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The Designers

Aino Aalto Clare Brass Poul Henningsen Ingrid Ruegemer    
Alvar Aalto Christopher Dresser Jacob Jensen Sylvia Stave  
Ron Arad Stefano Giovannoni Alessandro Mendini Philippe Starck  
Mario Botta Michael Graves Verner Panton Nanny Still    
Marianne Brandt Zaha Hadid Aldo Rossi  Jakob Wagner  
      Ian Webster  

Philippe Starck

 One of the most influential modern designers, with an obvious flair for self-promotion. His designs offer a unique perspective that you wouldn’t confuse for any other designer. Starck has been a prolific designer and his work ranges from juice extractors, to hotel interiors. As with all designers that push the boundaries, there have been a few design hiccups along the way, but this designer is far more than just hype and he is a genuine character to boot.

The Dream Icons collection includes designs by Philippe Starck such as the Alessi Juicy Salif.

To learn more click about Philippe Starck on the following link:

http://www.starck.com
 

   
 

Sylvia Stave (1908-1994)

Sylvia Stave is a designer of supreme talent and as the Design Manager of silversmiths C. G. Hallberg Guldsmeds A.B. created many iconic designs from the late 1920’s onward. The timeless quality of her work defies labels such as Art Deco or the influence of Constructivism and stands as a beacon of design excellence.

Her designs are elegant, assured and always beautifully composed. With a sublime understanding of her medium she created designs of vases and bowls that let the gleaming surface remain unbroken and undecorated.
 
Sylvia declared that her preference for spherical forms originated from a friendship with a Swedish artist and not from the Bauhaus, as some historians would have us believe. Sometimes the truth can get in way of a good hypothesis…

It may be a sign of modesty or a poor reflection on society that so little information is out in the public domain about this marvel of contemporary design.

The Dream Icons collection includes designs by Sylvia Stave such as the Alessi Cocktail Shaker.
 

   

Michael Graves

One of the leading theorists and architects of Postmodernism, Michael Graves also shows a keen desire to explore the arena of product design.

Although the number of designs created by Graves remains small, he has been very influential at encouraging new generations of designers to create designs that advocate a bold use of colour and pattern, with light hearted references to popular culture. 

He has a great ability to fuse the most appealing aspects of several design movements and create a design language that is instantly recognizable and incredibly appealing.

The Alessi Bird Kettle and Alessi Cafetiere MGPF8 are among Alessi's first and most successful experiments with Postmodernism. The kettle is essentially a straightforward piece of modern design that Graves instills with a distinctive personality thanks to the addition of a plastic bird mounted on the spout that sings when the water boils.

To learn more about Michael Graves click on the following link:

http://www.michaelgraves.com
 

   
 

Clare Brass

Today, it is universally accepted that designs should be created with a social and environmental conscience. It is therefore, noteworthy to learn that a prominent designer such as Clare Brass was spearheading such an approach from early on in her career.

As her early work for companies such as Alessi revealed, this is a gifted designer with an impressive ability to instil presence and flair to even the most humble household objects. With her skills very much still in demand, Clare chose to forge her own path and became more focussed on a facilitation role as Leader of Sustainability at the Design Council.

Clare is an outspoken champion of design and sustainability and is constantly exploring new ways for designers to utilise their abilities while addressing social and environmental challenges. Her upbeat way of thinking is evident when she recommends that ‘problems should be viewed as opportunities.’

In an age that is becoming increasingly obsessed with fame and celebrity it is refreshing and inspiring to see someone turn away from this lifestyle in order to help make the world a better place for generations to come.

The Dream Icons collection includes designs by Clare Brass such as  the Alessi Kalisto Moon Storage Jar

To learn more about Clare Brass click on the following link:

http://www.seedfoundation.org.uk/
 

   

Jacob Jensen

The prolific and versatile Danish designer Jacob Jensen is a superstar of Scandinavian industrial design. As head of Design at Bang & Oulfsen in the 1960’s and 1970’s this innovative Danish designer created a timeless design language that was as elegant as it was simple.

It is fair to say that his work set the aesthetic design standards for audio systems for a long time. These days he has his own range of products and it is clear to see their impressive design lineage.

