Sunday, February 3, 2013

Design For Life

"Strive for perfection in everything you do.  Take the best that exists and make it better.  When it does not exist, design it."

Sir Henry Royce

Alex Issigonis' Mini, whose transverse engine allowed it to be a genuine four seater car at just 10 foot long, and which revolutionised popular motoring.

 If it hasn't been formed in the depths of the earth's core, or grown out of the ground, then it will have been designed by somebody.  If it was made, then it was designed.  That chair that you're sat on?  Somebody designed it so that it would be comfortable, you can sit down and stand up easily, and you won't fall through it. The computer that you're reading this on?  Designed.  Your clothes?  Yeah they were too.  Almost everything in your life, no matter how humbly you try to live...was designed.
It might not have been designed very well, but some thought has gone into how it will function and look.

Nature is the best designer, so it stands to reason that many man-made objects take their inspiration from nature.  Bio-mimicry is a wonderful thing; you only have to look as far as anglepoise desk lamps whose mechanism and range of motion is based on the human arm, or surfboard fins which take so many design elements (as well as their name) from fish and cetacean fins.  But us humans can come up with some good ideas on our own, or are forced to in order to overcome some of the design constraints that we are so often faced with.

Design is a wonderful thing.  Take a look around and realise just how much it impacts and influences your day to day life, and recognise that whatever it is, somebody designed it that way.

"One sheet design" has challenged designers ever since standard size sheet material became available.  From chairs to tables and even boats, how best to utilise a 8' x 4' sheet has been a constant design challenge. 

A shoulder, an elbow and a wrist joint, with springs replacing muscles.  The anglepoise lamp is a design icon which is subject to constant evolution and design development.

Images shot by Mat Arney at The Design Museum, London.  If you're in the big smoke it's well worth an afternoon of your time.

1 comment:

  1. I once spent five minutes having a really good idea, then I realised I had Just designed a shelf. True story.