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Icon: Lewis Morley Portrait of Christine Keeler

Lewis Morley became world-famous in 1963 when he took what is considered by many to be one of the photographic icons of the period, his classic portrait of Christine Keeler. Then at the height of her fifteen minutes of fame as one of the protagonists of the infamous Profumo Affair. In 1963 a major political scandal developed in Britain due to model and call-girl Christine Keeler’s affairs with John Profumo, the Conservative Party’s Minister of War, and a Soviet naval attaché. The ensuing controversy was possibly even responsible for the downfall of the ‘Tory’ Party at the following election.

Morley photographed Ms Keeler sitting naked astride a knock-off of an Arne Jacobsen chair (sold by Habitat), her torso tantalizingly concealed by her arms and the back of the chair.

“It was the very last shot on the roll. I was walking away and turned back. She was in a perfect position and I just snapped it. I never found her sexy, though. She reminded me too much of Vera Lynn!”

Christine Keeler, 1963, by Lewis Morley at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Icon: Space 1999 Duett Juicer by Carl Arne Breger

Carl Arne Breger is one of those designers that emerged in the fifties and sixties that served the industry exceptionally well by being both technically innovative and completely in tune with the expectations of the users. The Duett Pitcher and Juicer made a cameo in the cult series Space 1999.
Duett is now part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

Carl Arne Breger was trained between 1943 and 1948 as a decoration painter and model maker at Stockholm’s Konstfack he started as a scene and billboard painter for Svensk Filmindustri. His design career started when in 1953 he joined Stig Lindberg at Gustavsberg.

Duett Pitcher and Juicer, 1957 (now out of production) by Carl Arne Breger, for Gustavsberg

Icon: Acrilica lamp by Joe Colombo

In his brief but brilliant career, Joe Colombo (1930-1971) produced a series of innovations which made him one of Italy’s most influential Italian product designers.
The Acrilica lamp design came about from Colombo’s work on a hotel project in Sardinia in which he utilized the perspective of a counter-ceiling to produce a particular mode of indirect lighting. It is this idea that ultimately gives birth to the Acrilica lamp which utilizes a curvature of methacrylate to diffuse light indirectly.
The Acrilica lamp is included in the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

Acrilica lamp, by Joe Colombo, for Oluce

Icon: Polaroid SX-70 Part II

In our first icon series on the Polaroid SX-70, the camera is described as an “instant design classic”. A film made by Charles and Ray Eames reveals in great detail how an image is made on the film, as well as getting inside the camera to show how “form follows function”. This film goes a long way to explain why the Polaroid SX-70 is a Design Icon.

Polaroid SX-70, by Edwin Land, for Polaroid
via: Midcentury Modernist

Icon: Joe Colombo Elda Lounge Chair

In his brief but brilliant career, Joe Colombo (1930-1971) produced a series of innovations which made him one of Italy’s most influential Italian product designers. Elda was the first large chair to utilize a self-supporting fiberglass frame. Its seven sausage-like cushions, rotating base and generous proportions provide a great deal of comfort. This is one of Colombo’s first furniture designed and named after his wife Elda
The Elda lounge chair is exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York and the Louvre in Paris.

Elda Lounge Chair, by Joe Colombo, An Original 1967 Joe Colombo Elda chair is available at City Furniture

Icon: Bird in Space by Constantin Brancusi

From the 1920s to the 1940s Constantin Brancusi was preoccupied by the theme of a bird in flight. He concentrated not on the physical attributes of the bird but on its movement. In “Bird in Space” wings and feathers are eliminated, the swell of the body is elongated, and the head and beak are reduced to a slanted oval plane. Balanced on a slender conical footing, the figure’s upward thrust is unfettered. Brancusi’s inspired abstraction realizes his stated intent to capture “the essence of flight.” This particular conception of “Bird in Space” is the first in a series of seven sculptures carved from marble and nine cast in bronze, all of which were painstakingly smoothed and polished.

“Bird in Space” has broken the world auction record for a sculpture in 2005 by fetching $27,456,000 at Christie’s New York to an anonymous buyer.

Bird in Space by Constantin Brancusi

Icon: Royal Mail Design Stamps

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.

Design Stamps, Issues on 13 January 2009, from The Royal Mail
via: Creative Review

A Peek into Raymond Loewy’s Palm Springs Pad

Google has made available images from LIFE magazine. The Industrial designer Raymond Loewy was the icon of the age and often photographed for lifestyle magazines as well as featured on the cover of Time. These images date from 1947 and 1948.

Raymond Loewy House, Palm Springs, California, USA, Photographed by Peter Stackpole, for LIFE

Icon: Braun AB1 Alarm Clock

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

Icon: Mies van der Rohe Bauhaus Armchair

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.

Mies B 42 Chair, Mies D 42 Armchair, by Mies van der Rohe, with Lilly Reich, for Tecta

Editor's Picks

Studioilse w084t Task Lamp
A dimmable table lamp constructed of iron for its feelings of stability, reliability, trust; wood with its warmth and life, and porcelain for its intimate glow. [more...]

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The Story of Eames Furniture
Brimming with images and insightful text, this unique book is the benchmark reference on what is arguably the most influential and important furniture brand of our time. [more...]
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The Guggenheim: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Making of the Modern Museum
First-ever book to explore the process behind one of the greatest modern buildings in America. [more...]
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MoonFire: The Epic Journey of Apollo 11
A unique tribute to the defining scientific mission of our time, the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. [more...]
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Cars Freedom Style Sex Power Motion Colour Everything

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Freedom Style Sex Power Motion Colour Everything. This lavish and beautifully designed book is the gift book for all car enthusiasts and design aficionados. [more...]
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Fjordfiesta Scandia Senior
by Hans Brattrud

A Norwegian furniture design classic from 1957, Scandia Senior is a comfortable high-back easy chair with a leather head cushion, on a satin swivel base. [more...]

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Loblolly House
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Desire
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Marcel Wanders
Behind the Ceiling is the first monograph on one of the most influential, prolific and celebrated international designers today. [more...]
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How to Wrap Five Eggs
A mid-60s classic of Japanese design. Stunningly laid-out paean to traditional Japanese packaging is rife with sumptuous black and white photos of all manner of boxes, wrappers and containers that appear at once homely and sophisticated, ingeniously utilitarian yet fine and rare. [more...]
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