[Picture of Norman Foster]I am going to argue here that Sir Norman Foster is the number one architect in the world today, with an unprecedented track record of instantly recognisable buildings that enrich and excite and basically go against the grain of the present architectural and planning trends.

It all started when, in the mid-1980s, Norman Foster became famous. Read the rest of this entry »

The Bicycle


[Picture of Retroglyde]The bicycle has been around for a long time and has a well documented history easily found elsewhere. The bicycle is a classic design in that once it settled down into it’s essential form factor, changes have not altered it’s recognition as a bicycle. It has essentially remained unchanged — and this seems to be true for the future of the device: despite new innovations, such as automatic transmissions, new materials, and new types of uses — such as off-road mountain biking, and BMX. Read the rest of this entry »

What Is Wrong With Car Design?


[picture of Model T Ford design]CARS were originally “horseless carriages”, and so the coachwork design was naturally based on horse-drawn carriages. Then came aerodynamic and futuristic, with space-age fins and lots of chrome. You would be forgiven for thinking that we have seen it all from sports-cars to people carriers, from smart-cars to stretch limousines.

[Picture of futuristic car with tail fins]However, the sad fact is that each wave of automotive design has completely overlooked the user. Incredible as it may seem, this is patently true! Read the rest of this entry »

Barbed Wire


[Picture of Barbed Wire]Barbed Wire changed the world — forever. It’s commonplace to the point of virtual invisibility to all but criminals – yet who gives it a thought? Oddly enough, it has not been around for all that long, under 150 years in fact, but is truly a classic design, and the fascinating story reflects changes in society of all kinds.

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Sholes’s Keyboard


[Picture of Typewriter]Writing and drawing by hand have been around as long as we have, but surprisingly, mechanical reproduction has been around almost as long — think of stamped coins, woodcut pictures, engravings and even signet rings stamping wax seals.

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[Picture of early Wheelchair]The original wheelchair for the disabled was invented in 1783 by John Dawson “Wheelchair maker” of Bath — hence the name “Bath chair”. It had three wheels, the small front one being used for steering. It was a very good design for the era.

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The A-Z


‘From Aaron Hill to Zoffany St’ — An article by Claire Heald of BBC News:

[Picture of The First Edition of The London A-Z]No one thinks twice today about reaching for a map to navigate their way around a town or city — but do they stop to consider how the street atlas came to be? Read the rest of this entry »

The Plastic Buckle


[Picture of Airloc fastener]Almost everything these days seems to have those plastic Airloc buckle fasteners and nylon webbing straps. This is the standard for infant high chairs, haversacks, backpacks and all sorts of equipment and clothing for sports and military applications. Read the rest of this entry »

On Playing Cards


Everyone has seen or heard of playing cards, they seem a part of everyday life, and seem to have always been around. However mundane and overlooked, they are uniquely remarkable and a design classic. The story of playing cards is history itself. Read the rest of this entry »

The Chess Set Design Standard


[Picture of the King - Staunton]In the late 1800s (19th century), chess sets such as the Lund, Merrifield, Calvert and Saint George patterns, were fussy, intricate and costly to produce. As a result chess playing was restricted to the rich.

The company of John Jacques of London then set out to radically change things for ever. Read the rest of this entry »