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Back to Black

Classic furniture maker Ercol has found new ground by going to the dark side

The old adage ‘what goes around, comes around’ couldn’t be more true for the veteran British furniture maker Ercol. Still around after more than 80 years, the company continues to hold true to its ethos of making furniture to order – nothing is sold off the shelf – and after a few years floundering in the interiors wilderness, it’s back on the radar thanks to a canny reissue of one of its original ranges.

Founder Lucian Ercolani set up shop in High Wycombe in 1920, after training as a furniture designer with British manufacturer E Gomme, makers of ‘G-Plan’. The next few years were spent perfecting his craft, but it wasn’t until the 1950s that his unfussy, wooden furniture came into it’s own. The ‘Windsor’ range was exhibited at The Festival of Britain in 1951. Post-war families flocked to refurnish their homes with the affordable but well made furniture, and the brand stayed at the top of its game right through to the 1970s, when people who wanted to invest in good furniture but who could maybe not afford Habitat or G Plan’s prices, turned instead to Ercol.

While Ercol has never gone away, it did slip out of fashion. Now that has all changed thanks to the reissue of the ‘Ercol Originals’ in black. The range includes the ‘Butterfly’ dining chair (£425), a nest of tables (£525) and a ‘Love Seat’ (£625), and showcases the company’s classic simple design finished in black lacquer.
Ercol continues to innovate with an eco-friendly philosophy to reuse and recycle: it offers a ‘reCover’ service where you can have an old piece of Ercol furniture reupholstered to give it a new look, and at Ercol HQ waste wood is used to fuel hot water and heating.

Good for the environment and fashionable to boot. Time for another old adage: black is the new black.

Where to shop:

Heal’s will be stocking the ‘Ercol Originals in Black’ range – check out www.heals.co.uk
The Ercol Factory Outlet sells a range of ex-display models and factory seconds – for the address and opening times visit www.ercol.com
For second hand Ercol furniture try your luck at Preloved.co.uk – the site has regular posts from people looking to sell a variety of classic Ercol pieces