Design Classics

The Tale of the Rock Star and the Shelf

CaseFile-system-1

This is a tale about a rock star (albeit a slightly ageing one) and a shelf (or rather a shelving system). It happened a couple of years ago, but is no less relevant for that. So the ARS (as he shall henceforth be known) rang me from his summer hideout, where he was, if truth…

Design Classics #45: Barber Wilsons Taps

traditional taps from Barber Wilsons

This classic tap is designed by Barber Wilsons This classic tap is found in homes up and down the country. It even has a place in at least one of the Royal Palaces, as the company, which was founded in 1905, holds a royal warrant to supply kitchen taps and bathroom mixers to HM the…

Design Classics #44: Safari Chair

choose from a leather or canvas seat

This chair was inspired by a picture in a travel guide to Africa and has been a design classic since it first appeared in 1933. Kaare Klint was inspired by a British Officer’s chair he had seen in a travel guide for Africa. Apparently, he particularly liked the picture in which the author of the…

Design Classics #43: Artek Stool

Design Classic: the artek stool

Created in 1933 by the Finnish designer Alvar Aalto, this quintessentially functional piece of furniture celebrates its 80th anniversary this year. The simple stool, which has become a design classic, is recognisable by its distinctive bent legs and round seat. This style would eventually become the feature of all Aalto furniture. There is also a…

Design Classics #42: Ernest Race BA3 Chair

The BA3: one of the first mass-produced chairs

Ernest Race was one of Britain’s most successful and inventive furniture designers.  This chair was one of his first productions for his company Race Furniture and was first exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum’s morale-boosting exhibition ‘Britain Can Make It’  in 1946. The chair, which has been re-issued from the archives, has now returned to…

Design Classics #41: Eileen Gray Side Table E1027

Eileen Gray's E1027 was named for her and her partner

Named after Eileen Gray’s summer house in Maison en Bord de Mer at Roquebrune Cap Martin, which she built for herself and her collaborator Jean Badovici, the name E1027 is in code. E is for Eileen, 10 for Jean (J is the 10th letter of the alphabet), 2 for B(adovici) and 7 for G(ray). This simple height…

Design Classics #40: Florence Knoll Sofa

Florence Knoll sofa from spacecraftint.com which sells authorised pieces

As a pioneer of the Knoll Planning Unit, Florence Knoll created what she modestly referred to as the “fill-in pieces that no one else wants to do.” She referred to her own line of lounge seating as the equivalent of “meat and potatoes,”  adding, “I needed the piece of furniture for a job and it wasn’t there, so I designed…

Design Classics: #39: Marcel Breuer’s Wassily Chair

wassily-chair-Marcel-Breuer-Knoll

So today’s question is: What is the link between that chair and this bicycle? The answer is that Marcel Breuer was a keen cyclist. He had an Adler bicycle which he particularly admired for its functional design. An apprentice at the Bauhaus school in Germany, he graduated in 1924 and headed for Paris, but returned…

Design Classics #38: Diamond Chair

Bertoia: space passes right through them

  Harry Bertoia did not take a conventional route into the world of furniture design. Unlike many of his contemporaries who trained first as architects (Arne Jacobsen and Eero Saarinen to name but two) Bertoia had a metal workshop and also designed jewellery. He even made the wedding rings of Charles and Ray Eames, designers…

Design Classics #37: Arne Jacobsen’s Ant Chair

The Ant chair by Arne Jacobsen now comes in a variety of colours

Designed in 1952, the Ant Chair was first produced with three legs and was not an instant hit. It was only in 1980 that a fourth leg was added and a variety of finishes and colours were included in the range that it took off as a product. Its name came from the Danish Myren,…