Oliver Percy Bernard

(1881—1939) architect and designer

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After a colourful adolescence working at sea, in the theatre, and scene painting, Bernard travelled to the United States in 1905. He found work as a scenic artist before working as technical director for the Boston Opera Company and as a resident scenic artist for the Grand Opera Syndicate at Covent Garden, London. After a period during the First World War working as a Camouflage Officer in the Royal Engineers and serving overseas he worked again in theatre design, designing the Ring Cycle for Sir Thomas Beecham at Covent Garden in 1921. He also became a consultant to the Board of Overseas Trade, working on many decorative designs and displays at the Wembley Empire Exhibition in London in 1924 and as technical director to the British Pavilion at the Paris Exposition des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels, 1925. His most significant role was perhaps that of consultant design director to the catering company of J. Lyons & Co. Heavily influenced by continental trends in the decorative arts, especially in their ornamental uses of new materials such as chromium plate, he designed the dramatic entrance of the Strand Palace Hotel, London, in 1929. Often using colourful, decorative motifs in conjunction with atmospheric indirect lighting, he designed a range of decorative interiors for several Lyons Corner House restaurants in London. From 1931 to 1932 he was also consultant designer to an offshoot of Ackles & Pollock, PEL (Practical Equipment Limited), which became one of the leading manufacturers of tubular steel furniture in Britain. He designed PEL's London showroom, also working on tubular steel furniture for Cox & Co.

From A Dictionary of Modern Design in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.

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