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Everyone has a different idea about what makes a design good, but in the current unstable economic climate there is one thing everyone agrees on - good design is essential if your interiors are going to maintain their sophistication over time.

For me, good design is apparent in pieces which have maintained their popularity throughout changes in public opinion, fashion and taste. Items that were popular decades ago and still look great now have a real "X factor" that signifies iconic design.

One of my favourite suppliers, Alessi, is currently celebrating design through the decades with a great promotion. The company is comparing its leading items from the 50s, 60s and 70s with those on offer today, and for a limited time both the old and new styles will be available to consumers. In each month from July until September, Alessi will focus on a different decade.

Starting in July they will release 1950s Alessi items alongside their 21st century equivalents.

My favourite comparison between the 50s and now is the 2004 Blow Up Citrus Basket, a truly modern yet sleek piece of artistic houseware, compared with the 1952 Citrus Basket which offers a more traditional shape, with clean, smooth lines. The 1960s will be compared with the present in store in August, with items such as a 1962 Stainless Steel Citrus Squeezer with its curved minimalist looks typical of the times, available alongside the bright 2001 Mr Mandarin citrus squeezer in coloured plastic.

While it is great fun to look back and reminisce about the styles we loved years ago, it is also clear to see that, while fashions have changed and new materials are being used, fundamentally excellent design throughout the 50s, 60s and 70s means we still appreciate and enjoy the results today.

It will be interesting to see whether the 21st century designs or those of earlier decades turn out to be most popular.

Maskreys has outlets in Cardiff and Newport. For details visit or contact 029 2022 9371.

1. Choose between 21st century abstract or fifties formal with these fruit baskets, from pounds 61

2. Playful modernity meets classic design with these lemon squeezers, starting at pounds 19

3. Add some spice with this 70s condiment set, from pounds 21

Maskreys has outlets in Cardiff and Newport. For details or contact 029 2022 9371
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Copyright 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jul 26, 2008
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