John and Sylvia Reid designs re-issued

A Yorkshire manufacturer is making furniture by John and Sylvia Reid. Sharon Dale reports.

The Stag S range of furniture designed by husband and wife partnership John and Sylvia Reid in the 1960s is among the most sought-after of British mid-century modern classics.

It sparks bidding wars on eBay thanks to its retro good looks, the nostalgia it evokes and its brilliant functionality.

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For those who have bid and lost, there is exciting news. Thirteen pieces from the range have just been re-issued by a Yorkshire manufacturer and the launch is taking place at the Clerkenwell Design Week in London, which runs until May 24.

The venture was a joint effort between John and Sylvia's son, Dominic Reid, and Nicholas Radford, MD of Yorkshire-based Nathan Furniture, who is son of the original S range manufacturer.

Nicholas, who lives near Leyburn, says: “Way ahead of its time, the S-Range looks as stylish and cutting edge today as it did then. It is our aim that this re-issue will promote a re-discovery and renewed appreciation for John and Sylvia's work.

“The S-Range has stood the test of time. It is an irony that the popularity of the Reid designs has remained relevant and sought after, yet their name and contribution to the British modernist design canon remains largely unrecognised. Dominic contacted me to propose the idea of a re-issue at exactly the same time I had been thinking over the idea due to the current interest and market for mid-century items.”

Sylvia, who is now in her 90s, sanctioned the revival. She and John gained valuable experience working for influential British designer Robin Day and furniture manufacturer Hille in the early 1950s.

Pioneers of the modernist movement, they later enjoyed a 10-year partnership with Stag between 1952 and 1962. It brought their furniture to the masses and the masses, desperate to shake off the conventions of the past, loved it. Their inaugural collection, the C-Range, comprised of bedroom furniture and achieved great commercial success in the mid-1950s.

The S-Range, launched in 1960, was their first dining and living room collection and the Council of Industrial Design described it as “one of the outstanding furniture ranges of the year”.

Original and brave, it was made between 1960 and 1963 and combined the use of wood and steel. Prices for the re-issued pieces range from £1,950 for the two-seater sofa and £1,850 for the sideboard to £449 for the S230 dining chair.

*For more details on the new S range, visit www.johnandsylviareid.com

* John and Sylvia Reid met when studying at the Regent Street Polytechnic School of Architecture in London at the beginning of the Second World War.They formed a relationship which was to sustain them through a fruitful and prolific design partnership until John's death in 1992.

Three Milan Triennale medals and four Design Council awards testify to their talent and range of architectural and industrial designs.

Sylvia, who is in her 90s, now lives in Cornwall.