[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 Most Important Building In Scotland


[Picture of Clyde Auditorium]Architects tend to favour form over function because they know function changes over time. They know that a building’s occupants and owners will change, and over the years, the building will be inevitably adapted, decorated, used and even abused.

That a radical design will affect the locale, and influence (or at least inform) other architectural designs elsewhere, is quite a responsibility when you think about it — it is not just about the owners or users of the building, but the fact that it is seen by so many people in all weathers and in every season and that it takes on certain mythical traits. This sort of thing starts with the tradesmen who take ownership and possession of the building (“That’s one of my jobs”), and goes on through to the future historian who declares it’s significance. 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 »

The Strat


[Picture of the back of a strat]The guitar as an instrument has been around for a long time in the well-known figure-eight guitar body shape, complete with a sound hole on the flat top, a neck of at least 12 frets, and a method of tuning the six gut strings to a standard tuning sequence. The country most identified with this instrument is Spain, where it featured in Flamenco music. Later, after the classical period, when music became classed as Romantic — and influenced by folk traditions, the guitar, as well as the folk Spanish flavours were embraced by composers for orchestrated and chamber works.

Musical instruments always evolve and change, and 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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The Goddess


[Picture of DS19]Let’s begin by saying that the design of the Citroen DS 19 is one of the most astonishing leaps in design history. No publication about design can omit the DS 19, no history of the car would be complete without the DS 19, any and all historical accounts of France, and of French culture must include the DS 19; it is simply a marvel.

It is perhaps difficult to understand this fully when looking back from a modern vantage point; this car design has affected everything since. So to help you, consider what the DS was replacing…

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