on Vinterior here

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LOOK THREE

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Bar carts and small trolleys create moveable storage too

Bar carts and moveable trolleys are an excellent storage idea in tight corners. Easily moveable, they can create distinct areas and are often streamline enough to sit within smaller hallways. Best of all – they can often collapse and be put away when not needed.

You can find more bar carts on Vinterior here

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How Being On-Trend Might Just Be Out of Vogue?

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credit: Felix Matthies

Let’s assume you’ve read some interior design tips a couple of years ago, and figured out that an open floor concept is all the rage, so you’ve torn down the wall dividing your kitchen and living room. And when there, you’ve installed brand new trendy copper pendant light fixtures and displayed some cool quote artwork. Newsflash: everything indicates that open floor plans are outdated, quote artwork a cliché and copper so yesterday. What are you going to do, build that wall all over again? No, you will stick with what you love. If what you love is vintage design, then this is your lucky year. In fact, every year is your lucky year, since no fad can come even close to this timeless style.

Trends Are Subjective

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Image source: Dwell

Although interior design trends often emerge as a result of current happenings on a global level (e.g. organic furniture – global tendency towards eco-friendly production), they are sometimes the result of someone somewhere saying that one thing is “in” and the other “out”, with all due respect to professional designers and other industry experts. They might have their reasons for putting some fabric on the pedestal while banishing another, but they have never been in your house and thus do not know how something looks like in that space.

Timeless Is Better than Timely

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Photography: Erica Gannet, via Design Sponge

Some trends are simply not here to stay, and if you redecorate your entire home to be in accordance with them, you will waste a lot of money and time on something that will bore you and the rest of the world the following year. And then, there are others that resist the years, decades and centuries, continuing to fascinate us and finding new ways to compete with all the fads. Vintage, is of course, one of them. This design style is all about embracing diversity and history, collecting things such as antiques and flea market finds. It can be interpreted differently by different persons.

Your Home Is Your Reflection

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Photography & Styling by Sarah Sherman Samuel

It’s not only that designers are subjective, you are too, the only difference being that it is your home we’re talking about. Your home should reflect your personality, and it is a rather consistent thing that doesn’t change every season. Blindly following trends will only make you lose yourself in the process. If your home is really dated, try to refresh it while keeping some things that say who you are.

Still, Trendy Shouldn’t Be a Boogieman

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Image source: Dwell

Trends are not always bad, and most of the time, professionals from the industry really know what they’re talking about. You shouldn’t reject something only because it’s a trend, especially if it makes sense in a space. For example, blurred lines between the indoor and outdoor space are one of the hottest trends at this moment, but outdoor style furniture offers functionality and aesthetics within a home and glorifies nature as a timeless inspiration.

A Subtle Way to Keep Up with New Tendencies

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Image source: The Glitter Guide

If you have chosen a timeless interior design for your home, it has probably been aging gracefully, requiring no refreshments whatsoever. Still, any design style, no matter how perfect it may be, would benefit from occasional updates, just to shake things up a bit. When you want to add trendy pieces to your home, stick to the more affordable items, such as throws, cushions, vases, and other accessories. The best thing about vintage style is that it embraces travel as a main motif, so it accepts a lot of different items and builds an eclectic, yet harmonious space with them.

Investing in furnishing and overall design is no small undertaking. It is, therefore, wiser to dress up your home in evergreen pieces, because trends will come and go, and style will stay forever. Old doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, aren’t we looking at old Hollywood beauty with nostalgia today and always hoping for beautiful past days to return?

 

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