During the research stage of the project, I will be visiting archives at the Victoria & Albert Museum, RIBA Archive and Whitworth Art Gallery and Museum, Manchester archive to explore items related to 1930s seaside moderne architecture and related 1930s interior design.
RIBA Library Archive, London
At the RIBA archive in London, I will be investigating examples of plans, drawings and notes made by Oliver Hill for the design of The Midland Hotel in Morecambe, and documents relating to Joseph’s Emberton’s design for the Blackpool Casino and Pleasure Beach. Unfortunately, no documents relating to the other architectural examples I am looking at in North West England and Scotland are held within the RIBA archive.
‘Morning’ mural (1933) by Eric Ravilious at The Midland Hotel, Morecambe (recently repainted and altered).
Clothworker’s Centre, Blythe House, Victoria and Albert Museum
At the Clothworker’s Centre, which houses the textile and fashion archive of the Victoria and Albert Museum, I will be looking at examples of interior design by celebrated interior designers in the 1930s; Marion Dorn and Eileen Hunter.
Marion Dorn was commissioned to design the carpets for the Midland Hotel in Morecambe by the architect Oliver Hill. The carpet in the entrance foyer shows two interlocking waves, as Morecambe bay has tides entering from both the left and right hand side. She also designed the Seahorse mosaic in the entrance, which was recreated on the hotels crockery, table and bed linen.
Predominantly a textile designer, Dorn was born in America, and her career took off significantly when she moved to the United Kingdom in the 1920s. After some her designs were featured in Vogue in 1925, she went onto have a successful career collaborating with influential architects, designing interiors for iconic buildings such as Claridge’s hotel, Savoy Hotel, the New York skyscraper The Orion and the RMS Queen Mary Ocean Liner.
Elieen Hunter was another female textile designer who had great commercial success in the 1930s. She was self taught, and set up her own textile design and printing business in the mid war years, running Eileen Hunter Fabrics from Grafton Street in London between 1930-1939. A champion of bright colours and pattern, she designed for many prestigious clients including Fortnum and Mason, the London department store. Many of her designs, featured coastal motifs, such as ‘Ships;Boats’ print on glazed cotton below.
Textile and Wallpaper archive, Whitworth Museum and Art Gallery, Manchester
I will also be exploring examples of interior textiles design from the 1930s from Marian Mahler, Otti Berger, Marion Dorn, Gunta Stolzl (the Bauhaus) and Lucienne Day, in the Textile and Wallpaper archive at the Whitworth Museum and Art Gallery.
Otti Berger was a Croatian born textile designer who was trained in the famous Bauhaus school under Gunta Stolzl, the Head of the Weaving Workshop, and subsequently took over from her when Stolzl left. After this, she set up her own textile design company in the 1930s, which provided innovate geometric interior textiles. She had to leave Germany for Croatia, when the World War Two, as she was Jewish. She was sadly deported to Auschwitz in spring 1944, and died there.
Gunta Stolzl was a German weaving designer, who was a student of the Bauhaus in the 1920s, and later took over to become an influential role in the teaching of textiles within the school. After the closure of the Bauhaus from the Nazi government in the early 1930s, she carried on hand weaving colourful and geometric textiles for clients such as Cinema Urban in Zurich and the Swiss Pavilion in Lyon. She lived until the 1980s in Switzerland, but ceased designing in the 1960s.
Marian Mahler was an Austrian born designer, who emigrated to the United Kingdom in the late 1930s. She was a very influential interior textile designer from the late 1930s – 1950s within the United Kingdom, and particularly came into prominance post war, along with Lucienne Day.
Lucienne Day was a British Textile designer, whose career began in the late 1930s as a student at the Royal College of Art, and spanned over 50 years. Her printed textile designs came to public prominence in the post war years, when she designed for influential mass producers such as Sanderson and Heal’s, in a surge of abstract colour and vitality. Her textile designs were informed by European abstract art, such as Miro and Kandinsky, and her forms focused on nature and plant forms. She was married to the famous furniture designer, Robin Day.