Works in the Woods by Robin Day

V&A Project

19 — 27 Sept 2015


Victoria & Albert Museum

Cromwell Road



To mark the centenary of Robin Day's birth, this exhibition celebrated him and the huge contribution his work has made to our everyday lives.

Although best known for his Polypropylene stacking chair, Robin Day grew up among the beech woods and timber furniture factories of High Wycombe, and retained a life-long love for wood as a material. As Paula Day, his daughter and founder of The Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation explained, “I think his use of wood is a neglected aspect of his work.” The exhibition, curated by Jane Withers and designed by Turner Prize nominees Assemble, explored Day’s innovative use of wood in his professional practice together with objects made for the family home and writings that revealed his deep attachment to nature and strong environmental concerns. Alongside Day’s famous designs, Paula Day made pieces from her personal collection available for the exhibition. Assemble‘s installation was a reflection on the forest as Day’s fundamental site of creative exploration. From the greenwood bows of Day’s childhood to his explorations in moulded plywood, this installation was a conduit for exploring the direct link between play and material innovation. A forest of timber blocks were used to display the objects and create a playful spatial landscape located outside the V&A’s Britain 1500-1900 Galleries. The exhibit formed the focus of ‘Day in London’ – a trail across the city joining the V&A, with the V&A Seminar programme and Case Furniture. The project was sponsored by The Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation, John Lewis and Benchmark and was supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.