The Dream Icons collection includes designs by Jacob Jensen such as the Jacob Jensen Alarm Clock and Jacob Jensen Weather Station

To learn more click on the following link:

http://www.jacobjensen.com
 

   
 

Zaha Hadid

A genuine trail-blazer whose status has risen to the league of ‘Starchitect’. View her brilliant and eye catching  Alessi Crevasse Vase.

Zaha Hadid was the first woman to design a US museum (the Cincinnati project); the first woman to win architecture's equivalent of the Nobel Prize (the Pritzker) and is the only woman in the ranks of superstar architects. This Bagdad born visionary was once ignorantly labelled a ‘paper architect’ whose designs were dismissed as brilliant but unbuildable. Hadid’s strength of personality shone through and although it took the rest of the design and engineering world some time to catch up, now thankfully, her spectacular edifices are springing up all over the world.

In a time when the majority of buildings are thrown together for maximum profit with minimal consideration of the impact on society it is inspiring to see a designer that is creating something special that will be enjoyed by generations to come. Zaha Hadid’s designs are striking to say the least, often providing an energetic fluidity that can be seen in the forms of nature and she simply blows away the competition for dramatic presence. Her designs are always well considered from a social point of view and for some reason there are frequently comments in the press declaring surprise at how well her designs function… One day the penny will drop.

This is not a person who suffers fools gladly and her reputation precedes her for being bold, blunt and direct – disappointingly this is noted more because she is a woman and her softer, more compassionate side is often ignored. Zaha is clearly a passionate person with an undiminished child like sense of curiosity. She has maintained an element of teaching in her working life and her desire to help people realise their potential should be applauded. 
Her perseverance and talent has eventually lead to the superstar status that she currently enjoys and she is constantly in demand from manufacturers in numerous industries hoping to bring a little Hadid magic to their ranges

To learn more click on the following link:

http://www.zaha-hadid.com/
 

   

Ron Arad

Ron Arad has been hailed as one of the foremost designers of the 20th Century, for good reason. His unique design style successfully incorporates unorthodox combinations of materials and concepts.

As a designer, Arad is keen to explore manufacturing processes and fully aware of the benefits of experimentation. His work is incredibly sculptural and no one comes close to his ability to integrate space and light within his designs. 

This engaging character reveals a passion for design that is lacking in several high profile designers that are more concerned with their celebrity than the joy of creating.  

With his furniture designs Arad is frequently skirting along the boundaries of functionality and some have even described this as 'design art' - but this could be seen as a cynical attempt  to create a new label to pin onto him. Thankfully, Arad ignores such limitations and continues on his own path and has even returned to his working as an architect.

The Dream Icons collection includes some of Ron Arads best loved designs such as the eye-catching Alessi Babyboop hors d'oeuvre bowls 

To learn more click on the following link:

http://www.ronarad.co.uk
 

   

Ian Webster

Ian Webster has been designing British Classics for over 15 years. As the son of the highly regarded textiles designer Eric Webster he has been surrounded by design all his life and it is clearly in the genes. 

He has a passion for quality, an eye for detail and he always manages to create designs with an inherent timeless feel. Renowned for his enthusiasm, candor and ability to consider the world from a unique perspective.

This is a designer that clearly enjoys encouraging people to enrich their lives with beauty, creativity and passion - with a sublimely sculptural style and an inherent sense of fun.

The Dream Icons collection includes their very own designer loudspeakers daring, elegant, beautifully made and challenging the mainstream.

To learn more click on the following link:

http://www.designe.co.uk

Read Channa Vithana's interview with Ian Webster.
 

   
Vernor Panton

Verner Panton (1926-1998)

Verner Panton was a master of the fluid, futuristic style of 1960s design, which introduced a playful Pop aesthetic to furniture and interiors. One of the genuine innovators in modern design, he demonstrated an ability to create designs that are sleek, sexy and a technical firsts.

His work appears to be bursting with energy and has an irresistible sense of fun and optimism. His aim was ‘to encourage people to use their fantasy and make their surroundings more exciting’ and who can argue with that…

There are so many designs that demonstrate his passion from the iconic Geometri pattern integrated into Menu's Geometry 1 egg cups and Pernille Vea bowls through to his contemporary lighting, with our favourite being the timeless Panthella  Louis Poulsen table light

To learn more click on the following link:

http://www.verner-panton.com
 

   
 

Christopher Dresser (1834-1904)

There are many illustrious designers in this list and they are all standing on the shoulders of design giants such as Christopher Dresser.

