Unit One was a British avant-garde community of architects and fine artists were created by designer, artist, and teacher Paul Nash to encourage Modernism in art and architecture in England. Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, and Ben Nicholson were among the group’s most prominent members, as were the architects’ Wells Coates and Colin Lucas. Their thesis was exhibited at the Mayor Gallery in London in 1934. It was later published in a book edited by Herbert Read, a scholar, historian, and theorist.
“to stand for the expression of a truly contemporary spirit, for that thing which is recognised as peculiarly of today in painting, sculpture and architecture.”
Letter from Paul Nash to the The Times newspaper about Unit One
According to Nash, members of the group were linked by ‘the expression of a truly contemporary spirit which is recognised as peculiarly of today’. Unit One, published by Cassell in 1934, and Circle, published in 1937, were significant in promoting Modernism in Britain in the years leading up to WWII. Unit One’s original plans included design, as well as fine arts and architecture, but these were later dropped.
Unit One disbanded on 1934 as a result of a disagreement among its members over the nature of abstraction, however it marked an important moment in the history of modernism in Britain.
Dormer, P. (1999). The illustrated dictionary of twentieth century designers: the key personalities in design and the applied arts. Greenwich Ed.
Woodham, J. M. (2006). A dictionary of modern design. Oxford University Press.
You may also be interested in
Superstudio was an avant-garde architectural and design group that was closely linked to the Radical Design movement in Italy. Founded by Adolfo Natalini and Cristiano Toraldo di Francia in Florence in December 1966. Its members rejected the traditional relationship between the designer and the manufacturer, which meant that the former was subject to the latter’s dictates and thus constrained.
Original furniture by Rodney Kinsman available to buy online from OMK 1965. OMK Design is a British design group. It was established in 1966 by Rodney Kinsman, Jerzy Olejnik, Bryan Morrison. They all trained at the London Central School of Arts and Crafts. The group produced its furniture, including its 1969 T5 chair.