150 years of John Lewis

To mark the 150th anniversary of the opening of the first John Lewis store, the Design Museum his holding an exhibition of key products sold by the retailer.

SK 1 radio, 1955. Designed by Artur Braun and Dr Fritz Eichler. Manufactured by Braun A.G.
SK 1 radio, 1955. Designed by Artur Braun and Dr Fritz Eichler. Manufactured by Braun A.G.

The first John Lewis department store opened on London’s Oxford Street in 1864 and since then the retailer has sold products from washing machines to radios and clothes to kitchen utensils.

Phonosuper SK 5 record player, 1956. Designed by Hans Gugelot (1920-1965) and Dieter Rams (1932-). Manufactured by Braun A.G.
Phonosuper SK 5 record player, 1956. Designed by Hans Gugelot (1920-1965) and Dieter Rams (1932-). Manufactured by Braun A.G.

The Design Musuem exhibition will showcase more than 100 products sold by John Lewis over the past century, including works by Dieter Rams and Philippe Starck.

Jim Nature Portable Television, 1994. Designed by Philippe Starck (1949-). Manufactured by Thompson Consumer Electronics for Saba
Jim Nature Portable Television, 1994. Designed by Philippe Starck (1949-). Manufactured by Thompson Consumer Electronics for Saba

The show is divided into four sections. Design Archetypes tells the story of everyday objects such as sewing machines and teapots, showcasing ‘the huge amount of effort that goes into creating these deceptively simple objects’.

Hoover 'Junior' 370, 1935
Hoover ‘Junior’ 370, 1935

The Keeping House section focuses on the ‘domestic revolution’ that saw products developed to take on chores such as washing, cooking and cleaning.

Hoover Dustette 100, circa 1930
Hoover Dustette 100, circa 1930

Choice by Design highlights the many different decisions that a consumer makes between entering the shop and taking their chosen item to the till. The museum says, ‘Colour, shape, material and style are all considered, along with more complex notions of status and self-expression.’

TRK-W555W cassette player, 1988. Manufactured by Hitachi
TRK-W555W cassette player, 1988. Manufactured by Hitachi

Finally, the Evolution of a Product Type section uses the transformation of home audio equipment to demonstrate how changes at the cutting-edge of technology translate to consumer goods.

Ecko AD 65 radio, 1934. Designed by Wells Caotes. Manufactured by E.K. Cole Ltd
Ecko AD 65 radio, 1934. Designed by Wells Coates. Manufactured by E.K. Cole Ltd

John Lewis: How We Live Today, is at the Design Museum, 28 Shad Thames, London SE1, from 8-21 September.

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