Traditionally British people have tended to look outside their own country when it comes to fashion, food, furniture, architecture and so on. We first drew inspiration from Continental Europe, the Italian Renaissance, and the decadence of the French Aristocracy, before moving on to the Exotic beauty of Asia, Arabia and the Far East. The British have always been fascinated and enthralled by exotic goods from other lands and cultures. This is still the case in the modern day, and it is no surprise that the main purveyor of style in the modern world should be the one that birthed the concept: Italy.
Milan seems to be the centre of not only fashion, but also furniture design. Indeed, the Milan Furniture Fair: Salone Internazionale del Mobile di Milano is the largest furniture trade fair in the world. Launched in 1961, it was originally intended as a platform from which to showcase and celebrate strictly Italian furniture. Now in its 50th year, the Milan Furniture Fair is naturally considered to be one of the best venues for furniture designers to display their new products.
However, these days, it would be wrong to talk about furniture without mentioning Scandinavian design. Furniture from Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland has taken the world by storm in the last couple of decades. The straight lines, gentle curves and asymmetrical design have proven not only extremely popular with consumers, but also very influential on furniture design in general. The most famous Scandinavian furniture outlet, IKEA, has become a global behemoth sprawling across many countries and continents. However, it is easy to get tired of the same neat squares and lines that pervade almost every design of the shop.
Although it may sound like Scandinavia holds a monopoly in the world of furniture, their grip is not as strong as you might believe. There are other, smaller design companies in the world, often more specialised, producing items of greater quality, because they focus on just one kind of furniture. Classic British designs such as G Plan sofas are one such type of furniture. Launched in 1953 by Donald Gomme, the roots of this company actually trace back to 1898 when Donald’s grandfather, Ebenezer Gomme, established his first furniture factory. G Plan has since become one of the UK’s largest upholstery manufacturer’s.
Their furniture was originally and successfully advertised as a breath of fresh air from the “clumsy old-fashioned 3-piece suite”, and today G Plan are going back to their roots with G Plan Vintage – collaboration with Hemingway Design. These gorgeous pieces will show a different side to the furniture world that is currently dominated by soulless flat packs.