He is considered to be among the first independent industrial designers who championed design reform in 19th century Britain. By embracing modern manufacturing processes he produced stunning work in the arenas of wallpaper, textiles, ceramics, glass, furniture and metalware.

Dresser was famed for championing industrial design as a force for furnishing ordinary people with well-made, efficient and engaging goods. His commercial success is all the more remarkable because Dresser also pioneered what we now recognise as the efficient, simple modern aesthetic. As an avid botanist he was inspired by forms in nature and could also beautifully integrate the aesthetic styles from many periods and cultures, including the arts of Japan.

With so much to offer the design world it should come as no surprise to learn that he was also in demand as an advisor to manufacturers, an author and a teacher. Christopher Dresser is a champion of modern design who revealed a wonderful vision for the future that left contemporaries such as William Morris trailing in his wake. 

The Dream Icons collection includes Christoper Dresser's Alessi 90029 Toast Rack as iconic today as it was in the Victorian kitchen.
 

   

Jakob Wagner 

As one of Scandinavia’s foremost designers at present, Jakob Wagner creates designs that are innovative, useful and rather beautiful. Many of his most impressive designs are featured in the Menu A/S product range and his wine thermometer is a fine example of his work.

In order to rise to the top in a land where stylish practicality is almost universal, you have to display a distinctive edge. For Wagner, a skillful play of opposing visual expressions such as organic/geometric, symmetric/asymmetric etc has created a distinctive and highly desirable design language.

The popularity of his colourful Menu propeller trivet is testimony to his ability to create designs that are stylish and functional.

To learn more click on the following link:

http://www.jakobwagner.dk
 

 

   
Alessandro Mendini Designer Of Our Alessi Chocolate Box

Alessandro Mendini 

There are few arenas of the design world that haven’t felt the impact of Alessandro Mendini. As an architect, artist, designer, theorist, journalist and design consultant - it is a wonder there are any jobs left out there for anyone else.

This modern day Design Godfather has also played a crucial role in Alessi’s evolution into the design powerhouse that it has become. The Alessi Peyrano Chocolate Box being a fine example of one of his striking designs. Mendini adds a sense of artistic flair to the functionality of a product, his Alessi Parrot Corkscrew like many of his designs stands out from the crowd and makes you wonder why this form and function had not been combined before. The results are intriguing, frequently iconic and almost always desirable - just look at the Alessi Alessandro M Queens Guard corkscrew for example.

To learn more click on the following link:

www.ateliermendini.it
 

 

   
Mario Botta Designer Of Our Tua Pitcher

Mario Botta

Most high-profile designers like to explore other avenues of design and frequently this only serves to highlight their limitations.This is not the case for supremely talented Swiss architect Mario Botta.

The effortless ease with which this world renowned designer can move into the area industrial design displays immense ability. Botta creates essentially modernist designs that have a wonderful cohesive quality. His general emphasis on craftsmanship and geometric order result in designs that stand the test of time. The Alessi Tua Pitcher is a timeless Botta classic, its quality and sophistication has earnt it a place in the Alessi Premier Range

To learn more click on the following link:

http://www.botta.ch/
 

 

   
 

 Nanny Still (1926-2009)

Nanny Still was one of the spearhead generation of designers from Finland who appeared after the Second World War with such sensational debuts and went on to become eminent ambassadors of Design.

This is a designer that revelled in working in a variety of design arenas, often bringing with her inspiring and innovative ideas taken from nature.

Very few designers can match Nanny Still’s ability to bless her designs with an intrinsic aesthetic balance and sublime tactile qualities. Her playful feminine design language also brings a sense of fun and optimism that has contributed to her designs possessing a timeless quality that make you smile when you see them.
 

The Dream Icons collection includes designs by Nanny Still such as the beautiful and captivating Iittala Mango Cutlery Set.  
 

 

   
 

Stefano Giovannoni

An explosive creative talent whose designs frequently capture the attention of the public and win over their hearts. Giovannoni is Alessi’s ‘Golden Boy’ and his impressive portfolio ranges from product design to architecture.

