The Aram Designs founder on the new Routemaster, an Eames chair and the humble paperclip
Having spent 50 years in the design world, I have witnessed its ups and downs, its triumphs and failures. I keep reading about “new classics” – a journalistic label of no consequence. Creating a well-designed product (in any field) takes talent, imagination and time. My delight in such a product is intense, therefore my search endures.
New Routemaster bus
It takes a talent like Thomas’s to create a design with this level of sophistication, originality, imagination and humour. It’s one of the delights I can enjoy on the London roads – a relief from the sombre boring scene. Bravo to Heatherwick!
Gem paperclip (1890)
This humble utility item, devised by the Gem Manufacturing Company in the late 19th century, is made in its millions and used by millions every day. We take its performance for granted, yet the wonderfully simple engineering of using the torsion in the bend of the relatively thin wire to hold papers together is ingenious.
This is the quintessential commuter’s bike. You can take it easily on a plane, train or bus. It has its own stand and you can park it anywhere. Not many bikes can be stored on a shelf like a book. The engineering and the finishing is superb and the operation of folding and unfolding is logical and easy.
Aluminium Group chairs
Charles and Ray Eames for Vitra
One of the most important group of chairs, created in 1958 by two of the most important and influential designers of the 20th century. As with the Thonet Model 14, the design and manufacture of these chairs completely broke the mould. This is what is required from great and lasting designs: they should be beautiful, practical and comfortable.
This simple and elegant product is useful, economical and ecological – and it looks great everywhere.
Future Stars? — an exhibition of work by new designers — is on at the Aram Gallery until 25 October. We wrote about it when it opened during London Design Festival 2014