An oft maligned material, with undeserved links to tackiness and cheapness, plastic is actually a wonderfully adaptable material that has played a massive part in design history. The explosion of creativeness that was the 1960’s saw this new an seemingly limitless material inspire the great designers of the day to create some of the most iconic pieces of furniture the world has seen. Without plastic designers such as Joe Columbo, Verner Panton and Eero Aarnio would perhaps have remained relative unknowns. Timeless pieces of work that defined the era such as Aarnio’s globe chair, or the Panton chair would not exist. Whether you know these names or not, chances are you and somebody from every generation of your family will own either pieces by such designers or pieces directly inspired by them, such is the measure of their influence.
If used correctly, plastic is the most effective way of achieving the increasingly popular “modern retro” look that is shaping contemporary design at the moment. For those fearing a themed look, do not fear, you will not be asked to roll on the psychedelic print wallpaper and don a feathered headband. The trick is to subtly accent your existing modern room with a key plastic piece that gives a knowing nod to past times. A very popular example of this can be seen in most design magazines at the minute where an eclectic dining set up of either a battered old farmhouse table or an ultra minimal lacquered white dining table is matched with a set of brightly coloured plastic Panton chairs. The single piece of ergonomically moulded plastic and signature bright colour that makes up each chair provides an extremely satisfying contrast to the tables described.
A single seater chair to match your existing settees is also a brilliant way to introduce a level of retro cool in your home. Or perhaps a tulip dining or coffee table. Circular in shape standing on one hour glass shaped leg; a tulip table is a very chic way to introduce plastic into the home. Create stunning contrast by adding some ultra luxurious faux fur rugs or throws.
If this all feels a little to adventurous but you would like to add a retro theme a smaller stage, why not use clocks or lamps which were often used muses for the designers of the period. Most good home design shops will stock a wide range of remakes of the Citra clock by Gino Valle. Not a commonly known name, his clocks however are widely copied, usually coming in the shape of a plastic tube which contains a flick book style display. Before you hit the shops an shell out for an albeit very convincing remake, why not have a root through an elderly relatives unwanted knick-knacks or have a sift through some second hand stores- extra kudos is gained through having original pieces, and should you decide to redecorate someday, you may stand a chance of making a little bit of unexpected extra cash rather than the usual visit to the tip!
From now on, when the uninitiated make the mistake of dismissing plastic as nothing more than something your loaf is wrapped in, invite them around to your uber cool pad and allow them to admit how wrong they have been.