He has many memorable designs to his credit for various high profile companies. It is a testament to his skills that he can glide effortlessly from creating a sleek piece of modernist design to producing an eye catching anthropomorphic piece that brings a sense of fun to a normally mundane kitchen implement.

This is a man that is confident in his abilities and he is not afraid to let people know about it. He remains one of the most prolific and interesting designers working today.

The Dream Icons collection includes a range of designs by Giovannoni such as the Alessiphone a cordless DECT phone, the classic Cico Egg Cup , and Alessi Kitchen and Bathroom Scales.  

To learn more click on the following link:

http://www.stefanogiovannoni.it/
 

   
 

Ingrid Ruegemer

Ingrid Ruegemer is a multi-faceted designer whose beautiful designs possess sublime tactile qualities and must be held in the hand to be fully appreciated. Her design language is elegant and contemporary, but unashamedly multicultural. She skilfully infuses an appealing feminine softness to the underlying modernist elements of her Teutonic roots.

With an innate flair for design, attention to detail and an eye for quality, Ingrid is able to create designs that stimulate the intellectual, emotion and sensory channels. Her natural and unpretentious manner reveals a character that is as playful and charming as her designs. The Boules Tumblers show this to great effect.

To learn more click on the following link:

http://www.absolute-appetite.com/
 

   
 

Alvar Aalto (1898-1976)

One of the 20th Century giants of design and a central figure in the development of international modernism. Alvar Aalto fused the naturalism of Finnish romanticism with modernist ideals and the results were culturally electrifying.

As a character Aalto had a certain flair for the dramatic and self promotion. He was fortunate to some degree to be the right man in the right place at the right time and was able to play a significant part in providing a distinctive identity to a newly independent Finland.

Aalto was also renowned for his attention to detail and ability to consider a situation from an empathetic perspective. He was a designer of immense talent and his iconic Aalto vase designs remain as popular and influential today as they were back in the 20th Century.

To learn more click on the following link:

http://www.alvaraalto.fi/indexe.htm
 

   
   Aino Aalto (1894-1949)

Historically Aino Aalto is somewhat overshadowed by her esteemed architect husband Alvar. However, she was a designer of immense talent in her own right and produced a wealth of quality designs ranging from architecture, to photography, to applied arts and industrial design.

Her impressive abilities resulted in her beating Alvar's entry to win the gold prize at the Milan Triennale in 1936 with an innovative glassware collection. This iconic glassware range is still in production today (now bearing her name) by Iittala and reveals the timeless appeal of Aino’s pioneering design principles.

Aino also apparently collaborated with her husband on the design of the celebrated Savoy Vase and her role in the design of the architecture attributed to Alvar Aalto has never been specifically verified. Whatever the truth turns out to be it is clear that behind the great man, there was a great woman.

This was a designer of great vision who was able to help forge a new era of Finnish design by incorporating some of the functionalism concepts in a very individual manner. An honest use of materials and impressive utilization of mass-production processes created harmonious designs that stand the test of time.

The only thing missing from this great designer is a picture of her smiling…

 

   
 Aldo Rossi at Dream Icons Aldo Rossi (1931-1997)

Aldo Rossi steered a path that few have been able to match and achieved international acclaim in the very competitive areas of Architecture, Design Theory and Product Design. The Italian ‘starchitect’ was one of the big names in Postmodernism and his designs won many awards including the prestigious Pritzker Prize for architecture.

Rossi was one of the most influential architects of the 70’s and 80’s and offered a refreshing perspective that encouraged modern architects to study cities as evolving entities, whose key elements should be respected as new ideas are introduced.

It is in his product designs that we frequently see him capture the elemental essence of designs that have been in our cultures for centuries. Look at the ‘la Cupola’ coffee maker for example and witness how Rossi has taken the iconic domed feature from ecclesiastic architecture and integrated the basic geometric form to produce one of the iconic product designs of the time.

Rossi also had a distinctive way of taking designs from concept to production and surprised many of the team at Alessi by handing over sketches to the engineers and then letting them evolve the designs for production. This approach could initially send the engineers into a panic similar to that of a rabbit caught in the headlights but would eventually enable the engineers to make a significant influence on all aspects of the design. This creation process reveals a very confident designer that was open to new ideas and the views of his team.

