A set of first class UK stamps are to be issued in January next year commemorating ten icons of British design. The Royal Mail’s new series offers up a discernably nostaligic look at some British Design Classics, largely culled from the 1930s and 1960s. A “prestige stamp book”, issued alongside the stamps, will provide a more extensive background and history of the designs.
Ten principles defined Dieter Rams’ approach to “good design”:
Good design is innovative
Good design makes a product useful
Good design is aesthetic
Good design helps us to understand a product
Good design is unobtrusive
Good design is honest
Good design is durable
Good design is consequent to the last detail
Good design is concerned with the environment
Good design is as little design as possible
Back to purity, back to simplicity
In 1971 Braun introduced the AB1 Alarm Clock, designed to do what is required — keep accurate time and wake you up in the morning — no more no less. By adhering to design principles, Dieter Rams and Dietrich Lubs, created an icon of modern design.
For nearly 30 years Dieter Rams served as head of design for Braun until his retirement in 1998. He continues to be a legend in design circles and most recently designed a cover for Wallpaper* magazine. Many of his designs — clocks, coffee makers, calculators, radios, audio/visual equipment and office products — have found a permanent home at many museums over the world, including MoMA in New York.
Braun AB1 Alarm Clock, by Dieter Rams, Dietrich Lubs, 1971, for Braun
Designed by Mies van Der Rohe for the Bauhaus in 1927. The wicker-work for the chair was created by Lilly Reich, assistant to Mies Van Der Rohe. It is the Icon of Modern Furniture Design. This chair is one of the classics in the history of furniture. Bauhaus became a dominant force in architecture and the applied arts in the 20th century. The main theory was that all design should be functional as well as aesthetically-pleasing.
The Juicy Salif citrus squeezer is without doubt, Philippe Starck’s best known design. Once the focus of heated debate and criticism for its supposedly impractical design, it is included in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York.
One of the first projects by Starck for Alessi and devised in the second half of the 1980s, the Juicer has a sculptural feel while the grooved aluminum “spider head” neatly funnels juice down to the glass.
It remains unparalleled in its ability to generate discussions about its meaning and design. As well as being the most controversial citrus fruit squeezer of the 20th century, it has also become one of the icons of design of the 1990s, and it continues to be one of the most provocatively intelligent articles in the Alessi catalogue.
The Beomaster 1900 arrived in 1977 as the most stylish Hi-Fi amp/tuner on the planet. This remains an outstanding design of the period. It is a masterpiece of design with its brushed aluminium, detailled illuminated front indicators and of course the mysterious touch sensitive pads.
Jacob Jensen succeeded in a further coup. Not only did he resist the temptation to follow the general trend and stack individual components on top of each other to form a so-called “hi-fi tower”, but he also demonstrated how to counter Japanese firms, who had long since dominated the market with uninspired metal boxes full of buttons and dials.
Beomaster 1900, by Jacob Jensen, for Bang & Olufsen
The Sony TV8-301 was the world’s first truly portable television. There had been earlier ‘portable’ TV sets, but you needed to be very strong to carry them. When the sets went on sale in 1960, television was still considered a luxury commodity for the average family. For the price, most people considered a large console set more practical than a portable model. In fact, most of the early Sony TV owners were either very rich or eccentric.
TV8-301, by Sony
In the centre of Copenhagen, on the sixth floor of the Royal Hotel, a single room preserves a microcosm of the definitive masterwork of Danish architect and furniture designer Arne Jacobsen. Room 606 is the last surviving interior of the SAS House: an unparalleled example of modern architecture and design, completed in 1960. With the grey, blue-green colours, the wengé wood and a selection of the most representative furniture designed for the hotel, this room takes its visitors to another time and place.
Hotel guests with an interest in design are welcome to visit Room 606, when it is available. Arne Jacobsen designed the famous Egg and Swan chairs for the Royal as well as the lesser known and rare Drop chair. The room features other details like built-in makeup mirrors, radio and intercom system.
Room 606, starting at 1,295.00 DKK per night, by Arne Jacobsen, at Radisson SAS Royal Hotel, Copenhagen, Denmark
Room 606, A survey of the work of architect and furniture designer Arne Jacobsen.
Buy the book: Amazon
The Beogram 4000, was the world’s first electronically controlled tangential gramophone. In this pioneering concept, the pick-up moved in a straight line towards the centre of the record parallel with – or tangentially in relation to – the groove.
The innovative and extremely stylish record deck was designed by Jacob Jensen who helped shape Bang & Olufsen’s product design with its characteristic use of discrete, clear lines and high functionality. It is a design which has helped manifest B&O’s easily recognisable product identity.
The Beogram 4000 is included in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) New York.
Beogram 4000, 1972, by Jacob Jensen, for Bang & Olufsen
In 1938, with great fanfare, New York Central introduced 10 new streamliner steam engines and cars designed by Henry Dreyfuss for its Twentieth Century Limited New-York-Chicago run. An upgraded version of his Mercury design, the new J 3 4-6-4 Hudson locomotives featured finned bullet-noses reminiscent of ancient warrior helmets. “Streamlining” proved to be so popular that many products of the time developed this form, including this Steam Iron designed by Dreyfuss in 1948.
Steam Iron, 1948, by Henry Dreyfuss, for the General Electric Company, Lynn, USA
Jo Hammerborg Zero pendant for Fog & Meurop Denmark at City Furniture