An introduction to retro design

We all hear the term ‘retro’ bandied about but could we articulate it if someone asked us? Most of us would probably know a retro picture of piece of retro furniture when we saw it but what makes it retro? If you were to look in the dictionary it would tell us that retro is a style which is culturally outdated but widely used today.  It is usually a word that is used to describe clothes or furniture that imitate a style used in the not-so distant past. Anything that imitates styles from 1950’s right up to the 1980’s could be called retro. It is a word that is closely associated with the nostalgic trends of mid to late 1900’s and there are some iconic pieces of décor that epitomise the retro style.

Lava Lamps

The iconic lava lamp was first seen in 1965. It got its name thanks to the brightly coloured lava like blobs that float around inside the lamp in a very mesmerising way. These lamps are closely associated with the hippie culture of this era when life was about being bright and free. The freedom of the liquid inside the lamp is supposed to be symbolic of this.


 Ball Chairs

There circular pod like chairs were extremely futuristic at the time of release.
The first one was presented at the Cologne international furniture fair with great excitement. 1960’s professionals flocked to buy this ‘home within a home’ to wow their families and friends with their cutting edge design taste.

Panton Chairs

Another very innovative chair was the Panton.  Verner Panton, a Danish designer, released these flowing plastic chairs in the 1960’s. Plastic was a fairly new material at this time and he wanted to push the boundaries of what had been achieved with it so far. As well as being known for his modern and innovative use of materials and shape he was famous for his daring colour choices.