Footstool from the Windsor collection
Ercolani's Windsor collection was first unveiled at the Britain Can Make It exhibition in 1946, which was simultaneously lauded and criticised for happening at a time when post-war austerity measures were still in place. His designs, along with many others on show there, represented a shift from chunky pre-war designs towards sleek and sustainable stronger furniture, with emphasis placed on using less timber and other raw materials. Ercolani lead technological developments of mass steam-bending processes throughout the Second World War, which for the first time allowed greater design choices for mass-produced and low-cost furniture. The Windsor collection has become synonymous with Ercol design, and was re-launched as part of the originals collection in 2003.
Lucian R Ercolani (1888 - 1976) migrated from Tuscany to Shoreditch, which was at that time a hub of furniture manufacture, with his family in 1898. His father, Abdon Ercolani, a pictureframe maker, migrated to London, England, in search of work, and in 1898 was joined by his family. He was educated by the Salvation Army and in 1910 moved to High Wycombe, dubbed the furniture capital of England, on the invitation of Frederick Parker (later of Parker Knoll). He became part of Furniture Industries consortium there in 1920, which went on to become ercol. In 1964 he was awarded an OBE for services to UK design and manufacturing; he was also a founder member of the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers guild, which posthumously awarded him the Design Guild Mark in 2010 for the ercol Originals collection.
Ercol gained significant recognition through its war efforts to mass-produce sustainable furniture, fulfilling an order of 100,000 chairs issued by the government Board of Trade in 1944, which helped develop technologies used for the Windsor collection. It continues to be an environmentally aware company, heating its current premises in Princes Riseborough (Buckinghamshire) with wood waste and using only water-based stains and lacquers. From the 1960's, ercol has maintained a strong relationship with Japanese retailers and customers.