Design Classics – Influential & Important Design Examples

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Pritzker Prize winner Sydney Opera House
Pritzker Prize winner Sydney Opera House

A design classic is readily recognisable and elicits a range of emotions in individuals, including nostalgia and inventiveness.

Classic designs are frequently referred to as “iconic,” implying that they are of high quality and that their continued demand is not reliant on heavy marketing or advertising. However, this does occur to reinforce the status and remind new consumers of the intrinsic value of the classic design. The design is frequently reproduced, generally with cheaper variations, bolstering the original design’s prestige and its “pioneering” notion.

Before the Industrial Revolution, the term “classic” conjured up images of beauty and craftsmanship, such as classical architecture and furniture. The introduction of mass production and “designing for the masses” frequently resulted in product quality and poor design deterioration. However, when mass production techniques got more established, some designers saw the new processes and materials as a chance to provide people with well-designed items at a low cost due to the cost-effectiveness of production. Classic design was no longer the domain of society’s upper crust.

The following are some of the posts I have completed on objects, architecture that may be considered classic designs.

  • Safety Bicycle for 19th Century Women

    Safety Bicycle for women

    The “safety” bicycle, initially introduced in 1887, propelled the late-nineteenth-century bicycling mania to new heights. While the regular bike needed great skill due to its giant front wheel and small rear wheel, safety bicycles could be ridden by anyone.Read More →

  • Sardine Collector’s Cabinet by Michael Marriot

    Sardine Collector's Cabinet

    This humorous, simple, and elegant approach proposed a different design agenda, harkening back to Victor Papanek and the Whole Earth Catalogue in the 1960s.Read More →

  • Tea and coffee set by Marguerite Friedlander

    She designed the Hallesche Form tea and coffee set for KPM in 1930, which was a huge commercial success, especially with Trude Petri’s gold rings (1931) decor.Read More →

  • Paul Getty Center designed by Richard Meir

    Paul Getty Center Los Angeles California

    Paul Getty Center was designed by Richard Meir. It uses cutting-edge technology for book conservation, storage, and retrieval. READ MORERead More →

  • Robo-Stacker early example of ‘Recycled Design’ Movement

    Robo-Stacker recycled design

    Robo-Stacker early example of the ‘Recycled Design’ Movement. Whirlpool washing machine drums were used to create general-purpose storage.Read More →

  • Poster for Nikon (1957) by Yusaku Kamekura

    Yusaku Kamekura Poster

    Yusaku Kamekura’s poster emphasises the brilliance and clarity attained with the Nikon lens and the technical perfection of his client’s camera by using brilliant optical patterns and powerful, white letter-forms against an intensely dark background. Read More →

  • No. 22 Diamond Chair by Harry Bertoia

    No. 22 Diamond Chair by Harry Bertoia

    No. 22 Diamond Chair by Harry Bertoia. Many would argue that this is more of a sculpture than a chair. READ MORERead More →

  • Concorde a design classic

    Concorde has a novel shape, consisting of a needle-shaped nose and a "delta wing"

    Concorde was developed jointly by British Airways and Air France. Concorde was the first and remained the only supersonic civilian aircraft to be put into commercial service. Read More →

  • How High the Moon armchair (1986) by Shiro Kuramata

    How High the Moon Armchair by Shiro Kuramata

    Shiro Kuramata’s inventive transformations of everyday industrial materials, including steel mesh, terrazzo, corrugated aluminium, and steel cables, pushed material technology to new design limits. Read More >Read More →

  • Red and Blue Armchair by Gerrit Rietveld

    Red and Blue Armchair by Gerrit Rietveld

    The Red and Blue Chair’s visual impact has ensured that it will always be a staple image in any history of twentieth-century design. It has become a metaphor for the Modern Movement along with the Schröder home.Read More →

  • Mona Lisa Clock – Antique of the Future

    Mona Lisa Clock

    Mona Lisa Clock – Antique of the Future which features a close-up photo of the famous face.Read More →

  • 1959 Cadillac Eldorado – Temple Rather than Automobile

    Cadillac Eldorado 1959 Pink

    The 1959 Cadillac is more of a temple than an automobile, a Gothic memorial to America’s glory years. It was overly long, low, and overstyled, and it’s the 50s’ final flourish. The 59’s outlandish space-age appearance, weird fins, and lavish 390 cubic inch V8 are fascinating, but the most striking aspect of the car is its blatant arrogance.Read More →

  • Cylinda Line Teapot by Arne Jacobsen

    Cylinda Line Teapot by Arne Jacobsen

    The Cylinda Line featured a close design connection among all aspects and the consistency of features throughout, including logo and packaging. It was designed over three years by International Style architect Jacobsen in collaboration with its manufacturer, Stelton. Read More →

  • Bloemenwerf Side Chair (1895) designed by Henry de Velde

    Bloemenwerf Side Chair featured image

    Bloemenwerf, Henry Van de Velde’s property outside Brussels, is the inspiration for this chair. Van de Velde planned and built the house and the interior—from the furniture to the wallpaper—resulting in a holistic design that exemplified the concept of a Gesamtkunstwerk “total work of art”. Read More →

  • Tulip Armchair by Eero Saarinen (1957)

    Tulip Armchair by Eero Saarinen (1957)

    Saarinen faced the problem of trying to treat the leg structurally and visually as part of the reinforced-plastic moulded seat shell with the help of a research team from the Knoll firm led by Donald Petit. This issue had plagued him since he and Charles Eames conducted their first experiments with moulded seat shells.Read More →

  • The London Underground Map – Design Icon

    The London Underground is the world’s oldest subway, most people know it colloquially as the Tube. An engineering marvel and just as almost as famous is the map. The Tube map is instantly recognisable all over the world. It is a simple and elegant diagram of the 400-kilometre subway network. It is considered by many as one of the great images of the 20th century.Read More →

  • Million Mark Note – Design Classic

    Million Mark Note featured image

    Design Classic – Influential and important design Million Mark Note Designer: Herbert Bayer: wool upholsteryRead More →

  • Sofa, Borge Mogensen, 1945

    Børge Mogensen Spoke Back Sofa 1945, Fabric 1963

    This sofa’s straightforward execution and regular silhouette reflect characteristics that were considered essential for advanced design at the time. Nonetheless, the turned spindles, stretchers, and exquisite details owe a lot to Borge Mogensen’s use of the lexicon of traditional furniture forms—especially American Shaker and English Windsor—in his wRead More →

  • Swatch Watch a Design Classic

    Swatch featured image

    Swatch has revolutionised the watch industry over the previous four decades. The Swatch became the fashion item of the 1980s thanks to its combination of Swiss technology, design, and low price. It is the first watch that has become a classic look, with a black plastic band and a basic watch face.Read More →

  • The P40 articulated lounge chair

    P40 articulated lounge chair

    Osvaldo Borsani Armchair (P40) 1955, articulated chaise longue. The rubber-armed chair was a sophisticated ‘machine for sitting’ that could it was claimed, assume 486 positions.Read More →

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