Aldo Rossi sadly died in an accident in 1997 and thankfully it was not before he was able to use his design skills to create some of the most iconic designs of his age. The Dream Icons collection includes a number of iconic designs from Rossi including the Alessi Il Conico hob kettle, Alessi La Cupola coffe maker and Alessi Momento wall clock.

 

   
 Marianne Brandt at Dream Icons Marianne Brandt (1893-1983)

Marianne Brandt was a designer who rose to the top of her profession in a time that is hardly renowned for sexual equality in the workplace. In order to achieve this impressive feat she needed to be a league above her male contemporaries and to benefit from the recognition of someone already in a position of responsibility.

Brandt will forever be associated with the ‘Bauhaus’ and it was in the metalworking workshop run by László Moholy-Nagy, that her talent was recognized and fostered. During the mid to late 1920’s Marianne Brandt was at the peak of her creative flow and produced numerous designs in quick succession that are now considered icons of ‘Bauhaus’ design. The 1924 teapot is a great example of her work and visual impact of this design lies in the uncompromising sculptural statement of its geometric forms. It is defiantly modern.
Marianne Brandt went on to succeed Moholy-Nagy and also became responsible for collaborative projects with industry. In public, she was a passionate supporter of the Bauhaus view that heroic industrial design would create a better the world.

Brandt also enjoyed working in the areas of painting, sculpture and photography and was evidently a character bursting with creativity. In later years Marianne Brandt taught at the Dresden College of Free and Applied Arts as well as the Institut für Angewandte Kunst in Berlin.

Marianne Brandt will be remembered as an exceptional designer, achieving great success despite the odds being stacked against her and whose work indicates a feeling of enthusiasm for modern culture. The Dream Icons collection includes some of her iconic designs such as the Alessi 90042 sugar and creamer set.

 

   
 Poul Henningsen at Dream Icons Poul Henningsen (1894-1967)

Poul Henningsen is a designer that offers genuine inspiration and is a man that patently walked his own path. As the son of the famous Danish actress Agnes Henningsen and satirist Carl Ewald he enjoyed a childhood that was far from conventional at the time. This tolerant and progressive environment encouraged his free thinking spirit and his career reveals a man that was comfortable and extremely capable in many differing areas.

Poul Henningsen was one of the leading figures of cultural life in Denmark in the early part of the 20th century and became a renowned author, architect, designer, political activist and critic during this time. The maverick character of Poul Henningsen is clearly demonstrated at this time as he was willing to openly criticize the fascist and communist regimes at the height of their powers.

This free-thinking attitude was also applied to his design work and none more so than the work he carried out for Louis Poulsen. His lifelong collaboration with Louis Poulsen Lighting began in 1925 and lasted until his death in 1967.  He was even the first editor of the company magazine NYT. Poul Henningsen conducted pioneering work concerning the relations between light structures, shadows, glare, and colour reproduction. These lighting theories still form the bedrock of the work practiced by Louis Poulsen Lighting today.

A simple glance at the Louis Poulsen PH5 light design reveals a sublime conception that allows you and your guests to enjoy a glare-free lighting experience and be gently bathed in warm and flattering lighting tones. These designs look as fresh and contemporary today as they did back then and this is the mark of a genuine design icon and the anniversary Louis Poulsen PH50 lights look sensational wheather on their own or in a group. This was clearly a designer of huge rational intellect and immense inherent passion - A modern man for any time.

 

   
Pernille Vea portrait at Dream Icons

Pernille Vea

Pernille Vea is a shinning example of the current generation of Danish designers with her designs forming a significant part of the Menu A/S range. As the manager of their design department she has been prolific at creating a diverse range of designs that have won countless prizes and accolades.

Her design language is constantly evolving and over the years her geometric and linear style has become more organic and free flowing, as she has become more inspired by the forms of nature. Pernille Vea also has a good eye for materials and manufacturing detail as can be seen by the wonderful contrast of the high gloss glaze and the gently textured dolomite on the magma stone series.

