The 1970s was a decade of significant change and experimentation in interior design. The counterculture movement of the 1960s, along with a growing interest in environmentalism and social responsibility, had a significant impact on the decoration style of the era.
One of the most notable trends in decoration during the 1970s was the use of bold, vibrant colors. The color palette of the decade was heavily influenced by the psychedelic art and fashion of the 1960s, and featured a wide range of bright, bold hues such as orange, yellow, and green. These colors were often used in combination with natural wood finishes, such as pine or oak, to create a warm and inviting atmosphere.
Another important trend in decoration during the 1970s was the use of natural materials and textures. The environmental movement of the era led to a greater emphasis on sustainability and the use of natural materials, such as wood, stone, and plants. This trend was reflected in the use of natural fibers, such as cotton and linen, in textiles and upholstery, as well as the use of natural wood finishes and plants in decor.
Furniture design during the 1970s was heavily influenced by the counterculture movement and the desire for a more relaxed and informal lifestyle. Sofa and chair designs were often made of soft, comfortable materials such as leather and velvet, and were designed to be relaxed and casual. Furniture was also designed to be multi-functional, with many pieces, such as tables and desks, having built-in storage or being able to serve multiple purposes.
In terms of shapes, the 1970s saw the rise of organic and sculptural forms, with furniture and decor often featuring curved, flowing lines and irregular shapes. This was in contrast to the clean, geometric forms of the 1950s and 1960s, and reflected a desire for a more relaxed and informal style. Additionally, the influence of the cultural movement and the interest in ethnic motifs and textiles brought an influx of shapes, patterns, and colors from different parts of the world.
Accessories and decor during the 1970s were often influenced by popular culture, with many homes featuring decorative items such as macrame wall hangings, woven textiles, and pottery. The use of plants and natural materials was also popular, with many homes featuring indoor gardens and natural wood finishes.
The kitchen was also an important room in the home during the 1970s, and it was often decorated in a bright and cheerful style. The kitchen was designed to be a functional and efficient space, with the latest appliances and gadgets such as refrigerators, dishwashers, and electric stoves. The influence of the environmental movement led to a greater emphasis on sustainability, and many kitchens featured natural wood finishes and plants.
In the world of furniture and interior design, there were several prominent designers during the 1970s who left their mark on the era. Here are a few notable examples:
Ettore Sottsass - Born in Austria in 1917, Sottsass was an Italian architect and designer who played a pivotal role in the Memphis Group, a design collective known for their bold and colorful postmodern designs. One of his most iconic pieces was the Carlton bookcase, designed in 1981 for Memphis, which features a striking zigzag shape and bright colors.
Verner Panton - Panton was a Danish designer known for his avant-garde, futuristic designs. He was born in 1926 in Gamtofte, Denmark and studied architecture at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. Panton is best known for his iconic designs in the 1960s and 1970s, many of which have become classics of Danish design. One of Panton's most famous designs is the Panton Chair, which was designed in 1960 and is considered one of the first mass-produced chairs to be made entirely out of plastic.
Joe Colombo - Born in Milan in 1930, Colombo was an Italian designer and architect known for his innovative and futuristic designs. He was a pioneer in modular furniture design and developed several iconic pieces, including the Elda chair, a futuristic armchair that resembles a spaceship, and the Tube chair, a modular seating system that can be arranged in a variety of configurations.
Gaetano Pesce - Pesce is an Italian architect and designer known for his organic, sculptural designs. He was born in 1939 in La Spezia, Italy and studied architecture at the University of Venice. One of his most famous pieces is the Up series of chairs, which were designed in 1969 and feature a unique, amoeba-like shape. The chairs are made from polyurethane foam and are available in a range of bright colors.
George Nelson - Nelson was an American industrial designer who played a significant role in shaping mid-century modern design. He was born in 1908 in Hartford, Connecticut and studied architecture at Yale University. He went on to become the design director for Herman Miller, where he developed several iconic pieces, including the Marshmallow Sofa and the Bubble Lamp, which are still in production today.
Many of these designers' most popular objects from the 1970s are still available for purchase today, either as vintage pieces or as reproductions. The Carlton bookcase by Ettore Sottsass is still produced by Memphis, and the Panton Chair by Verner Panton is still produced by Vitra. The Elda chair by Joe Colombo is available through Italian furniture manufacturer B-Line, and the Up series by Gaetano Pesce can be found through the Italian design firm B&B Italia. The Bubble Lamp by George Nelson is still in production by Herman Miller, along with many other mid-century modern classics.
During the 1970s, people were spending an average of 5-8% of their income on home decor and furniture, which was a significant increase from previous decades. The popularity of home decorating and the desire for unique, personalized spaces were a driving force behind this trend. While the 1980s saw a shift towards more minimalistic and sleek designs, the colorful, organic designs of the 1970s continue to inspire designers and decorators today.