i want…

i want…

Design classics and what we can learn from them.


no angle no poise                                                anglepoise

I love the clarity and simplicity of the design classic the anglepoise lamp, the way that no frivolity has been spared and the elegant bare bones of it are allowed to sing. I was amused however by a trip to the design museum in london on a rainy December day where I was intrigued by a interesting exhibition exploring various takes on the anglepoise lamp. 

I was filled with a warm sense of ingenuity and wit as a collapsed pile of silicone caught my eye amongst the tall strand like lamps. At closer inspection this floppy puddle turned out to be the cleverest of the lot. Entitled no angle no poise it was the opposite of what was expected from the brief, yet far the most intriguing.

Now much later as I look out into my rain slashed garden, a pretty uninspiring tangle of greenery, I am contemplating the issue of originality. Most of the younger generation like to think of themselves as original in some way or another. As much as I deplore in the trait some have where they are boastful about their (non existent) creativity or originality, I am encouraging of this turnaround in the crave of originality. The no angle no poise lamp is a great symbol of this urge to be creative. So as I think of the lamp and the greatness of originality my Grandma suddenly pops into my head. She is not a devious designer, nor is she a model of creativity in fact this is why my thoughts are drawn to her.

My Grandma’s generation, barring the odd individual, are a group of traditional and confirming people. Being expected to work at one career the whole of their lives and doing it the “correct” way, any urge to rebel or at the least try something new was compressed and scorned.

Furthermore as young children we are taught the “correct” ways to do things eg. painting and one example of this which stands out in my mind and which my friends and family all know by heart (as I have repeated this story over and over again whilst making various points) is that when I was two or three my mother took musicality at a play group in our town so I was taken along and then pushed into the corner to paint. I was experimenting by mixing all of the colours together into a sludgy brown I called purple and dragging it down the page  with my hands. An old lady came out of the tiny kitchen down a short passage and took notice of me. She looked at my masterpiece and promptly exclaimed that I was doing it wrong and that the correct way to finger paint was to dip your whole hand in paint and place it on the paper. What remember fiercely about this certain moment was that I was well aware of that method of painting but I had chosen to experiment and being a shy child I, rather regretfully, remained silent.

So what I am trying to say is that I feel a little originality is essential both in life and creating a design classic. The old fashioned way of confirming I feel is unnecessary and I am glad it is on it’s way out.

(apologies for the photos, I cannot work out how to resize them so they don’t move. The red floppy one is no angle no poise and the black anglepoise is anglepoise.)