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The Seventies Are Back, Baby!

Interiors

If you love indoor plants, wood panelling and pampas grass in interiors right now, then guess what? You’re in the midst of a Seventies revival!

Ok, so we know what you’re thinking, that the 1970s is known as the ‘decade that style forgot’ and yes, there were some ‘fun’ ideas going on. But, after years of pared-back discipline with a focus on function in the mid-century design movement, the 1970s was a decade of excess and over-the-top interiors!

Self-expression in interiors came in the form of bold colours, patterns, reflective surfaces and of course shag pile carpet, and all at once in most cases!  This time around, we think it’s best to just select a few key elements, to channel that chilled-out 1970s vibe… with slightly more timeless appeal!

As our columnist, interior designer Lauren Li, sees it, there were two movements going on: the bright pop colours and also a more muted, ‘hippie’ trend. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

11th July, 2018

The low, chunky sculptural furniture of the 1970s facilitated some serious lounging. Interior of Freshwater Apartment by Olivia Bossy. Photo – Tom Ross.

Key designs from Sarah Ellison’s furniture line, ‘A New Wave’.  Photo – courtesy of Sarah Ellison.

Lounge Low

They really knew how to relax in the 1970s, and the low, chunky sculptural furniture facilitated some serious lounging.

There has been a recent resurgence of sofas that were designed in the 1970s, such as TOGO by Ligne Roset, DS-600  Sofa by de Sede and Sesann Lounge by Gianfranco Frattini, which don’t have legs, instead sit low to the floor. Furniture of the era is soft, marshmallowy, curved and all about comfort.

The 1970s continued to see a love of nature translated to interiors. Photo – Nicole Franzen.

Cane bedhead by Amber Road Design. Photo – Lisa Cohen.

Modern macrame. Photo – Nicole Franzen.

A contemporary twist on timber wall panelling. Photo – Nicole Franzen.

Back To Nature

After the psychedelic ‘flower power’ of the 1960s, the 1970s continued to see a love of nature translated to interiors.  Right now, we’re loving bringing these natural materials back into the home again.

Rattan, cane and bamboo are materials that were used in abundance in the 70s for chairs, plant stands, coffee tables and of course in seating (remember the peacock chair!?).  Today, the love affair with these textural materials has had a resurgence, though in a slightly more restrained and elegant way.

Timber wall panelling was so popular in the 70s – even the family station wagon got the wood panel treatment!  The appeal of timber is eternal (though thankfully isn’t usually seen cars in anymore), and we’re seeing so many examples of timber panelling used to add warmth and interest to contemporary interiors.

Beautiful brick walls interior shot of project by Clare Cousins Architects. Photo – Lisbeth Grosmann.

Exposed Brick

After years of plastering over exposed brick walls, we’re now seeing some beautiful brick walls in houses again! This time, the bricks are not dark and chunky, instead, we’re seeing a huge variety of bricks on offer, in various shades and dimensions, giving rise to softer and more refined brick interiors.

Sunken lounge in project by Junctions 90. Photo – Christine Francis.

Open Plan

One of my favourite features of 1970s living are the fabulous floor plans.  Open plan living really took off in the mainstream at this time and was a big step away from a house made up of separate rooms off a hallway.

Residential architecture in the 1970s featured large windows, split levels, a great flow, rumpus rooms and of course the sunken lounge.  The whole family could gather ‘round on the lounge, or lie on the orange shag pile, and spin The Carpenters on the Pioneer.

Pop & Scott’s Byron showroom. Photo – courtesy of Pampa.

Modern macrame. Photo – Nicole Franzen.

Wall Textiles and Macrame

Decorative hanging textiles were hugely popular in the 1970s. Today, modern macramé and woven wall hangings are enjoying seemingly endless popularity in contemporary Australian interiors. There are so many local makers working in this space –Maryanne Moodie, Crossing Threads and Tammy Kanat to name a few.

Table from Dust Merchants. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

The 1970s inspired ‘Jay Table’ from Sarah Ellison. Photo – courtesy of Sarah Ellison.Photo – courtesy of Sarah Ellison.

Terrazzo

If you have been living under a rock for the past few years, I’m here to tell you that Terrazzo is BIG! If you’re not game to introduce terrazzo in a permanent way on floors, and kitchen surfaces, consider a Terrazzo coffee table (we like this one by Sarah Ellison), side tables (we love Dust Merchants‘ quirky handmade side tables), or Terrazzo-inspired plant vessels by Capra.

The Peninsula House, by SJB, designer Andrew Parr. Photo – Nicole England.

More than just a little Pop of Colour

Interior design was an exciting time in the 70s. There was A LOT of pattern and colour all at once. It was layered, colourful and free!  And probably a little over the top, but hey, if bright red laminate benchtops were good enough for the Brady Bunch, then they were good enough for us!

 

These Walls wallpaper. Photo – Kate Holmes.

The Design Files Open House 2017 homebar by Gordon Johnson, featuring Terrazzo from Signiorino. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Wallpaper

The 1970s was a decade where wallpaper was used with great enthusiasm. Every room was covered in a patterned wallpaper, and every room had a different pattern, which was sometimes combined with contrasting patterned curtain fabric and patterned carpet. It’s thanks to the 70s that we are very frightened of wallpaper, and we should be. Some of the patterns used were just horrific. However, PLEASE don’t disregard wallpaper as there are so many stunning patterns available now, and they add so much personality to a space.

Built in bar

As well the kinds of parties where you’d throw your keys in a bowl (!), the 70s are known for built-in-bars in the home. Why did this trend ever die? What a fabulous idea to have a fully-stocked bar in your lounge room to get the party started. Flack Studio have incorporated glamorous bars in their interiors, I’ll drink to that!

This has got me thinking about why we find the 1970s so appealing? Do we feel nostalgic for a time when we were young (or our parents were young), without social media, without the internet? Instead of playing on the iPad, and scheduled activities, kids played with things like yo-yos and matchbox cars.

Before the endless choice of music on demand from Spotify, and back to a time when we saved our money to buy a record that we listened to on repeat and really LOVED (through  And some seriously HUGE speakers). The 1970s were all about entertaining, enjoying the company of family and friends, and homes were designed to encourage that interaction.

Suddenly the Seventies revival seems infinitely appealing!

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net