365 Objects Of Design, March, Volume III

Formica® Inlay Tables

11th December 2014
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formica inlay tables from lucy turner

formica inlay tables from lucy turner

It’s Formica® but not as we know it. Last week I ran a post on the return of Anaglypta wallpaper and how it’s becoming cool again. Well judging by the reaction of some people you’d think I suggested a wholesale return to the 1970s General Strikes and all.

There were, in the interests of fairness, a number who loved the idea too. But anyway, the link’s up there if you want to read it and make up your own mind.

formica sideboards by lucy turner

formica sideboards

Today’s Object of Design is another blast from the past – Formica®. Shall I pause a minute while you all shake your heads and remember your Granny’s kitchens and do a small huff and puff at my Madness …

Done? Right then. Look at this lot. As I say, not the chipped and curling stuff you remember is it. This is Formica® marquetry as created by Lucy Turner who uses laser cutting to create her designs.

lucy turner formica tables

Lucy sells her designs in John Lewis

The beauty of Formica® is also that it doesn’t fade, won’t yellow (like paint) and is heat resistant so it doesn’t matter if Tarquin spills his juice or Aunty Flo puts her tea down Without Using A Coaster.


Last year a book came out celebrating 100 years of Formica®, which included an essay by Peter York on its cultural impact. Oh yes.  So I guess that, like Anaglypta, it’s time we re-embraced this practical, yet misunderstood, material.


Lucy says she has always loved Formica® and as a child would insist on going to a certain cafe because of the tables: “I have always loved greasy spoon cafes with their Formica® tables. I would always insist on going into a certain cafe when shopping with my mum in Bath because I loved the yellow Formica®.

“It’s such a great material. In the 60s it was quite a bit thicker and cold to the touch. Nowadays it is thinner so you can manipulate it around curved edge and it gives a clean fresh look.
formica inlay furniture from lucy turner

formica inlay furniture from lucy turner

“It’s available in an array of fantastic colours. It’s durable. It gives old furniture a new lease of life and exenuates the form and beauty of some of the old design classics like G plan, Nathan, etc. It is also made here in the UK.”
Lucy’s plans for Formica® don’t stop with revitalising old pieces. She’s planning to create some marquetry wall hangings too.
sideboard formica lucy turner

sideboard formica lucy turner


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  • steuart padwick 11th December 2014 at 8:50 am

    Some great pieces Lucy. After the utilitarian uses in the 50s and 60s these laminates had a phenominal boost in the early 80s with wonderfully mad Memphis designs by Ettore Sottsass https://www.google.com/search?q=memphis+furniture&client=safari&rls=en&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=-FmJVK-aD6GL7Abm34HwCA&ved=0CAgQ_AUoAQ&biw=1264&bih=795

    It was the punk of furniture, as a refreshing contrast to some of the over perfect and over refined Italian furniture in the 70s.

  • Harriet 11th December 2014 at 8:10 am

    Ooh, I have seen these before and I absolutely love them. One day, I will have the geometric sideboard. Love, love, love.

  • Tess 5th March 2014 at 5:06 pm

    Looking so fresh and lovely- well done Lucy ,I love the coral/ blue colourways- nice work.

  • James Dawson 3rd March 2014 at 2:54 pm

    Hi Kate, you may also like to check out the use of our bespoke printed laminate solution at William Morris Gallery (doors and washrooms), Union Jacks restaurants (tables) and Deli Comptoir Libanais (shop fittings and counters) to name a few in the London area alone…

    We’re really trying to evolve the product into the 21st century with modern applications and designs, it’s great having customers like Lucy aiding us with the drive to change the historic perception of our materials and help us continue to grow into our 2nd century of existence as a company!

    Thank you for your positive comments on the evolution of Formica products!

  • Diane 2nd March 2014 at 8:46 pm

    Love it, laser cutting is the perfect of handling formice, well done Lucy!

  • Ann Simmonds 2nd March 2014 at 5:57 pm

    Lovely pieces…. Great way to add impact to a room. Have already been on Lucy’s website !!

  • Lianne 2nd March 2014 at 10:26 am

    lovely pieces, very inspiring!

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