Her impressive abilities as a designer are also keenly demonstrated on the thermo cup designs, where she has skilfully integrated the geometric pattern of Verner Pattern’s iconic ‘Geometry 1’ pattern onto her more organic and curvaceous ceramic Panton thermo cups. The end result is such a success that it looks as if the pattern had been created specifically for the cups.

 

   
 Tools Design image from Dream Icons Designer Information

Claus Jensen and Henrik Holbæk

As the driving force behind many of the innovative designs from the Eva Solo range, Claus Jensen and Henrik Holbæk have established themselves as a tour-de-force in modern Danish design with their Tools Design consultancy.

Their designs often provide a refreshing and elegant solutions that beg the question ‘Why has no on thought of that before!?’ This distinctive and successful approach is best described in their own words. ‘As opposed to jewellery design or figurative art, the perceived value of a product is not only determined by its shape or the choice of material. Functionality is the third parameter – it’s the hidden beauty, the product’s personality. As designers we are mixing the ingredients, carefully balancing the flavour. It is not rocket science, but highly subjective. Shape is a consequence of requirements – and shape is a function in itself.’

With over 250 awards Tools Design rank amongst Denmark’s most awarded designers and it is clear that they know how to put ‘something extra’ into the designs.

The Dream Icons collection contains their finest pieces of work, such as the Eva Solo Cafesolo, Eva Solo bird feeder and Eva Solo drip free salad shaker, to name but a few.


 

   
 Terence Conran at Dream Icons

Terence Conran

With a glittering career spanning over 60 years, Terence Conran has earned his place as one of the greats of modern design. Encouraged from an early age to explore his creativity, Conran has taken this to the extreme and influenced the cultural behaviour of British society with his inspired approach to design, dining and modern life.

This acclaimed designer, retailer, property developer and restaurateur helped take Britain out of the gloom of post war austerity with his Habitat stores and brought a fresh new vision for the modern British home. It was a version of modernism that was very much humanised and based on simple forms, natural materials, and a fresh colour palette. Habitat revolutionised the British high street through the 1960s and 1970s and brought intelligent, modern design within reach of the everyday person on the street.

Conran’s wonderful egalitarian attitude to design is clearly seen in the quote ‘A good design should be available to the whole community, not just to a few’. He later took his dream of introducing intelligently-designed products to the mass market with mainstream stores such as Heals, Next, and even ran British Home Stores and Mothercare for a time.

At the same time the Conran design consultancy was spearheading the advance of modern British design, specialising in interiors, product design and graphics and even establishing an architectural practice with Fred Lloyd Roche. Conran also embarked on a new career in the restaurant business and his impact in this field was as profound as it was in the design arena.

Fuelled by a passion for good modern design and its benefits to society, Conran was also instrumental in the creation of the Design Museum in London. Terence Conran really does stand out as one of the great champions for modern design it is truly amazing that he has packed so much into his long career.

You can enjoy his recent success for the Italain design house Alessi at Dream Icons, it is called the Alessi Nice bowl.

 

   
 Christian Bjorn at Dream Icons

 Christian Bjorn

Christian Bjørn is one of those design spirits whose work remains eternally full of youth and vigour. It’s hard to believe that he has been a prominent character on the Danish design scene since the end of the 1970s, because his work is still inherently fresh and exciting. Christian has the ability to find a solution that is effective, efficient and has an intrinsic aesthetic composure that is the hallmark of great Scandinavian design.

This is a designer with a host of awards to his credit and no doubt there will be many more still to come...

The Dream Icons collection includes innovative and handsome designs by Christian Bjørn such as the Menu A/S Lighthouse Ball Oil Lamp White and the MENU A/S Spike Torch Garden Oil Lamp.

 


 

 Alfredo Haberli at Dream Icons

 Alfredo Häberli

Alfredo Häberli is a designer with interesting cultural influences because he was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and moved to Zurich, Switzerland when he was a teenager. These diverse perspectives helped to forge a designer that is incredibly versatile that has created distinctive designs ranging from furniture to lighting and glassware to jewellery.


For us, his signature pieces will always be the Iittala Origo tableware series which has a timeless quality thanks to those almost hypnotic striped patterns. There is a real joy and energy to his work and he believes in creating special designs that can be used everyday and are built to withstand daily use – and who can argue with that…