Richard Young from G Plan to Merrow Associates

Richard Young from G Plan to Merrow Associates

Unfortunately little is yet known about many very talented Mid-Century British designers . Unlike their Danish counterparts their products didn’t come back in to fashion until many will have passed on or reached old age , so their later work and backgrounds are a mystery with a few notable exceptions .

Richard Young was born in 1930 so if he is still alive then he’s going to be in his late 80s . What is known is that he studied at the RCA under Ron Carter , who taught there part-time as well as running his own practice . Ron Carter 1926-2013 was a very understated and successful designer and thanks to Lesley Jackson you can read about him in her excellent book Modern British Furniture Design since 1945 . She also mentions Richard Young and notes that after the RCA he studied under the eminent¬† Danish professor and designer Ole Wanscher in Copenhagen .

At some point Richard Young came to work for G Plan who were the largest makers of British contemporary furniture from the mid 1950s to the late 1970s . He is known to have designed a number of ranges for G Plan between 1961 and 1963 , but none were commercial successes unfortunately . Probably his most notable design was for a Hans Wegner influenced 3 legged dining chair with matching table . We’ve seen it illustrated but as yet have never found seen it in the flesh .

The design we’ve seen most of and do get is his Young Ideas bedroom range which was designed c 1963 . We’ve recently bought a large set from the original owners who bought it in 1964 for their self-designed house in Pontefract . We’ve also bought some G Plan dining and living room pieces from the better known Danish Range designed by Ib Kofod Larsen at a similar date .

Richard Young’s designs for G Plan were mainly in light oak and as a junior in-house designer he won’t have been paid anywhere near as much as the internationally known Ib Kofod Larsen was paid for his role as a part-time designer . Certainly G Plan didn’t promote Richard Young’s designs in a big way and they’re rarely found in their catalogues . His G Plan designs unlike his later Merrow ones were very understated and were probably too modern for most British buyers , particularly for those buying mid-range pieces who would be more conservative than people with more money .

In 1964 Richard Young he co-founded Merrow Associates as a strange sister company to a company called W+W Development Design who specialised in Electronics and Nuclear power ! Merrow pieces with their luxurious and showy mix of mainly rosewood and chrome were aimed at the top end of the market , and the pieces we see are more 1970s in style so look to date either from the late 1960s to the mid 1970s . As yet nobody has recorded when Merrow Associates stopped making furniture , but like the other top-end maker Archie Shine which closed in 1976 the market will have declined considerably due to economic factors in the mid 1970s and a change in fashions in the later 1970s .

By 1980 Richard Young would have been 1950 with many years of work ahead of him so what did he do next ? It would be nice to think he may still be around to tell us , but like so many talented British designers of the era he seems to have disappeared from the radar ! A shame as he left a legacy of well designed furniture that still looks

Richard Young from G Plan to Merrow Associates

Richard Young from G Plan to Merrow Associates