Norman Foster in pieces 06.06.16

  • Nomos table for Tecno (1987): The practice’s ‘first real experiment’ in product design, this adjustable table became a kind of ‘talismanic modernist object’

  • Dot for Lumina (2015): ‘Its seeming simplicity conceals an extremely sophisticated piece of engineering’

  • Flo for Lumina (2011): ‘This is design stripped to its bare essentials – an L-shaped bent rod that flares out into a lamp and a base at either end’

  • Eva, also for Lumina (2016): ‘This new design is a simple cylinder of glass with a delicately dimmable disc light on top’

  • Bespoke furniture for the Maggie’s cancer care centre in Manchester (2013–16)

  • The exterior of the Maggie’s cancer care centre in Manchester (2013–16), which features in our next issue

  • The Arc table in glass and Ductal concrete, for Molteni and C (2010): ‘It looks like a shrunken Oscar Niemeyer design, a little yelp of Brazilian flair and a kickback to mid-century sculpturalism’

  • Airline seating system for Vitra (1999): ‘This ubiquitous design is the most elegant, adaptable and functional range of its kind’

  • Foster 500 armchair for Walter Knoll (2002), originally designed for the Reichstag in Berlin: ‘Its quiet minimalism allows it to fade into the background’

  • The Reichstag in Berlin (1992–99)

Few practices have merged the worlds of architecture and product design more completely than Foster + Partners. Its buildings fit together like machines, its furniture is ‘small architecture’

'Norman Foster’s references tend not to be buildings,' Edwin Heathcote writes in our latest issue. "If you listen to him speak, or read his texts, he’ll refer to planes, trains and automobiles, he might extol Buckminster Fuller or talk about robots, sculpture or cities, but surprisingly rarely will he mention buildings. That makes him a very unusual architect, one who is arguably more comfortable with the world of things.'

In Icon 157, available now, Edwin Heathcote examines Foster + Partners' portfolio of industrial design. Above, accompanied by extracts from the article, is a selection of the firm's major and recent products and furniture – some of which are on display at an exhibition at the Aram Gallery in London. Pick up a copy of the magazine (pictured below) for the full story.


Images: Micha Weidmann, Aaron Hargreaves, Nigel Young, Molteni & C, Foster + Partners

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