The Design Museum

Share on Twitter

Our favourite piece of design

The Design Museum has asked Breed’s artists to collaborate with them on a new project, inspired by their #designermakeruser wall exhibit, where they asked the public to tell the museum about the designs that are important to them.

The public’s responses were wide-ranging and eclectic, including items whose design perfectly suited their purpose to those that simply looked beautiful, or just held some personal resonance. Among the items nominated were Levi 501s, a hot water bottle, the London Underground sign, a brown paper bag, and an Eames chair.

The Design Museum wondered what would happen if they asked people who work with aesthetics and design every day the same question, and approached us. So, we asked our artists to pick one object that’s important or meaningful to them, tell us why, and what it means to them.

These are the answers we got back:

Andy Gilmore

The Phonograph/Record Player – it’s amazing to me that such an incredible depth of sound and emotion can be etched into the microscopic grooves of a record and made audible by amplifying the vibrations of a needle as it travels through the grooves of a rotating record. 

Paula Castro

My favourite piece is Maison Martin Margiela Leather Tabi Ankle Boots.

Because I love shoes, plus they remind me of a dear fashion designer who I worked with in Italy and he introduced me to this designer. They are ancient and modern at the same time, and a little punk as well, but in a very elegant way.

James Joyce

One of my favourite pieces of design is the Spanish Chair, designed by Borge Mogensen in 1958

I love chairs. I think this design is so simple and elegant.

Matt Blease

It’s the Swiss Army Knife!

Cat Garcia

I like sundials and compasses, for their simple design, and for following light and time.

Natasha Law

The BMW 2002 tii. The only car I’ve ever found myself actually noticing. It’s shaped like a 1970’s suitcase (and about as close to a kid’s drawing of a car as you can get) and comes in the kind of colours not seen since 1970’s Kodak film stock. Driving one is like past meets present – non-power-steering but amazing engine. 

Phillippa Mills

Flip-flops, because they are simple and carefree. I associate them with being content, their happy flip-flop sound conjuring up a sense of light-heartedness and freedom. They herald the lengthening of days, an end to wellies and socks, walking through long grass or being kicked off in the sand. They entertain hope of an endless summer.

Craig & Karl

We’ll say Converse Chuck Taylor’s – they’re timeless, ageless, forever adaptable and just about the perfect graphic manifestation of a sneaker. We both also wear them all the time. 

Steven Wilson

My choice as a design classic would be the Adidas Copa Mundial football boot. Football is my main love outside of my work and family. The Copa Mundial was released in 1979, the year of my birth and I remember all through my childhood wanting a pair but they were too expensive. They were worn by Zidane and Maradona, players I loved watching growing up and I finally got my first pair in my mid-teens as a Christmas present and they are the only boots I have worn ever since. They have been the best-selling boot worldwide since 2001, their iconic design is simple and timeless. I coach kids now in my spare time and they turn up in boots of all colours and sometimes a different colour boot on each foot mimicking today’s pros. Everything is becoming more complex now and life for me is much more complicated than when I was a kid wanting those boots, but still wearing the Copa Mundial conjures nostalgia in me and memories of a simpler time.

Anna Bu Kliewer

Scissors. They are an everyday object, often taken for granted. I have been using scissors as a tool for my work for over 10 years and I own about 30 pairs of them.

I enjoy analogue objects in our digital age. I read actual books instead of using an e-book, source material from vintage books and magazines and use scissors to cut out pieces. To me there is a sense of nostalgia to using scissors, paper and glue.

I own scissors from my parents which are over 40 years old and that they used in Ukraine, where I was born. The design of scissors is simple, as most good designs are.

Danny Sangra

My piece of design is the VHS tape cassette. 

Video tape is long gone these days but video tapes were my film school and my escape. Cinemas made me in awe of movies. The grand presentation of the cinema is hard to beat but video tape is where I learned to analyse films. Watch stories on repeat, record music videos and commercials to play over and over and over. 

Sure, video tape did damage, it messed with the quality of cinema and it even killed the radio star. It was like a boxer who came and conquered but eventually their reign comes to an end when a new challenger comes along and knocks them out cold. 

Renting a video tape as a kid made the film you finally chose to bring home the most important item in the house. You couldn’t just stop watching the film after two minutes. It had a purpose in your home. 

Video tapes were an awkward object, the aesthetics were not slick, it’s far from a 1970s’ Ferrari or a Noguchi Table. It’s not desirable aesthetically, but that clunky piece of plastic managed to hold more stories than were imaginable. 

I don’t think any piece of Eames furniture could have told me tales of epic space battles, time-travelling cars, wandering samurai and gangsters that talk about cheeseburgers. 

Quentin Jones

I want to choose the classic Orangina bottle for this. It is so evocative of childhood holidays in France. I can smell the dry heat coming off the pine trees when I think about it…