Discover The Most Influential Product Designers Of All Time
Product designers are responsible for creating furniture design that we use on a daily basis, affecting the lives of millions with their work. Modern Dining Tables present you with some of the best product designers who you probably know through their work, even if you didn’t know their names.
The Eameses wanted their Lounge Chair and Ottoman to have the “warm receptive look of a well-used first baseman’s mitt.” Often referred to as a twentieth-century interpretation of the nineteenth-century English club chair, this seating instantly became a symbol of comfort—and comfort was one of the product designer’s key objectives for this product.
The luxury lounge chair is often referred to as the 670/671, after the Herman Miller part numbers used to make the seating. It combines factory technologies with intricate hand labor and craftsmanship. While today the Lounge Chair and Ottoman are icons of mid-century modern design, when the product designers first produced the 670/671, it was noted that they had soft, wrinkly leather and plush down feathers—materials that weren’t considered modern at all. This luxury design can be seen in museum collections and designer homes across the globe, and it remains a symbol of luxurious comfort. The design is still produced today by Herman Miller and Vitra.
The Arco lamp is a modern overhead lamp designed by the product designers and brothers Pier Giacomo and Achille Castiglioni for Flos in 1962. The contemporary lamp is characterized by a suspended spun aluminum pendant attached to an upright slab of Carrara marble via a large, arching arm made of stainless. The luxury lamp has been in constant production since its original release in 1962.
Achille focused on the whole field of design working from architecture to urban planning, from exhibition to furniture design, to product and light design. He designed dining chairs and tables, lamps and bookcases, ashtrays and valet stands, dishes and flatwares, school desks and hospital beds, sinks and toilet bowls, handles and bottle openers, coffee machines and beer dispensers, and many more.
Marc Newson is an award-winning product designer with works that range from furniture design to aircraft and luxurious yachts. In addition to being one of the most influential product designers of his generation, Newson’s works are featured in many contemporary design museums all over the globe.
Extruded Table 3 was a startling evolution from the preceding Extruded Tables, where the open-ribbon form becomes an unbroken line with no beginning and no end. The dynamics of its streamlined silhouette are further emphasized by the natural striations of the marble. With the Carbon Fibre Chair, Marc explored an existing model in terms of a radically different material. In doing so, the highly reflective, “liquid” yet weighty Nickel Chair morphs into its polar opposite, a darkly absorptive, light-weight form.
Conceived at the same time as the original non-glass pieces, Marc decided that he would make a glass-topped version which would be more practical for everyday use. Named “Chop Top” in reference to the term used to describe cars transformed into convertibles by sawing the tops off, they provided not only more durable and usable surfaces, but they also allowed the insides of the pieces to be seen.
Danish-born Arne Jacobsen is considered to be amongst the most influential architects and product designers of the 20th century. Two of the standouts of Jacobsen’s prolific career are his Egg Chair and Swan Chair. Even today, Jacobsen’s work manages to be historical, futuristic, and contemporary at the same time. He’s one of the reasons Scandinavian design is so popular these days.
The Egg is one of the triumphs of Jacobsen’s total design – a sculptural contrast to the building’s almost exclusively vertical and horizontal surfaces. The Egg sprang from a new technique, which Jacobsen was the first to use; a strong foam inner shell underneath the upholstery. Experience originality and design that ages with beauty with the Egg in leather and indulge in its sculptural curves that will last for generations. With this furniture, Arne Jacobsen wrote history within Danish design worldwide.
Marcel Breuer is a champion of the modern design movement and protégé of Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius, one of the best product designers is equally celebrated for his achievements in architecture and furniture.
Breuer was a student and subsequently a master carpenter at the Bauhaus in the early 1920s. His work as a product designer embodies the driving Bauhaus objective to reconcile art and industry. Despite popular belief, the chair was not designed specifically for the non-objective painter Wassily Kandinsky. Kandinsky had admired the completed design, and Breuer fabricated a duplicate for Kandinsky’s personal quarters. The seat became known as “Wassily” decades later when it was re-released by Italian manufacturer Gavina, who had learned of the anecdotal Kandinsky connection in the course of its research on the chair’s origins.
Philippe Starck is an advocate of democratic design and an iconic product designer whose works spans different disciplines. Asides from creating beautiful, useful and democratic designs, the product designer’s work is known for its political messages, which makes his work even more outstanding. The “Ed Archer” is an iconic dining chair with tubular steel shell with spring units and polished casting aluminum rear leg.