On 22 March the BFI releases The COI Collection: Design for Today, the second volume in a new DVD series of rare and fascinating historical documentary films made by the Central Office of Information.
With the majority of them previously unseen on DVD, these films provide a enjoyable glimpse into times gone by.
Disc one in this two-disc set focuses on architecture, household design and industrial design. Highlights include: Designing Women (1948) in which Joyce Grenfell takes us through the dos and don’ts of home furnishing; Brief City (1952), modernist architecture and design on show at the Festival of Britain; Design for Today (1965), Hugh Hudson’s day-in-the-life of British design, and Peter Greenaway’s Insight: Terence Conran (1981), showing Conran at the height of his success.
Two films feature specially-commissioned scores by electronic pop band Saint Etienne. They give Designed in Britain (1959) and Design for Today a contemporary music make-over. Both films, with original scores, are included.
Disc two looks at fashion, from miniskirts to Savile Row tailoring. Among the films are Insight: Zandra Rhodes (1981), in which Peter Greenaway and Michael Nyman team up in an early collaboration, and The Pacemakers: Biba (1970), a look at the work of Barbara Hulanicki. Also included are two fun and exuberant short pieces about 60s and 70s style – Miniskirts Make Money (1968) and The Country Look (1971).