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Serge Chermayeff was one of the major figures of modernist architecture and design in this country and the USA. More than most modernists in Britain, he understood the need to adapt the revolutionary ideas of the continent to the tastes and requirements of a different society.
Upholding the ideals of the Arts and Crafts movement, Chermayeff saw domestic interiors as the origin of good architecture, where reason, order and light would be matched by harmonious colour and good workmanship. In his teaching and writing, culminating in the book, Community and Privacy, 1963, he extended the principles he brought to domestic design to the planning of cities.
Taking the theme of the private house and its interior, the exhibition explores Chermayeff’s diverse output as a designer, teacher and writer. The development of his ideas is traced through his own houses, notably Bentley Wood in Sussex, which he built in 1937-38 and which immediately became the most admired house in Britain. The exhibition includes furniture he designed and also traces his relationship with artists such as Moore, Nicholson and Piper during the ’30s, and his collaboration with Erich Mendelsohn on the De La Warr Pavilion at Bexhill.