Myself, Claire and Nicola are off to Milan today to run an event for the Bureau of European Design Associations. This got me thinking . . . what are my favourite classic pieces of design?
Of course there’s so much to choose from, so I gave myself the question – What would I feel really super-satisfied with having designed?
In the 1990’s I did a lot of global travelling, particularly in the tropics, and time and again I saw the ubiquity of two design classics:
My runner-up is corrugated iron. We may not see so much of it in the UK these days, other than in sheds and elderly roofs, but all over the world this is a crucial material and many, many people have shelter because of it. In Australia, it’s still a bit of a hero. Of course the corrugation process is now applied to all sorts of material – and although it’s a thing we might not have given a second thought – someone had to design it, and that someone was a Brit in the 1820’s, Henry Robinson Palmer. So thank you, Henry.
My winner, though, are flip-flops. It’s a bit harder to attribute these, with the thinking being that they originate in ancient Egypt, and the modern version deriving from Japanese zōri, made popular after World War Two. What an amazing thought, that this footwear is so wearable, so popular, it’s continued from pre-history through to Brazilian Havaianas, and is probably worth around $20 billion today. Admittedly, I’ve never been to parts of the globe that are permanently covered in snow – but I’ve never been anywhere and not seen someone wearing flip-flops.
So what about you? What are your design favourites?