Elements of Style

August 11th, 2010 in .Blogs
Nick Holland
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Recently I was in Bangkok and visited the Thailand Creative & Design Centre, which currently exhibits a range of historic products from the last ~100 years, that have defined style, design and trends across the globe. It was an eye-opening visit to realise that all these products had created huge waves that had shaped our entire view of design. Some of my favourites include:

The Vespa – 1946

Without doubt it entirely represents Italian chic. Simple and curvaceous, with touches of chrome that really it classy.

After the second World War the company behind it was no longer required to make aircraft, so it modified the aerodynamic designs of planes into personal transportation for the masses.

It was the VW Beetle of the two wheeled world. It was an expression of freedom and Italian style after many years of fascist oppression.

Desk Telephone Model 302 – 1937.

Despite an uninspired name it’s become symbolic of what a phone should look like, even despite the fact the rotary dial system is long out of date.

Again, the second World War influenced the design, as it meant in 1941 that (as then new) plastic had to be used because of steel shortages.

Sony Walkman – 1979

Yes, ’79! Although most of us saw it in the 80s (if you were old enough to remember).

One of the first minaturisations and more importantly, ‘personalisations‘ of technology that has since seen an explosion of portable music.

The Walkman was actually redesigned with a second headphone jack so it could be shared as it was initially deemed too antisocial!

Juicy Salif by Philippe Starck – 1990

Just 20 years old, this icon of industrial design is cast from aluminium and represents a blend of sheer elegance and form, taking inspiration from the imagination of H.G. Wells aliens in War of the Worlds, and a more earthly squid.

Even though the juice is meant to run down to the point and dribble off neatly, the designer claimed that it was never meant to be a functional object and admits in the real world most of the juice will just end up on the counter.

Not your average chairs.

I liked all these because they made me re-think the materials we take for granted. Who’d have though flat steel cable, rubber tubing and wooden offcuts would make such interesting furniture?

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