Post-war design

From mid-century modernism to the swinging sixties through to the edgy, subversive seventies, British design post-1945 became an antidote to the sombre ethos of wartime, as designers found creative solutions to transform a nation still dealing with austerity and rationing.

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In the decades following the Second World War (1939 – 45), high-profile events such as the 1948 London Olympics and the 1951 Festival of Britain helped to relaunch Britain, spurred on by designers like Ernest Race, Abram Games and Robin and Lucienne Day. The boom in mass-produced consumer goods, the advent of pop and punk, and space-age anxieties left their mark on everything from clothing to homewares, changing the shape of British design indefinitely.

Collection highlights

Features

Background image: Festival of Britain (detail), poster, Abram Games, 1951, UK. Museum no. E.311-2011. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London